WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Home Depot plans to hire 2,000 seasonal workers in the Southland to bulk up its gardening and plumbing departments.
Arnold Chaparro, the manager of the home improvement store in Woodland Hills, said those employees get a maximum of 120 days of temporary assignment work.
“If there are opportunities within those 120 days to bring them on as permanent associates and they show that want, that will, that desire, that work ethic, the customer service that we’re looking for…a lot of times we’ll find homes for people,” he said.
Chaparro said worker Omar Soltero is the perfect example of a seasonal hire turned permanent.
“Omar we hired as a temporary associate last year in the garden department. The customers loved him. The regular associates were like, ‘You can’t let this one go, you’ve got to keep him on board,’” he said.
Soltero added, “I worked there for like, 120 days, which was the probation period. After that, I guess I excelled, and I was switched to go over to plumbing.”
Soltero, who got his job based on his customer service experience, said he received extensive training from Home Depot.
He also learned a lot from contractors and weekend warrior DIY customers.
“I have made a lot of customers as friends. They come in. They already know my name, they know where to locate me,” said Soltero.
Martha Parker, a certified garden professional, has been a forklift operator at the home improvement store for nearly 14 years.
“For a girl, it gives you a real good sense of power,” she said.
Parker said she enjoys sharing her knowledge of gardening with customers.
“People who shop in the garden department are here because they want to be here…not because they have a broken toilet or a leaky faucet or a hole in the wall. They want to plant beautiful things around their homes, so they’re always happy customers,” she said.
Parker said future employees may pick up certain skills on the job, but what a worker really needs is the will to learn.
“And good work metabolism,” she added. “You have to have a sense of urgency and a willing to walk fast because it’s a lot of area to cover.”
Home Depot, which opened in Atlanta in 1979, employs 300,000 people nationwide and 25,000 in Southern California.
For more information on employment opportunities at the store’s Southland locations, visit its website.