Pensacola, Florida
Friday April 26th 2019


How to Get A Job

By Duwayne Escobedo

So you want to land one of those coveted jobs at one of the greater Pensacola area’s top employers? How do you get your foot in the door? What do companies look for in potential hires? Finally, where can you find these job openings?

Inweekly interviewed some of the top local companies to answer these questions for you. We interviewed:
•Navy Federal Credit Union Manger of Talent Acquisition Paul Carney, whose company employs more than 5,200.
•Gulf Power Talent Acquisition Gregory Young, whose company employs about 1,700.
•Baptist Healthcare Director of HR Operations Rebecca Griener and HR Recruiting Manager Carey Gribble, whose company employs about 5,500.
•International Paper HR Manager Mike Waldie, whose paper mill employs about 475.

Read on to learn more about what these companies and others like them do, when it comes to hiring.



Baptist Healthcare
Before Baptist Healthcare even posts its job openings, it makes sure the position is approved. Once that’s done it goes up on the health care company’s employment page.

The page contains a quick assessment that tells Baptist Healthcare recruiters the level of commitment of job applicants.

Recruiters then go through all the qualified applicants and do phone screens to narrow the number down to 3-5 job seekers. They are interviewed by a hiring manager and do peer interviews with three to five Baptist Healthcare employees. An offer will be extended to the top qualified applicant.

International Paper
International Paper hires for both salaried positions and hourly positions. The hourly positions include jobs in production and maintenance.

Waldie said it’s not uncommon to receive 300 applicants for production jobs and about 30 for maintenance jobs, which are more complex and typically require manufacturing or paper mill experience.

Production jobs require a written assessment. Maintenance jobs require a technical test and an assessment test to find out how well they work with a team.

If applicants pass those tests, they move on to interview with one of the paper mill’s HR representatives and a panel who work together in the hiring process.

Again, maintenance candidates must go through two interviews to assess their knowledge and skill level, usually with a maintenance manager, and then an interview to assess their soft/behavioral skills, such as problem-solving and getting along with others.

After a background check, IP will offer the job.

Those applying for salaried positions have assessments that are based more on their experience.

“The paper industry is a unique and very complex business,” Waldie said. “A lot of jobs here require some sort of paper mill or manufacturing experience. We can’t have a line leader or supervisor who has no operation experience because they can’t competently lead a crew.”

Navy Federal
Navy Federal’s interview process is structured. Applications for its job openings are screened to see who has the right qualifications. The pool of candidates is narrowed down through phone interviews.

A panel that includes members of the department with the job opening and one leader from another department then interviews the top two qualified applicants. The candidates do peer-to-peer interviews with each member of the panel and then with the whole panel.

Finally, the panel gives their feedback on the two applicants and chooses which one to hire. Sometimes when both applicants seem extremely talented and qualified, Navy Federal on occasion finds another job opening, so both applicants end up working for the company.

“We want them to have a world-class applicant experience,” Carney said.

Gulf Power
Gulf Power sorts through applications looking for all the people who meet the minimum qualifications. It then narrows that number down to five to seven candidates, who are then screened.

The top candidates are then brought in for interviews with a group of about eight Gulf Power employees, who work both inside and outside the department that’s doing the hiring. Each group includes a facilitator, who’s responsible for meeting the candidate and making them “as comfortable as possible” throughout the interview process.

Gulf Power goes through the process to learn the candidates’ strengths and areas they may need development. The hiring group then comes to a consensus and a job offer is made. All new hires must go through a background check, drug screening and must agree not to use nicotine on Gulf Power property.

“We expect to be an employer of choice in this area for a long time,” said Young, a Gulf Power recruiter for 38 years. He points out the company may get 3,000 applications for a handful of entry-level jobs.



Baptist Healthcare
The top priority at Baptist Healthcare is “are you a good fit,” said Gribble. The hospital also prides itself on its customer service and looks for people “who put patients first and believe in providing the best care possible.”

