The Hourly Recruitment Process

The Hourly Recruitment Process

By: Jill Friedman


The hourly recruitment process can be both easy and painstaking at the same time. Typically with hourly personnel we get a broad mix of people in the office to interview. In my office, I have had everything from people with blue hair who have spent time in prison, to white collar workers making over $200K a year who got laid off, and are seeking gainful employment. After sitting and chatting with them for about 10-15 minutes I can get a pretty good idea whether they will work out as a good candidate or not.

Much of the interview process is about reading body language and differentiating what a person is saying versus what they really mean. Every person that comes in for a job interview is typically going to put their best foot forward to have their best shot at the opportunity. You would think one wouldn’t walk into a new possibility with a bad attitude and say “I don’t really need a job, I’m just here to see what you can do for me,” but you might be surprised to know that some people say and do. In our office, we find that typically the 18-25 year olds on average tend not to work out in the job market very well, at least when it comes to warehouse work or manual labor of sorts. There is a very large disconnect in our society between this age group and actually having to put in work to earn money, the millennials are definitely a different breed.

Some of our best hourly employees that have come through our firm, surprisingly enough have been between the ages of 25-45, and have either done jail time or been laid off and looking for something to hold them over until another direct placement job becomes available. These people have typically gone through some hard times in their lives, whether it is self-inflicted or out of their control, they understand the value and worth of hard labor and try to earn an honest living and have truly been revived by reality.

Let’s take a peek inside what it would look like as a candidate. I am looking for a warehouse worker with forklift experience being a bonus but not required, so I hop onto one of my many search engines available after going through our files of people that have already been prescreened. I find a young man who has worked in a warehouse before and seems like he would be capable of doing the job as described, so I give him a call and set him up with an interview to come into the office. He shows up at the office 5 minutes early for his interview and in his own vehicle, “first impression, he’s punctual, shows he is responsible,” I think to myself. He is dressed well and has everything he needs with him, so far this interview would seem off to a good start. He begins filling out paperwork, and we begin to chat. As an interviewer I ask many different questions, everything from what he is looking for in a new opportunity, to what his experience has been, and why he has left various work places in the past. At this point I will typically begin to describe the opportunity I have available so the candidate can decide if it is a good fit or not.

Everything up to this point seems to be running smoothly, then come the more serious questions. For some people this set of questions proves to be more difficult than others. We have to run a background check for this position, are we going to find anything on there? For almost everyone the immediate answer is always no. When posing the same questions in different manors, demeanors of the candidate can sometimes change and start to act differently and people tend to start opening up a little bit more, they start coming out with the truth. Now, this scenario doesn’t hold true for everyone, however it does play out this way more often than not. For some companies certain misdemeanors or even certain felonies don’t have an impact on one’s ability to be eligible for a job, for others, the company needs a squeaky clean background. This is where the body language and ability to interpret what someone is truly saying comes in very handy. I feel being a woman puts me at a slight disadvantage over my male counterparts in the office, because people are less likely to commit to a past discretion with a female than they are a fellow male, I have seen this situation unfold numerous times before my eyes.

When a person is deemed an appropriate candidate for a position, we consider them prescreened. We let the hiring manager know that we have some people ready for the position and wait for word from the hiring manager for a start date. If a person does not pass the prescreen portion for a specific job, we hold onto their information for the next hourly position that comes available that may be a better fit for them based on what we found in the screening process. Our process, however long and tedious, really helps our employer clients with turnover and has yielded great employees, which have put up some serious numbers for them. Great thing is, many of our hourly employees stay with us for years!



Social Media and Recruiting

Social Media and Recruiting

By: Jill Friedman


Social Media is everywhere these days. People use it for various reasons, everything from keeping in touch with family, to viewing news, even to exploring new job opportunities. There are many ways social media can be incredibly beneficial to a person, on the flip side there are also many ways it can damage a person if not used properly.

For entertainment purposes, social media is amazing. For professional purposes, it tends to bite a lot of people in the rear. A few of the most common types of social media people use are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can almost guarantee in this day and age your employer will be seeking out various methods to see who you are before the interview process begins.

