September 30, 2020
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
Jiggy Oliva was seeking a place to work for a few months during the 2018 holiday season. He got a job at Best Buy and never left.
He started as a seasonal employee at our distribution center in Compton, California, where his brother, Cesar Cervantes, had started working during the previous holiday season. Jiggy landed a permanent part-time role the following January and is now talking about moving into a full-time role.
“I was just looking to make a little money on the side for the holidays,” he said. “What kept me around is that I really felt appreciated, and they gave me flexibility with my schedule so I could go to school and work at the same time.”
Jiggy’s story is not uncommon. More than 30% of full-time Best Buy employees started as temporary workers before moving to permanent roles. In Compton, Jiggy is one of 18 workers who have made the jump over the past two years.
“The holiday period is a really good opportunity to see whether it’s the right fit for them and for us,” said Jordan Lewis, who runs the distribution center. “The conversion rate can be really good if you come in and prove yourself. It’s a great start for a lot of individuals.”
And most of those people come to Best Buy with little or no supply chain experience.
“We’re willing to train them, and I think it pays off,” Jordan said. “We get a lot of really good, talented people.”
An opportunity to grow
Cesar joined Best Buy in fall 2017 because he was looking for a job with more opportunity for career growth. And that’s exactly what he found.
He started in the recycling department, where helped process all the Styrofoam, cardboard and plastic that came through the facility, then moved into a general warehouse role about a year later. In August 2019, he relocated to Seattle to help open a new distribution center there.
“I’m still learning, but I’m also training other people,” he said. “I’ve trained quite a few new employees and taken on more of a leadership role as a veteran employee.”
Cesar hopes to eventually become an area coordinator, then work his way up into management.
“I see people moving up all the time,” he said. “I definitely see the opportunity here.”
Jacqueline Mendizabal Infante has had a similar experience. She joined the Compton distribution center as a seasonal employee last October. She had been working three jobs, so she wanted something with better pay and hours.
After the holiday season ended, she was offered a permanent part-time role. She’s already helping train other people and is applying for a full-time position with an eye toward someday moving into leadership.
Jacqueline’s favorite part of the job is the people.
“Everybody is pretty awesome here,” she said. “We work well together and get along. Even on the hard nights, we manage to put smiles on each other’s faces and help each other.”
‘A real-life example’
Jordan knows firsthand what is possible for holiday hires. He, too, started his Best Buy career as a seasonal employee, selling VHS tapes at a store when he was 16 years old.
He stayed with the company through college, working his way up into supervisor and assistant manager roles. He left to work for a different retailer for a few years, then returned to Best Buy to run the Compton distribution center.
Jordan always shares his story with applicants during the interview process when they ask about the potential for career growth at the company.
“I’m a real-life example of somebody who started seasonal and now runs a building for Best Buy,” Jordan said. “It gives employees something to work toward. You never know how this is going to turn for you.”
Click here to learn more about supply chain careers at Best Buy.