In the aerospace industry, one company's loss is another company's gain.

That means layoffs at Hercules Inc. in Magna could translate into big recruiting payoffs for out-of-state aerospace giants.One of those companies seeking hard-to-find specialists came to Salt Lake City this week, hoping to cash in on the terminations and find employees for its space shuttle-booster plant in Mississippi.

More than 200 Utahns responded - pushing recruiters to extend their interview days to 12 hours, instead of eight.

"It's unfortunate for Hercules but fortunate for us; they've come out in droves," Aerojet employment manager Greg Quinn said. "We are able to pick up a lot of people who would normally be in the unemployment lines."

Hercules announced April 8 the latest round of layoffs, having trimmed about 690 in six months from its Utah work force.

Aerojet, a division of GenCorp, was awarded a $1.1 billion, seven-year project in 1989 to build a new generation of boosters for the space shuttle.

Utah aerospace workers flocked to the company's "open house," advertised in Sunday's Salt Lake newspapers. Some of the job seekers were former Hercules employees, and others are currently employed but are looking for "stability."

One man, a Thiokol employee who asked not to be identified, said job security is hard to find in the aerospace industry and Hercules won't be the only giant affected.

"It's up and down; a lot depends on what the government does," he said.

The man is also interested in employment with Aerojet because "belt tightening" at Thiokol has taken him away from his area of expertise. "I push a lot of paper now; I miss what I was doing before and I think Aerojet is looking for someone to do what I do."

Aerojet recruiters said Utah is the best spot in the nation to find solid-rocket-motor engineers and specialists but in the past has been a difficult area to pull people from.

"This has been probably the best response we've had; I'll be surprised if we don't get eight to 10 hires out of this," Quinn said.

The California-based company plans to construct the shuttle motors at a plant in Iuka, Miss., and will expand its work force from 400 to 1,100 by the mid-1990s.

Aerojet has hired through previous efforts more than a dozen Utah workers for the plant and has also sought employees in Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, and Huntsville, Ala.