They came wearing outfits ranging from business suits to baggy shorts. Some had an arm load of resumes, others had an arm full of tattoos. They ranged from the very young to those nearing retirement.
They had one thing in common: They all needed a job.
Officials with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce said 731 job seekers came to the chamber’s job fair Tuesday at the Georgia Mountains Center. There were 30 employers with jobs ranging from entry level to executive.
William Mulkey of Cleveland was laid off three weeks ago from his job of the past 11 years.
"All this is new to me," said Mulkey, who was among the 450 who came during the first hour of the fair. He worked in the maintenance department at his prior job, and was excited when he learned there were potential employers in his field.
Robyn Lynch, vice president of membership development for the chamber, said exhibitors think they are successful if they come away with a single prospect.
Gainesville Fire Chief Dick Taylor said few make it from prospective employee to employment.
"We just hired four trainees," Taylor said. "We had 47 applicants and it came down to a group of 16."
He said not making the cut can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Some did not pass a written examination, while others did not pass various pre-employment screenings, including background and drug tests.
Taylor’s department was among a number of public safety agencies looking for workers.
Jenny Boyd, recruiting coordinator for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said the agency usually participates in two job fairs a month. The department has 250 sworn officers and another 100 administrative and jail personnel.
Lynch said the turnout for Tuesday’s job fair eclipsed last year’s record of 450 attendees.