Grand Canyon: Great Jobs You Can Get in 2019
From clerks at retail shops to servers in restaurants to the staff at a variety of lodges, an abundance of positions needs to be filled to assist and accommodate the more than six million visitors who travel here each year.
At 1.2 million acres Grand Canyon National Park is not only one of the largest national parks in America, it’s one of the nation’s largest job sites as well.
From clerks at retail shops to servers in restaurants to the staff at a variety of lodges, an abundance of positions needs to be filled to assist and accommodate the more than six million visitors who travel here each year. To that end, Xanterra Travel Collection — the company that manages the lodges and eateries in seven national parks — employs thousands of employees.
You could be one of them.
Xanterra’s talent manager for the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Maureen Armour, explains her role and the process of applying for a position within her organization.
Q: What does your title of talent manager mean?
A: My role is to manage the department responsible for sourcing, screening, hiring, and then initiating the onboarding for the employees of Xanterra’s Grand Canyon National Park Lodges.
Q: Do you also do the hiring for the National Park Service?
A: No, I’m responsible for all new hires with Xanterra, and those consist primarily of hospitality and auxiliary support positions. The National Park Service manages the hiring of the Grand Canyon’s interpretive trainers, gate attendants, rangers, and others.
Q: What is the best first step for someone seeking a position with Grand Canyon Lodges?
A: I’d suggest they first visit grandcanyonlodges.com where there’s a complete list of our current positions. On that site they can complete a profile and then submit an application.
Q: Are there peak hiring seasons or a typical length of employment?
A: Our peak hiring seasons are for the spring and summer and into the fall, and the slowest hiring period lasts from late December through mid-February. But we need people year-round — especially for skilled level and management positions. We do consider seasonal employment for most of our full-time hospitality positions just about any time during the year, and for that we require a minimum contract of 12 weeks, 40 hours per week.
Q: What types of positions do you hire for?
A: We fill many housekeeping positions — the guest room attendants — along with guest service agents who work the front desks at our lodges. For our restaurants we hire dining room servers, bussers, bartenders, cocktail servers, cafeteria workers, cashiers, hosts, snack bar attendants, and back-of-the-house staff in kitchen utility positions as well as cafeteria cooks and line cooks.
We also look for retail associates for our gift shops and for skilled trade personnel for positions in our engineering department. Every so often we’ll post positions for support departments such as purchasing, IT, accounting, sales, human resources, and transportation.
Q: Which jobs are best suited for seasonal employees?
A: Our entry-level positions tend to be seasonal, and the more popular choices are guest room attendant, retail associate, cafeteria and snack bar worker, kitchen utility worker, dining room host, and busser. In our dining rooms, servers and cashiers are also good choices for seasonal employment, though you would need experience.
Q: Which roles are you traditionally looking to fill?
A: There’s a consistent need for housekeeping talent for our lodges, in the food and beverage positions for our restaurants and snack bars, and for retail associates to work in Xanterra’s stores, gift shops, and galleries.
Q: What sorts of qualities do you look for in a employee — and what is the process of bringing them onboard?
A: We try very hard to match experience and skillset with a position that the applicant can excel at. So we’re looking for someone who’s demonstrated a passion for people and for delivering outstanding and memorable guest service.
Employment verification is required, so providing adequate work history is a must. Some exceptions can be made and we may accept an alternate reference such as a schoolteacher or coach, civic organizational leader, professional business client, or volunteer experience.
Once we’ve screened for eligibility, the applicant will then be submitted to the hiring manager and advance to the interview stage. Once we’ve decided to hire them, the applicant is given an offer contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and pre-employment drug screening, which is critical since a positive reading may result in termination.
Q: How much training does a new employee undergo?
A: That all depends on the position and the department. Everyone goes through orientation to get familiar with the unique environment here, and there’s additional departmental orientation in Rooms, Retail, and Food & Beverage.
Human Resources also conducts ongoing training and development classes that are free and include interpretive classes, supervisory role classes, and guest service classes.
Q: How does a person’s background and education affect where they are placed? Can they request a particular position?
A: Applicants are generally considered for the position they apply for, but if they’re willing to be considered for another position we may review their experience. While we love for our employees to interact with guests and have a knowledge of the park’s history and geology, because most of our jobs deal with hospitality, for the great majority of them that’s not necessarily a condition of employment.
Q: How are salaries structured?
A: Beginning in January 2019, our entry-level positions will start at $11 per hour, with some positions such as skilled trades and cooks receiving a higher hourly rate based on experience.
Q: Your location is fairly remote. Where do employees live and what is their social life like?
A: You’re right. This is a remote location, which is why employee housing is available. For entry-level positions — all of which require 40 hours per week — employees share a dorm-style room with a communal bathroom. There’s no Wi-Fi or kitchen in these units, but they do have a community room equipped with a large-screen satellite television. All of this costs only $18.80 per week, which is deducted from their paycheck. These dorms are gender-based, and while housing for couples is available, it’s limited and in high demand — although there’s no guarantee that couples will have the same days off.
For some skilled trades and at the assistant management level, efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments are available at a reduced cost of around $190-$240 per month. Wherever you reside, you’re within the Grand Canyon community, which has amenities including a general store, post office, library, bank, medical clinic, church services, a K-12 school, and a free shuttle that travels to the gateway town of Tusayan, Ariz., outside the south entrance.
Employees also have access to free Wi-Fi and activities at the Community Rec Center, and for just $10 per month they can have privileges to the exercise room and computer lab. We also offer cultural excursions and events as well as organized sports, group exercise activities, contests, and tournaments. As far as dining, there’s an employee dining room where they receive discounts on what is a pretty extensive menu.
All in all, it’s one of the most interesting job locations in the world.