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Mr. Jones has been drafting new drawings of the piping at an Atlanta-area factory on a contract for the last 10 months. When this job ends, he says it will be easy to find another.
The Texas native is part of a groundswell of temporary workers at staffing companies. The number of temps and their share of the U.S. workforce are both headed for records this year, according to forecasts by research firm Staffing Industry Analysts and others.
Increased consumer demand, a greater need for flexibility and new health-care requirements are prompting businesses to turn to staffing firms. Companies’ reluctance to hire amid concerns the economic expansion may slacken has also been a boon for staffing companies, its peers, and their shareholders. Many stocks in the industry are outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and analysts see more gains: Almost two-thirds of ratings for eight among the largest staffing companies are buy.
Automakers, retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and pharmaceutical companies such as AbbVie Inc. all use temporary staff. Those workers, full-time or part-time, handle everything from manning factories and warehouses to working in information technology or sales.
Ford (F), based in Dearborn, Michigan, has increased temporary workers by 11 percent over the past year amid rising sales and car redesigns. The positions include product design, purchasing, marketing and IT.
Close to Record
The U.S. has added 913,200 temporary workers since the end of the recession in June 2009 — about 19 percent of all new jobs. Their number rose to 2.66 million in April, about 11,300 shy of the April 2000 record, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released May 3.
Staffing industry revenue will increase 6 percent annually the next two years to $139.4 billion in 2014, based on an April 9 estimate.
What’s different in the current economic expansion compared with past recoveries is that companies are reticent to hire even as their business is growing and they need more staff.
The preliminary April tally shows temporary workers represent 1.97 percent of the labor force, close to the record of 2.03 percent set in April 2000, in data that go back to 1990.
Investors noticed. Staffing companies stocks have risen overall an average of 34 percent.
In one instance, a drugmaker hired Quintiles workers to handle field sales and marketing support for older drugs while its own staff focused on selling a new one.
While the number of temporary workers is rebounding from declines in the recession, profits haven’t fully recovered. The industry’s profit margins will remain below the 20 percent performance of the 1990s.
There’s a darker side to levels approaching record highs. Some companies rely on staffing companies to supply immigrant workers for industrial and warehousing jobs where permanent employees tend to complain about unpaid hours and transportation costs.
The transition started after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when the U.S. cracked down on undocumented workers and it’s been picking up in the economic recovery. Since temporary companies are responsible for verifying eligibility, some businesses staff warehouse and factory operations almost entirely with employees from temporary firms, avoiding the hassle of checking documents.
Most analysts covering the staffing industry are confident in its outlook. Out of 74 recommendations on eight of the sector’s largest companies, 64 percent are buy, 31 percent are hold, and 5 percent are sell, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The demand is so fierce right now that 39-year-old Atlanta temp Jones, who is paid $25 to $30 an hour, has standing requests from several companies offering a finder’s fee for referrals. It’s good news, because after working for staffing companies in at least half a dozen states, he’s not looking for permanent work.
“I’m the kind of guy who can leave one job on Thursday and show up on Monday in another state, ready to go,” Jones said. “There are jobs everywhere for me.”
An interview puts a lot of pressure on both parties involved. The interviewee needs to prepare to put his or her best foot forward, and show the company they’re the best candidate for the job. The interviewer must have a keen understanding of the job they are interviewing for and clear parameters on what it takes to be a productive member of the team.
1. What interests you most about this job?
Find out what interests the candidate most about the position. This will reveal what part of your company-messaging spoke to them. Their answer will expose what about the position motivates them or they are most comfortable with. This also opens a door into what they are most excited about and can give you an impression of what related strengths may exist.
2. In which work environments have you been able to best perform?
Do they describe your office? This question’s answer illustrates cultural fit as much as in which atmosphere they will be able to best contribute. Their answer will tell the interviewer whether they work best in teams or alone. Do they thrive in remote work environments or in an office? If their answer doesn’t match what your office is all about, can you accommodate them and are their skills worth it?
3. Tell me about a time you failed.
How a candidate defines a personal failure is important, as important as whether or not they are willing to admit one. Learning about a candidate’s failure is not important because of the mistake they made, but how they recovered. A great candidate will tell you about a time things did not go as planned and explain how they learned from it, what they did to grow and improve.
4. How do you stay current in this field?
Does the candidate have an impression of what the day-to-day is like in this environment? Staying current is not exclusive to reading news and events, it means taking actions to improve technical skills when opportunities present themselves and advances in the field occur. If your candidate can give an example of the initiative they take to constantly be improving – that’s a good sign. Plus, this can lead into a conversation about the industry at large, which gives you a chance to weigh their knowledge.