LinkedIn is supposed to be a more professional network; most employers use this network as a fact checker. We once had a candidate that had certain titles on his resume, that didn’t match up with his LinkedIn profile, which caused an integrity issue, resulting in a lost opportunity and an offer with the company. It is paramount that what you say on your resume, matches up with your profile on a public social media outlet.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter tend to be a little more troublesome when it comes to affecting people receiving a job offer. On these sources of media people are often more free spirited in expressing themselves, both through photos and various content. Many people like to post very personal updates that can lend insight on the type of person they are or wish to become, in addition to political views and family status as well.

Let’s not forget about photos, photos can be a job killer, portraying yourself as a party person or inappropriately clothed can have a negative impact on your career. Also, status updates, it is normal to have a ruthless day at work or even have a disagreement with your boss, but telling the whole world about it is a big employment no-no. Talking poorly about your management or coworkers says a lot about you, remember there are two sides to every story, you don’t know which of your friends or acquaintances can/will feed this information back to them, and get yourself in some hot water. Plus, future employers will not want to hire you if they are going to be the subject of some ugly commentary on Facebook.

However not all social media posting is necessarily bad; it can also have many benefits. You gain access to a new world of opportunities as well. Many companies are using some of these media outlets to advertise opportunities. LinkedIn is a great source for employers to post their job descriptions and get the word out to people that will share this with other associates and friends they may be connected within the market. Many people use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as modes of transportation of information for things such as benefits or fundraisers a company may be doing.   Another positive aspect of social media is the aspect of promotion, whether you are simply promoting yourself for new opportunities, or a company in expansion mode, you can do great things through the click of a mouse.

From the days of snail mail to the internet era, we have always continued to progress in communications, this has always been a constant, no matter the timeline. The trick is to always being mindful of the what/how you want to communicate and who maybe listening.




Getting a Job through a Staffing Agency

Getting a Job through a Staffing Agency

By: Meghan Hensley


Job hunting can be very difficult and stressful. It may appear to be simple to find a job considering when you look on job boards and websites you see many companies hiring all the time. Ever wonder why you can’t seem to get an interview for a company? It’s probably because they are searching for something you don’t have on your resume or they are looking for such an exact fit, that they will pass you by in a blink of an eye.

Big companies don’t want to go through thousands of resumes, trying to pick the right candidate out of thousands of submissions, it’s very time consuming. So they hire a staffing agency to do the searching for them. Agencies have access to so many different job search engines and a large network of qualified candidates, which it makes it much easier for us to find the right fit! Our clients can get really detailed in what they are looking for, down to which school, the age bracket, or type of background they would like to see in a candidate for a particular position. They know what they want and with us they get that exactly.

Getting an interview with a good company can be a struggle. It seems as if you always have to know someone. Going through a staffing agency is a foot in the door kind of opportunity for a candidate. We have access to big companies that won’t just let anyone in. So we do the initial screening process and interview for them and send the resume straight to the decision makers. If we feel as if you are a good candidate for the position and the company, we send you to them!

We are always looking to help better candidates as well as help the client find the best candidate, think of it as match-maker and we prep each candidate before-hand making it more likely for that individual to close the deal. Our goal is to really get to know you and help you find exactly what it is you are looking for at the same time find the right employer for a candidate’s interests.

Using an agency to help get placed in a job doesn’t cost the candidate anything. Many people have this concern when it comes to whether or not to use an agency for a job search, worried it may cost them something, all the costs are paid on the employer’s side.

The positions we place with our clients are not only temporary positions, most of them are temp-to-hire, meaning you typically work for the staffing agency for 90-120 days before the company can hire you on. We also place several direct hire positions as well, in which our employer clients hire you on directly. There are many options and many possible new employment opportunities when one goes through a Staffing firm, and more and more employers have decided to outsource the whole recruitment process to third parties because of the flexibility. If you haven’t given it a shot, you should try it. I believe when you do, you will say – why haven’t I tried this before? Thanks!

Minimum Wage & Employment



Minimum Wage & Employment

By: Bryan Bero

 In my last blog, I briefly covered the minimum wage in the US. The current federal minimum wage is set at 7.25 an hour as of 2015, currently, the District of Columbia has the highest minimum wage at $9.50 an hour, but, that will change as a few States have increased their minimum wage to $15/hr by 2020. The states of Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) of all the States that have currently have Minimum Wage laws. In States with a lower Minimum wage than the FED, the federal rate will apply.

