Verizon to hold job fair in Spokane, stresses need for range of ages

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2014

Verizon worker Steven Tofsrud is one of the older Verizon clerks serving customers at its North Division store. (Dan Pelle)

Verizon Wireless plans to hire about 40 Spokane-area workers in the next few weeks and will be looking for applicants of all ages.

As the boomer generation embraces mobile technology, companies such as Verizon say it’s important to find “mature” retail sales staff to connect with the older customer base.

The company has routinely hired salespeople across all age groups, spokeswoman Erica O’Connor said.

That effort has become more focused now as boomers are retiring and looking for tech products, said Brian Soth, the company’s regional retail director.

Verizon will host a job interview fair Thursday in downtown Spokane.

The goal is not just finding people who are tech-savvy or hip, Soth said.

“What we look for mostly is enthusiasm, an enthusiasm for knowledge about our products,” Soth said.

Verizon finds that many customers – including boomers – want companies to demystify tech choices for them, Soth said.

Boomer consumers are buying tablets and phones. They’re also eager to try wearable fitness apps such as the Fitbit health monitor, along with home security devices, Soth said.

“Consumer interest just keeps growing for that whole area, and that’s why we’re adding more people in Eastern Washington,” he said.

Steven Tofsrud, a veteran Verizon sales rep at its Francis Avenue and Division Street location, is 49, and one of the older workers in that store.

“We definitely see more ‘older’ customers coming in,” he said. Many come looking for data wireless devices that allow them to connect anywhere.

“They don’t want to be stuck in their homes. If they’re snowbirds, they want to take their devices wherever they’re going,” he said.

He works with boomer customers differently than with younger customers, he said.

He asks questions to learn about their lifestyle and the kind of products they want.

“It’s more consultative than traditional ‘slinging’ at them,” he said.

“Once you do that, they seem to be more at ease in the store,” Tofsrud added.

The Verizon hiring process should lead to hiring decisions in a few weeks, Soth said.

Some of the jobs will be part time; about six will be based in Coeur d’Alene.

Soth recommends uploading resumes at “Bringing a resume along wouldn’t hurt, though we’ll be able to look at those online for people who uploaded,” he said.

Full-time workers could earn about $42,000 per year, counting both salary and company sales commission targets, O’Connor said. The company offers health benefits for both full- and part-time workers.

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