5. If you could have changed anything about your previous work experience, what would it have been?
This question will give you an idea of what the candidate perceived as a workplace issue. You want someone who is proactive, but also reactive in a positive way. Did they do anything to change their work environment or themselves to better deal with the issue? Understanding how the candidate responds to a problem is a telling indicator of the type of person they are.
Some could argue there’s more at risk during an interview for the interviewer than the interviewee. Make a bad hire and you’ve spent thousands of dollars in time and resources on someone you will just need to replace, spending time and money all over again!
Skills can be taught and are meant to be developed to the company, but attitude and enthusiasm are up to the individual. Be honest about what you expect from a candidate during the interview process, and ask questions that allow them to be honest with you. These questions will expose characteristics of the candidates, illustrating whether or not they are a good fit for your company.
Here are five things to delete from your resume:
Outdated or obvious tech skills. Proficient in Microsoft Word has no place on a resume, it is 2013. If you compiled your resume you obviously know how to use Microsoft Word. Do not waste space on your resume to showcase that you know how to use everyday workplace tools such as Microsoft Office, Google, or Facebook.
Inside industry speak. You don’t know who will be vetting your resume. Sometimes, it will be a recruiter who is not familiar with industry terms. Other times, it will go straight to the hiring manager, who will know lingo associated with the job. Err on the side of caution and write your resume so anyone can understand it. Use ‘plain English’ and avoid industry jargon or technical phrases.
Fancy formatting. The content should catch the eye of the reader — not weird typefaces or formatting. Keep the layout simple and clean — almost boring. The one exception… If you’re applying to be a graphic designer, there may be a little more leeway. But whatever type of job you’re going for, aim to keep the format consistent and easy to read.
Certain personal information. With identity theft a prevalent problem these days, things like your date of birth and social security number should be left off your resume. This is especially important when you’re putting your resume into an online database that may be susceptible to hacking.
Obscure awards. If you want to mention an industry or academic award that’s not widely known, take a line or two to describe what the award signifies, Otherwise, take it off of your resume.
Recruitment can mean different things to different people. There is a plethora of different business models within the staffing industry, so I thought it might be a good idea to define what I believe good recruitment is. This will perhaps put into context why I don’t believe that LinkedIn — or for that matter any other web-based product — can ever replace the service we provide.
Talent Is Not an Online Commodity
Getting the best possible talent to join your company is not the same as purchasing a product online. Talent has opinions, options, and time constraints. Talent can be unpredictable, irrational, high maintenance, and uncommunicative. A product you buy online will always show up if you have paid the appropriate price and followed the correct purchasing process. A product won’t have any thoughts or feelings that it wants to discuss with a third party. It won’t have any opinions on how well you selected it. It won’t wait for a better company to buy it if it doesn’t like your communication style or your company values. A product won’t consult with family members, professional acquaintances, and even someone it met on the train to provide fresh objections about why they aren’t going to show up at your company.
Recruitment Is a Professional Service
The reasons above are precisely why a professional recruitment service is uniquely positioned in the digital age. The number of intangibles in any hiring process is the very thing that prevents it from being a replicable and reproducible process. The freedom of thought from all of the parties involved in the ultimate decision making prevents the viability of a “black box” recruitment solution.
What the Client Gets
A good recruiter can help you qualify what it is you require. Sometimes a client hasn’t quite worked through exactly the balance between what they want and what they actually need. Talking this through with a recruiter to define a viable role can save a lot of time and heartache further down the road.
They can also give you advice on whether that role exists at your competitors; how they structure their departments; historically what has worked for them , and, crucially, what hasn’t. This can prevent you from heading down a blind alley when planning your department structure or defining a role that is not consistent with others within your industry. That’s not to say that you may still wish to pursue this path, but being aware of whether it is going to be easy or difficult sets expectations accordingly. Attracting the right talent isn’t always about paying top dollar. Money can’t buy something that doesn’t exist.
What A Recruiter Gives
A good recruiter will also advise you on what type of candidate you can expect to get from varying levels of compensation offered; an indication of how straightforward or challenging it should be to find the skills you require; intelligence about who else may be looking for the same skills; and ideas on how to position your opportunity and company to appeal to candidates in the market.
A good recruiter will not merely source and present multiple candidates but they will also make you aware of what their hot buttons might be so that you can sell the role effectively. They will inform you of which candidates are most interested — and therefore most likely to take an offer. Crucially they will also keep a backup warm for you should your first choice not accept so you don’t have to go back to square one.
A good recruiter will manage and organize the whole interview process for you. Then they will manage the offer process. Contrary to popular belief, a quality recruiter won’t be looking to maximize their fee by demanding the highest possible offer. They will be aiming for you to secure your preferred candidate at the best compromise for you and the candidate so that both parties are happy. That way they will get repeat business and referrals. “Shoot and move” recruiters don’t tend to be able to maintain longevity in their markets; good recruiters, on the other hand, understand that easy business is repeat business, and a happy candidate will lead them to more good candidates. It’s not all altruism. It’s just that good service = good business.
