Dell Canada having trouble recruiting in Edmonton

High-tech firm looking to fill 500 positions but some potential candidates turned off by recruiting techniques

A customer contact centre slated to open in Edmonton in November is having a tough time finding qualified workers.

Dell Canada, a computer manufacturer based in Round Rock, Tex., has hired 100 staff since announcing in July it would set up operations in Alberta’s capital. But it needs 500 people on-hand when the phones start ringing on Nov. 1.

Michelle Blood, senior public affairs manager for Dell, told the Edmonton Journal that after a spike in interest the flow of resumes has dwindled for the positions that pay from $28,000 to $45,000 per year.

“People may have the impression that because Dell is a large, global corporation, that we already have all the people we need,” she said. “Dell is an aggressive, growth-oriented company. But it all depends on whether we can get the people.”

The company is looking for employees who are Microsoft certified or who have previous computer technical support experience to staff front-line, manager and senior jobs.

Recruitment methods turning off candidates?

Trish Price's experience might offer some insight into why Dell’s efforts in Edmonton have come up short to date.

Price, who is currently working in the technology field and has two technology diplomas, told the Journal she was turned off by Dell’s recruitment techniques.

Dell has partnered with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to train recruits for the new positions. Candidates are required to pay $500 out of their own pockets for a three-week technical course. Dell later provides its own on-site training for an additional two weeks.

Price said she had a phone interview with Dell but decided against pursuing a job when asked if she would pay the $500 training fee with no guarantee of a job.

“I have two technology diplomas and I am capable of doing the job,” said Price. “Why should I pay $500.”

She said most people can’t afford to pay the fee and take three weeks off work to complete training and speculated the company would have trouble finding 500 people in Edmonton who would be able or willing to do so.

But Jim Rudolph, a spokesman for the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, said he thinks Dell will find the people it needs.

“Their announcement was made in the dog days of summer,” said Rudolph. “Now that Dell is ramping up its marketing campaign, I don’t think they will have any trouble filling these positions.”

Dell is running a career fair in Edmonton from Sept. 22-25.

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