Target aims for recent grads in new stores

Recruiters hope to hire around 30 management positions for their stores in Atlantic Canada

Four Target stores will open in Nova Scotia in fall 2013. Photo: Target Corp.

American discount retail store Target is looking for Canadian graduates to hire before it opens its first Canadian stores in fall 2013.

Lee Frazier and Ade Akin-Aina have been recruiting undergraduates in Atlantic Canada since last year.

They’ve been to career fairs and have hosted information sessions at universities, like the one hosted at Saint Mary’s University on Nov. 20. Along with offering students more pizza than they could eat, Frazier and Akin-Aina did their best to sell a career with Target to the 15 attendees.

“I’m a failure if I go home in three years and Target stores in Canada don’t continue growing and developing. Someone needs to replace me and hopefully that person is in this room,” said Frazier.

Frazier and his family moved from Kansas City to Halifax in August. He will be recruiting and then training new employees, what Target calls “executive team leaders.” When Target opens its doors in Canada he will be running the outlet at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, one of three Target stores to open in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The other stores will be located in Bedford and Bayers Lake.

In the Maritimes there will be seven stores opening and Target is looking at recent graduates to fill almost 50 senior management positions. Frazier expects there to be around 200-250 employees per store.

“I think that’s huge for Canada and the local community.”

Target Corp. announced in January 2011 they would pay $1.825 billion to take over Zellers Inc. across the country.

Caitlyn Myketyn graduated from SMU in 2009 and she saw the Target information session posted online.

“Basically I’ve been working at a bank for five years and I want a new opportunity,” says Myketyn.

Other students were checking out the opportunity because it’s the first time they’ve had an opportunity to pursue a career back home. One student was interested in a position at the store opening in his hometown of Sydney, Cape Breton.

Finance student Kevin Bliss is an American, but looking at career opportunities in Canada after he graduates.

While some Americans have been brought in to help launch Target in Canada because they know the brand and the store, Frazier said Canadians will make up almost all of the employees after the first few years.

It’s been challenging for Frazier to attract Canadian undergraduates to apply for the executive team leader position, even with a salary of $52,000. He says Canadians haven’t considered what it might be like to work for Target because the option hasn’t been there before.

“In the U.S. when we hold information sessions like these, there’s a line of 50 to 60 students wanting to get in because they’ve had friends and family work for us so they know what it’s like. Whereas here there hasn’t been that same word-of-mouth,” says Frazier.

Target will train up to 35 candidates for leadership positions for stores in Halifax and the surrounding area in February or April.