One would assume that a job that is paying minimum wage would be positions that require little to no thought process, and minor training in order to complete their tasks. (i.e. fast food workers, janitors retail sales, and day labor). Some of the general assumptions about minimum wage jobs are correct many of these jobs involve unskilled labor; they can be obtained with minimal education, (GED or High School Diploma) and tarnished backgrounds, such as felonies.

However, more recently we have been seeing clients that are looking to hire skilled workers, for at the minimum wage or slightly above minimum wage price. These include warehouse workers, forklift drivers, machine operators and various other types of positions. All of these types of roles require some level of higher education, training or certification on the equipment being used to qualify for employment. Some of these skills have been learned from on the job training or special certifications that were taken and paid for. Unfortunately, finding someone to work at minimum wage or near it, for these types of positions can be quite difficult. These potential employees have more options than their counterparts do right out of high school.

Finding and retaining qualified employees to work for minimum is becoming more difficult as time moves forward. As the economy continues to heal and grow, more companies are able to offer higher pay, drawing more of the experienced talent. We have seen good employees only taking minimum wage pay in order to gain the experience to take a better paying job in the near future. This has created a serious retention problem for the smaller companies struggling to make it. At this time we are finding that the only people who are interested in working in minimum wage jobs are the under-educated, un-skilled, and with spotty criminal backgrounds, or terrible employment histories. This is causing quite a predicament for companies looking to expand and grow into a Mid or Large Sized organization – they simply cannot afford the higher wages.

I believe when Minimum Wage increases past a certain threshold, say $12/hr we will see many companies start to lay-off and even close down. We will also see many prices increasing across the board due the labor costs going up. I believe that minimum wage should increase, but I think it should increasing slowly and over time having a quick jump within a few years may wreak havoc on the lower-skilled hourly work-force and employers as well.


The ACA (ObamaCare) & Staffing

By: Bryan Bero

When introduced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short. It was widely believed that the introduction would reduce hiring for small businesses with less than 50 employees, and overall become detrimental to the growth of small businesses. Through my research and experience in this matter, I have been learning new and interesting things about the ACA and its effects on small businesses as well as the staffing industry as a whole.

What I have learned so far is that Obama Care (ACA) is a mixed bag for many different reasons. It was created to support the working class people who are either on or below the poverty line in hopes of providing them with affordable health insurance, regardless of prior illnesses or other negating factors. They did this by subsidizing health insurance costs and ensuring that the majority business owners will contribute to a percentage of the costs. The government is working towards relieving itself of the burden of providing healthcare coverage to individuals who earn less than 28,000 dollars a year. This roughly converts to approximately 14 dollars an hour for a full time employee working a 40 hour a week job. With the federal minimum wage at $7.75 a vast majority of employees qualify for some sort of government assistance, whether it is Medicare or food stamps.

Before ObamaCare there was no way a minimum wage employee could afford the high premiums for healthcare coverage, and provide for the family. Now with the government chipping in, and employers chipping in, the average American worker can afford relatively the same health care coverage.

However, the mandates and restrictions that are imposed on the businesses will also have negative effects on the company’s ability to create new jobs and hire new employees. The profits that have been earned and ear-marked for growth will now have to be re-directed to cover the additional healthcare costs of the current employees. Industries with lower profit margins may be put out of business or have to drastically reduce costs, and reduce those costs any way possible. In order to maintain there current profit margin, the business these companies will either have to raise prices of their goods or services, lower the number of employees or reduce hours substantially.

At Certa Staff we have already seen this take affect with a couple of our clients. One client, who has extremely low margins, was forced to cut their entire 3rd shift, laying off 25 full time employees. This was done to lower their overall full time employee headcount to fewer than 50, so they wouldn’t be fined by the ACA. They moved some of our 3rd shift employees to other shifts in order to increase production levels on those shifts, but the rest was let go. By providing contract-to-hire employees to our client they were able to maintain, their profit margins, while complying with the A.C.A. As 2017 rolls around and the ACA becomes fully implemented and the laws start to become understood more clearly, I believe small businesses will start to outsource its employees at a much higher rate than ever before. The Staffing industry is indeed on the radar for future growth.


