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Originally published July 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 18, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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These days employers on the hunt for workers

You didn't have to tell the recruiters at a recent job fair in Lynnwood that the area's unemployment rate has been near an all-time low...

Seattle Times business reporter

You didn't have to tell the recruiters at a recent job fair in Lynnwood that the area's unemployment rate has been near an all-time low.

In many places, such as the booth for the Redmond Police Department, it appeared that the number of recruiters outnumbered the job-seekers.

"We're not the only ones with nine openings," said Officer Julie Beard. "Everybody has openings. [The people] aren't going to come to us; we have to go to them and find them."

A few years ago, such job fairs would be crowded with people looking for work. Now they are crowded with employers working to attract employees.

A recent college graduate, Sara Kemp, said she was impressed by recruiting efforts by companies at The Seattle Times/Seattle Post-Intelligencer Job Expo at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

"Some have been pushing their benefits. Some really have been pushing management-training programs. And others are just trying to get people interested in their business," said Kemp, who graduated last spring from Johns Hopkins University.

The job of finding good employees in the Seattle area has become very competitive, some recruiters at the job fair said.

"It has been a tough market," says Andrew Bercich, recruiting manager for Dex Media. "[People] want the perks and benefits that you get at the Starbucks or the Microsofts or the Eddie Bauers."

As a result, companies are having to do more to retain good employees, said Linna Freeman, recruiter for Wells Fargo.

The bank had openings for tellers, personal bankers, business specialists, private analysts and managers and its booth was one of the few at the job fair with a consistent line of job-seekers waiting.

"We're taking more action to reach out," Freeman said, noting that the bank is participating in more job fairs and community activities and appearing at numerous universities.

Clay Barreet, a recruiter for Everett-based Goodrich Aerostructures, says the aerospace company's search for engineering positions has turned out better than expected.

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Barreet says the demand for engineers is high and supply is low and that the company has had trouble filling positions.

But he sounded upbeat about what he saw at the job fair.

"I have seen three or four candidates today that I'm interested in ... which is a good turnout for engineering," Barreet said. "If you can walk away from one of these with five or six good résumés then you're doing pretty well."

Caroline Davis: 206-464-3329 or cdavis@seattletimes.com

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