Staff photo by Cole Dittmer
University of North Carolina Wilmington student Maria Tofalo was hired by the Blockade Runner Beach Resort as a front desk agent by using Craigslist and is now the resort’s front desk supervisor.
Although some may use it for things like finding missed connections and selling used golf clubs, many future employees and employers around Wrightsville Beach are also using Craigslist as a means to fill employment needs.
The online public classifieds and forums site was started by Craig Newmark in 1995 in San Francisco, Calif., as a way to alert people of events happening in the Bay Area.
Local service-oriented businesses like SurfBerry frozen yogurt café, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort and the Oceanic Restaurant regularly post jobs to Craigslist in hopes of grabbing employees from the pool searching the site.
SurfBerry café manager Jamie Soodek said SurfBerry’s Craigslist postings usually garner a large amount of responses.
“I posted last week, and I have had over 100 responses back from it,” Soodek said. “I would say 90 percent of those are legitimate people and the others you can tell are spam.”
With that large sample size of applicants, Soodek said there are a variety of employees to sort through. However, that number is narrowed once the SurfBerry application is sent out to the potential applicants with specific job requirements and qualification standards, she said.
The Oceanic Restaurant also receives a large number of responses to its Craigslist postings and Tami Frankie, human resources manager for the restaurant’s parent company LM Restaurants, said the company has been using the website for at least two and one-half years.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better than a free advertisement,” Frankie said.
Like SurfBerry and the Oceanic Restaurant, Blockade Runner Beach Resort guest services manager Nick Cunningham said he did not know what the resort would use without Craigslist.
“For the most part, 70 percent of our successful tenured employees have come from Craigslist in the guest services department,” Cunningham said. “I know LinkedIn is becoming popular, but I feel like that is not as accessible or fitting to the needs we would have for guest services positions.”
Maria Tofalo was one of those hired by Cunningham through Craigslist and is now a front desk supervisor at the resort. A junior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Tofalo said Craigslist provides a good venue for college students to look for jobs.
“Students are all about Craigslist. I feel like if you are trying to get students that is the best way,” Tofalo said. “I applied to three different listings, because it was the spring semester of my freshman year of college and I knew I wanted to have a job over the summer.”
Tofalo was originally contacted by Mark Lawson, the Blockade Runner’s chef, in response to her application for a food prep position. Lawson recommended her to Cunningham as a front desk agent.
“It was a wonderful experience, and I have loved working here,” she said.