Sourcing Resumes and Candidates Online

By: Meghan Hensley
Finding the right candidate to fill a position at a company can be quite the job itself. There are so many key factors to look for in every candidate, and all must be considered in order to fill an open position. What key qualities could this person bring to the company? Does this person seem responsible? Do they have a clean background? We go through many searches just to find someone who meets these requirements and seems like the right fit for our company and sometimes they end up turning down the offer presented, making the recruitment process that much more frustrating.

So where do we start? First, we receive a position from a company that is looking to hire. We then talk with the company HR and Hiring Manager to make sure that we have a clear, well defined job description of the position that they are trying to fill and which traits they want to hone in on. Most of the time, we are searching for certain degrees, certificates to operate specific machinery, or how much experience is required for them to be considered a good candidate.

Once we find out everything, requirement-wise, we advertise the job with a clear-cut job description so that we can attract the best possible candidates in the market-place. In addition to advertising online, we have various search engines that we utilize to also look for potential candidates, such as Monster, LinkedIn, Dice, Indeed, and Career Builder.

We plug in key words and information into the Boolean search engines, which helps us narrow down the candidate pool and also specify certain characteristics that are required for the job. We then strategically put the location of the job in the search area, and work within a 20-mile radius initially, and expand out slowly, as the search continues. Typically, even after narrowing it down, we still end up with around 150 – 250 resumes that have the listed requirements on them to look through.

When reviewing through the narrowed down resumes, we still have to look for other specific things as well. We want to make sure that the potential candidate isn’t a job hopper, meaning that they have been with multiple employers for a very short period of time, over and over again. An ideal candidate would be someone that the company could depend on to be responsible and not just quit on short notice. This usually means someone with tenure of at least 3 years within every job he/she has held as well. Making sure the industry and technical experience matches is very important as well. If it doesn’t make sense for us – as recruiters, then it certainly won’t make sense for the employer or candidate either.

Still after all the narrowing down, a lot of the resumes may have some of the requirements but will be missing something that we are specifically looking for, which makes the search that much harder. The experience piece is crucial when considering possible candidates, many times companies are looking for candidates with a certain amount of experience, be it 3-5 years or such. Too little or too much can be a deal breaker for a hiring manager.

Sourcing for candidates can be a very tedious, eye tiring job. But when we find the right fit for a company, the reward far makes the effort worthwhile.

Starting a Staffing Agency

By: James Sutton

Opening a Staffing firm can be quite the accomplishment and adventure at the same time. Many people I speak with are interested in how I got started and how I grew my firm to be a million dollar company in such a short time frame. I always respond by saying that it wasn’t easy and it entailed a lot of planning, executing, rejection, and most importantly – grey hair. Starting a staffing firm sounds easy to many people initially, but until they actually try and open one up, they won’t know all the particulars needed to be successful. There are many legal hurdles, insurance requirements, contract obligations, and cash requirements needed to get a firm off the ground. In this blog, I will discuss what I went through in order to get my firm opened and to profitability, let’s get started.

First off, I started my career in Human Resources and worked for the Fortune 500 bracket for about 5 years before I jumped into Staffing and Recruiting. HR taught me a lot about how the recruiting process worked within large companies and what happened after candidates were received from 3rd party recruiters, something many recruiters are not experienced with, in this industry. Coming out of HR gave me an edge in the staffing world, being I knew the ropes and language of HR, and I could communicate that when attempting to get on with a new company. This for sure helped me leverage new contracts and recruit higher level talent in the long run. After 5 years in the hamster wheel, I decided it was time to launch out and create CertaStaff.

In 2011, I researched as much as I could about how to open up my own firm before I took the plunge, and one of the major questions I had, was how much capital was required? I read several articles that stated everything from as little as 10k to as high as 50k in cash needed. I found this to be half true, it’s much more than 50k in total. One major cost that is not associated with opening up your own business is your personal living expenses for the first year. This seems to almost always be forgotten when discussing new ventures. For instance, year one of a small business is much like a newborn infant. You have to be there 24/7 and not take food out of the baby’s mouth – in this case “money”. Your new business has to grow and be able to make money and re-invest that money the first year, which means that you will need another account to live off of in the meanwhile. On average (depending on how big your family is), you may need anywhere from 50k-80k a year to support yourself and your family while your business is starting to grow. So, with this being the case, I recommend adding this amount to your capital requirements needed to open your agency, and could be the difference between making it to year 2 or flopping completely within the first 6 months.

