Where Are The Jobs? Some Cedar Rapids Companies Are Adding Staff

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By Chris Earl

CEDAR RAPIDS - Larry Selensky led his business through the Flood, is growing in a recession and now is just trying to survive major renovations in the office.

Ovation Networks puts wireless Internet connections in hotel rooms. As company president, Selensky says he's trying to find the right people to turn 28 employees into 40 or even 50.

"We're looking for talent. Most of that is used to working at Rockwell Collins, Quaker Oats or AEGON," said Selensky.

This may represent a shift for people looking for jobs. Instead of traditional want ads or job sites, Selensky says his top talent comes from a third-party, such as a headhunter.

"Our success rate is 3 to 1 over resumes and then going through the interviewing," said Selensky.

With a focus on online protection for businesses, Security Coverage is another downtown Cedar Rapids business looking for skilled workers.

"We have 60 individuals," said Security Coverage Human Resources Director Liz VanAntwerp. She said if growth continues at the company, "we'll probably hire 15-20 more in 2010."

VanAntwerp said Security Coverage goes through the more traditional path to fill openings.

"We post on Corridor Careers and the local schools, Kirkwood and Kaplan."

A common theme emerges for both companies. Sharpen your computer and tech skills but also be willing to look past the major employers.

"Check out the small businesses," said Selensky. "There are a lot of us growing."

"Network with everyone you can possibly think of," VanAntwerp said.

Even if some elements of landing a job have changed, many of the basics remain. VanAntwerp said she is amazed that many people do not research the very companies they are interviewing with.

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