International Paper
Because the paper mill has machines that are big and complex with some requiring up to nine people to operate them, communication, working with others and being safe are key to International Paper.

Waldie also makes it clear that prospective employees must “have the ability and desire to work in a manufacturing environment that takes a different type of person who doesn’t mind it being sweaty, dirty and loud.”

Navy Federal
Navy Federal’s Carney said his company looks for people who understand who the company is and what it does. It wants to make sure new hires fit their business culture.

“We want to make sure they have a passion for our mission to serve the men and women of the armed forces,” Carney said. “This is not just a place to come work. It’s not just a job. We want our employees to grow with Navy Federal.”

Gulf Power
One of the top qualities Gulf Power looks for in a job candidate is that they match the company’s “Southern Style” — an unquestionable trust, superior performance, and total commitment.

Also, Gulf Power seeks workers who indicate they are comfortable and effective in a team environment, possess problem-solving skills, and exhibit assertive, creative and self-directed characteristics. Plus, they must work well with others.



Baptist Healthcare
Once an applicant accepts a position, Baptist Healthcare conducts a thorough background screen. They also must go through an orientation about the hospital and about the unit that they will work with. Plus, Baptist Healthcare has become a smoke-free zone, so its employees must agree they will not smoke in the hospital or on its campuses.

International Paper
All IP employees must undergo up to five weeks of training. This can include specific training to a machine and/or general training, such as team building. International Paper has already hired 40 people this year and has just begun a search to employ even more.

“It’s a lot more different to find a skilled mechanic,” Waldie said. “Their unemployment rate is about 1 percent. So the people who want to work are working and the people who are not we probably don’t want to hire.”

Navy Federal
When filling a job opening, Navy Federal sorts through its Talent Network database of more than 12,000 potential candidates who have indicated online that they have an interest in working for the company. It also conducts job fairs to scout for talent. Like many top companies, diversity is a plus.

Carney admits in today’s job market; it can be hard to fill positions, even for Navy Federal.

“We do the best job we can to find the right people and put them in the right roles,” Carney said. “Job openings keep climbing but it’s a lot tougher to find people to join our mission.”

Gulf Power
Young emphasizes that if you want to work for the power company, which is a subsidiary of Southern Company, then it’s critical that you go online and create a profile on its job site. He promises, “it is easier than it looks.” Young also advises candidates to be patient once an online profile is created.

Gulf Power conducts job fairs with the Navy and Air Force Transition Assistance Program and the University of West Florida, among other partners. About 14 percent of Gulf Power’s employees are veterans.

Young said that the company has about a 5.3 percent turnover rate. About 25 percent of Gulf Power employees come from outside the Pensacola area. In addition, Young said about 90 percent of employees who are hired did not know anyone with the company before being hired.



Baptist Healthcare
Baptist Healthcare lets people know about job openings they have through their website, which is often picked up by free employment sites, such as Indeed. Job postings can also be found on Facebook and other social media. The company also conducts job fairs for positions they have open. In addition, it partners with the University of West Florida to hire nurses. Baptist Healthcare currently has about 70 nursing jobs advertised.

International Paper
IP does not accept applications for a job unless it has an opening for that job. It doesn’t keep applications on file. The paper company does have its own employment site on its website where people can apply. It also has a significant outreach to about 40 organizations that it alerts to job openings at the plant.

Navy Federal
Navy Federal uses its own career page and LinkedIn as its primary sources to find applicants. To a lesser extent, it also takes advantage of social media sites, Facebook and Instagram. It’s job postings are also usually picked up by other online employment websites, such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster and GlassDoor among others.

Gulf Power
Besides using its own Southern Company online job site, Gulf Power posts and advertises in hundreds of locations, including state, college and minority job sites on the web.

Indeed and other similar free employment sites also pick up Gulf Power openings.

“This is a wonderful place to work,” Young said. “I don’t come in on Mondays after smashing my alarm clock. I look around and these are the people I love. I’m so happy to work with them.”