Now comes the part of how much you need to just open up the doors, well, depending which  city you are living in, you should start with a minimum of 60k and if you live in a high-cost area (like NYC), that number could be as high as 120k. The majority of this money will be put in a reserve payroll account, for staffing headcount and financing new contracts – about 75%. The remaining 25% will be used for opening up operations. This would include everything from leasing your first office space, furniture, websites, job sites, insurance, hiring staff, marketing, and etc. You should plan on working this Operating budget for periods of 90-120 days before seeing any revenue come in. The trick is to develop business from day one and get new contracts in place ASAP! Once you have done that, you must start placing the staff immediately and start billing out; usually these invoices have a Net-30 day invoicing period on them, so plan on adding another month onto the time you actually start billing clients as well. This is what’s known as working a full-desk – finding the clients and fulfilling the job orders at the same time. It is essential that you master this piece of the process, if you want to build and grow a successful firm. You can’t just hire people to do it for you, because you as the owner must put your hands on this process and own it. It is very important that the head of the company, knows what it’s like to their own due diligence on each potential client. It’s up to you to deem if a company is a good client or not, any mistakes in this crucial function within the first year can bankrupt you, if the client decides not to pay up!

Starting a stacertastaff_0021ffing firm can be grueling and often difficult to get off the ground, but when you do, it can make you a very wealthy person. The key is differentiating yourself within the industry, because there are so many firms out there and they are all competing amongst each other. Which career areas do you specialize in? Which industries do you have experience with? Can you Recruit or Staff in other states? And most of all, why should I use your firm? All these questions are very important to understand and consider before spending your first dollar opening up. Research and planning are essential in every new business and that includes the staffing & recruitment industry. Being prepared with a detailed business plan and capital requirements will put you in a great position to succeed, but making it to profitability – is all sales. Good Luck!

The Art of Talent Acquisition – AKA: Head Hunting

Written By: Bryan Bero

 In 2012, I hung up my uniform and entered the world of civilian employment. Having joined the military also immediately after High School, I had only a vague idea of how to find a new career or even enter the work force. I had a Bachelors degree in Business and 14 years military service under my belt. Surely finding a job wouldn’t be difficult. So I followed the standard path, I submitted my resume to all the major job boards at the time Monster and Career Builder. Thinking the phone was going to ring.

A former army buddy of mine had seen my resume online, he had left the military and had successfully entered into corporate America. He then decided to leave corporate and open his own Staffing and Recruiting Business, Certa Group. At the time he had been open for 1 year had seen some success and was looking to expand his business. This was to be my first experience with head hunting, though I had no idea at the time.

After accepting the position to work for Certa Group, I was introduced to the world of corporate recruiting and specifically head hunting. Over the last 3 years, I have learned this trade thru, knowledge past along thru my employer, trial and error and reading articles posted by other professionals in this area. During this time period, I have identified many different issues that really do make Head Hunting an art form. In order to be a successful head hunter, you must be able to recognize, indentify and overcome these obstacles in order to make the placement.

The first issue that I recognized quite quickly is that everyone lies. A potential client may lie about open positions’, the time frame that they are planning to hire, and what they are looking for in a Candidate. Candidates lie about the ability to relocate, their skills and experiences, their knowledge base, their salary requirements. In order to overcome these obstacles it took months of listening and interviewing people. Listening not so much to what was said, but how it was said. Another issue quickly identified is that many job titles were the same, between different business units of the same company. To overcome this obstacle it is imperative to have an open dialogue with the HR rep as well as the hiring manager, as well as in depth knowledge of the company, their products and their industry.

After understanding the company and position fully knowing exactly what the company is looking for, finding the right candidate for that position takes knowledge of the market, known competitors, and structured job boards. With the ever changing multi-media market, finding the right candidate is a continually changing process.

At Certa Group we take pride in being able to identify and overcome most issues that plague our clients ability to locate and hire the best talent available. We partner with our clients, gaining intimate knowledge of exactly what they are looking for in a specific role. We then hit the trenches, identifying the best possible candidates for the position, weeding out the candidates that will not pass the interview process or who may turn down an offer that is made. Our processes minimize lost time/ revenue – often experienced during the interview process through more traditional methods and our placement guarantees hold truth to that fact.

