On Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena held their inaugural “Interview Day,” hosting hundreds of people looking for jobs.

Candidates met with hiring managers from several departments in the arena, including food and beverage, security, Hawks retail, guest experience, the ticket box office and uniform management departments.

Over 1,000 people signed up looking for various part-time positions, said Camye Mackey, executive vice president and chief people, diversity and inclusion officer, for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena. The arena was looking to fill about 500 positions, she said. The job openings have a starting salary starting at $16 per hour.

One job candidate, Tina Gaston Williams, 40, attended the event, looking for a job working in guest experience at the arena.

The Atlanta sports fan said she always wanted to work at State Farm Arena and wasn’t going to miss the next interview day.

“I’m gonna make sure I’ll be there,” Williams said of seeing news of Saturday’s job fair. “That’s what led me here today, and I love sports and entertainment.”

Throughout the process, candidates went through three steps: registration, assessment and the interview. If a candidate successfully completed the steps, they received a “draft letter,” meaning they received a job offer. The process, however, is not complete after receiving the offer, as candidates are required to complete a background check.

After receiving an offer, candidates could attend a festival, located in the arena bowl that included an immersive and engaging candidate experience to display the company’s SMILE (Southern Hospitality, Make A Moment, Individuals Matter, Listen and Learn, and Empowerment) service culture. The festival also included food, photo opportunities, wellness stations and interactive games and prizes.

Tina Gaston Williams (right) and Stacy Gaston celebrate after making it through the interview process at the Hawks' inaugural "Interview Day" event at State Farm Arena on Saturday, September 10, 2022. (Photo: Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

Williams’ efforts paid off: She was “drafted” to work in the pleasant-sounding job known as a guest experiences smile maker.

“I’ll be engaging with fans, helping them to their seats, making sure their experience is great,” Williams said.

Mackey said it’s exciting to see the smiling faces of those who received offers. She hopes that this day allows the metro Atlanta community to return to a sense of normalcy, after having to mainly apply for jobs online due to COVID-19.

“You can come out, you can interview for jobs. You have that face-to-face interaction; you get to feel the experience,” Mackey said. “We need our community. Our community is made up of our workforce. So we’re excited to have them come out.”

Brett Stefansson, the executive vice president and general manager of State Farm Arena, said the part-time positions play an important role for the organization.

“Truth be told, the part-time staff that works and operates in this building is just a critical, critical component to our success,” Stefansson said. “(It’s) a real driver in bringing out that true fan experience that we’re looking to engage in.”