Hiring with the Phantom Menace Featured

9:52am EDT July 22, 2002

Like most high-tech companies in the region, E-Transport Inc. faces the ongoing struggle of finding enough skilled computer programmers in a market where such skills are harder and harder to find.

Perhaps that’s because many of them are hanging out in movie theaters for this year’s debut of the Star Wars thriller, “Phantom Menace.” At least that’s what this Robinson Township-based provider of technology solutions for the ocean transportation industry bet on this summer.

The company launched a rather creative recruitment campaign that advertised job opportunities during the previews shown prior to the movie in 10 local theaters. The company also tied the Star Wars theme to its own internal product launch, which included executives and other staffers dressing up as characters from the movie. The message pointed movie fans to the firm’s Web site, www.etransport.com, where people could submit their resumes online.

“The ‘Star Wars’ enthusiasm among this crowd is so powerful that recruiting in movie theaters puts us where our prospects are — and locks us into their mind-share,” says Jennifer Stambaugh, manager of human resources at E-Transport. “We’re a company that values innovation and creativity, so we think our hiring practices should reflect that. Like everyone in the high-technology sector, we’re always looking for top candidates with programming skills.”

Company executives there apparently faced only one minor glitch with the internal product launch side of the Star Wars promotion, thanks to the summer sun, which heated up the executives in costume.

Says Ed Ryan, vice president of sales and marketing, who dressed as Darth Vader: “I wouldn’t recommend this costume for a nice sunny day like today.”

How to reach: E-Transport Inc., (412) 788-2466

Daniel Bates