Business Development in the Staffing Industry

Business Development in the Staffing Industry

By: Jill Friedmanblog photo

To be successful at business development you have to truly believe in the product/service you are selling. It takes an outgoing personality and having thick skin, as rejection is a common occurrence in this industry, especially on the business development side. Business development in staffing has two key components, these two components are field recruiting and cold calling. Persistence and follow up are essential areas in this highly competitive industry.

Visiting potential clients in the field can be very challenging yet highly rewarding. Since I have been working in recruiting I have found myself paying attention specifically to industrial areas as I pass them on the road. This is because during client visits’ I try to knock on as many doors as I can, it also helps me create a game plan. In addition to visually seeing places and making a mental note, the internet and several databases are great resources to locate your target market.

In order to be the most successful on field days you want to map out your route, to use your time in the most effective manner. I spend about 3 days a week in the field, trying to visit between 30 and 50 locations each day. I keep a list of every location I visit and reference back to it when I get back in the office.

While on location, the goal is to speak with a Human Resources professional face to face, this proves to be a challenge many times, being HR is usually busy with various tasks throughout the day and do not have time for “walk-ins”. When I encounter this situation, I speak with the receptionist, explain my purpose for my visit, and leave some information on my company, in hopes that I can get a meeting scheduled.

After a full day out in the field, I come back to the office and go to work with my list. Using multiple databases, I can locate the HR’s name and contact information such as email address and phone number. This is where persistence comes in to play and hopefully pays off. Using the information I collect, I can now follow up and formally introduce myself to the Human Resources Manager through email and over the phone.

I spend the other 2 days of my week in the office cold calling. Cold calling is an incredibly important aspect of business development. The goal is to make 60-70 cold calls a day. The success rate for cold calling is very low, but the reward is worth the work. For every thousand cold calls you may yield between 3-5 lunch meetings. This is where thick skin really comes in handy, as you will have a lot of hang ups and more often than not – rejection. I personally have experienced everything from the “brush off” to getting hung up on, however making a connection and scheduling a meeting makes all of the rejections worthwhile.

When you land a meeting with HR, it more often than not leads to a contract. A contract can yield big money for the company, thus making all the work and rejection worth it! In closing, Business Development in the staffing industry is much like any other industry – BRUTAL, but unlike any other industry, a good client can land you millions of dollars of revenue, Happy Hunting!

Staffing – A Growth Industry

Staffing a Growth Industry

By: James Sutton      

September 1, 2015

During the recession of 2008, companies were faced with major setbacks and layoffs. As the unemployment rate increased, causing firms to have to make challenging decisions, organizations had to learn how to strengthen their financial position. Their options were to either downsize head-count or to eliminate operating costs in order to regain their financial health. When the economy started recovering from the recession, firms had to ramp up again – increasing headcount rapidly. This put many companies in a pearl because they did not have the technical recruitment resources needed to fill the open requisitions. So their best option was to go to third party staffing and recruiting firms for support.

After the recession, businesses had an increasing need for candidates who were seeking temporary, and/or temporary to permanent placement. Many firms had discovered value in the transitory nature that the temp-to-perm process offers. Also known as the contract-to-hire service, that placement firms offer – where companies to try employees out before offering them full time positions – reducing their cost to hire; as well as having the ability to try out several different employees at the same time. This service proved to be the best avenue to bring head-count numbers back up in their organization, and BOOM, the Staffing Industry exploded. Many firms grew at double-digit rates from 2012 to present day and are still growing.

Another key factor, was the new health insurance costs related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which took effect January 1st, 2015, many companies found themselves burdened with higher costs that they were not affected by previously. This legislation became a huge driving point for the increase within the staffing industry as well, being now, that any company with 50 or more employees are required to offer Healthcare coverage to their associates and their families. Business Leaders learned that by off-setting these workers with an Employment Agency, companies can effectively remove those burdens from their P&L, increasing their bottom line, thus adding to the immense growth of the Staffing Industry. I foresee this growth to only continue as the years go by and Staffing firms are going to be the go-to partners for many businesses which previously never consider them.