For the Candidate
A candidate will want to interact with a recruiter for all the same reasons that people deal with Realtors rather than buying houses from pictures on the Internet. Prospective house buyers want to deal with someone who can show them around, give them advice, tell them things they wouldn’t otherwise know about the neighborhood, etc. The system might not be perfect, but dealing with an agent or consultant when you are buying a house is something that’s the norm the world over.
A good recruiter provides a whole range of services completely free of charge to a candidate. These will include a cross section of opportunities with different types of companies. Often a candidate has a clear idea of exactly what they think they want, but when presented with an exact match, it frequently doesn’t feel right. A good recruiter can present a variety of options — and candidates regularly end up going for the option that least matches what at first they thought they wanted.
A good recruiter will negotiate the best salary without pricing you out of the market. This is a lot harder to do by yourself.
A good recruiter will prepare candidates for interviews with information on the person they are meeting, their background, interview style, and typical questions. They will give the candidate ideas how they can sell themselves and provide coaching on difficult questions. They will fill the candidate in on the company values, goals, successes, and in generally provide an insight that they would not otherwise get.
A good recruiter will expedite the recruitment process so that if multiple offers are likely, they will come through at the same time — and they will also coach a candidate through their resignation to make the process as painless as possible.
All of the above applies equally to permanent and contract hires. However, with contract hires the recruiter will also normally take care of all the employment and payroll issues both for the hiring organization and the candidate making the experience of hiring a contingent labor force truly hassle free. With the growth of contingent labor, particularly in the U.S., this is a huge value add for companies and candidates.
It’s Just Good Business Sense
A good contingent recruiter will fill approximately one in six of the roles they work on, but they will still provide the same service to all. They won’t place every candidate with whom they interact, but they will still provide the same service. They will do this because every person they deal with will become a candidate again, or they may become a client. Similarly a client may become a candidate.
Every time they deliver a below-par service they will lose money not just on that placement but also multiple other missed opportunities for repeat business or referrals. Contingent recruiters only charge when they are successful, so the smart and successful ones deliver quality service every time to maximize the chance of success. You get so much service for free, it doesn’t make sense not to engage.
When companies need short-term workers–or if they just want to “try before they buy”–they’ll hire temporary employees. And if you play your cards right, the temp gig can parlay into a permanent, full-time position.
According to CareerBuilder’s, 40% of employers plan to hire temporary and contract workers in 2013, up from 36% last year. Almost half of these employers (42%) plan to transition some temporary workers into full-time, permanent staffers.
“Temporary employment is an arrangement where the worker is expected to stay with the company for a designated period of time,” says Eric Gilpin, president of CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group. “That could mean a day, a week or several months.”
He says many companies are still operating with smaller staffs post-recession. “We see more companies turning to temporary and contract workers to fill in the gaps and meet increased market demands.”
Workers, on the other hand, pursue temporary employment for a variety of reasons, Gilpin says. “They may take a temp job to gain experience or get their foot in the door with an employer. Others build careers in temporary employment because they enjoy working for a variety of companies and the learning opportunities that go along with it. It’s a great way to network, pick up new skills and expand your resume, and it often leads to permanent opportunities.”
“Some rely on temporary work for additional income, making it a second job,” he says. “Others like the greater flexibility it can offer in terms of work schedule. People can tell their staffing service the days they would like to work and accept assignments only for those days. That is difficult to do in a traditional permanent work arrangement.”
Other professionals use temporary assignments as an opportunity to gain new skills while looking for a permanent job, he adds. “And recent graduates may find temping a great option for their first exposure into the professional workplace trying out different types of industries to see which they like best.”
Some occupations that are hiring temporary workers at an accelerated rate are:
Assemblers, Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Maintenance & Repair Workers, etc.
Contract Specialties Group is proud to announce the arrival of its long awaited web site.
With this development, our applicants and clients will easily be able to navigate between placing job orders, reviewing current openings and retrieving documents pertaining to the hiring process.
The new site will also allow applicants to view new job openings and provide an easy application process by simply uploading a Word document. The application and resume will be immediately reviewed by a talent acquisition specialist and you will be contacted should you fit our client’s requisitions. Should you not qualify for a specific position, your resume will be added to our online database for future reference.
As far as client companies, this site is especially useful. The simplicity of the design will allow these professionals to quickly upload requisitions or simply paste the requisition via their own website by filling out a simple questionnaire. The disciplines, categories and industries listed will let clients know that they have chosen the right service, which specializes in their niche industry.
All of us at Contract Specialties Group hope your experience using our company is beneficial to your professional needs. We hope you will refer us to your associates and colleagues.
Please feel free to contact us should you require any additional information on our services.
Daniel DeFini- President