Paul Labie, co-owner of Royal Personnel Services

Unfortunately, many in the recruiting and staffing industry are so busy that they are unable to set aside enough time to stay on top of emerging trends. One industry expert who stays abreast of recruiting trends, best practices and the Valley’s hiring forecast is Paul Labie, an outstanding staffing consultant and co-owner of Royal Personnel Services, a full-service staffing company that provides both temporary and direct-hire services as well as payroll services.

Labie’s wealth of knowledge, dedication and passion for providing entry-level through senior-management personnel enable him to discuss current job and employment topics with ease and precision, including why branding and technology are important to job candidates and how streamlining the hiring process will help companies  lock in the qualified candidates that they want.

“I’m seeing a spike in the job market here in Arizona and Maricopa County,” Labie says. “I’ve noticed that a lot more companies are adding to their permanent workforce, whether it’s on a temp-to-hire basis or a direct-hire basis.”

Labie also added that highly qualified candidates are harder and harder to find.

“What that tells me is that the unemployment numbers are going down,” Labie explains. “The highly qualified folks are going fast, which means they are likely getting multiple job offers and are quickly finding employment.”

Labie notes that branding was a big trend for 2016, and will continue to be a huge recruiting trend for 2017.

“Effectively leveraging your company’s brand is so important,” Labie says. “It’s one of the first things that potential candidates are going to be looking at. And no matter how you’re publicizing open positions within your organization, whether it’s an online job site, via a referral, or through social media, your website is the first thing candidates go to where they can learn more about your company.”

Waxing nostalgic, Labie also speaks of a time when you could just walk in the door of a company and hand-deliver your resume.

“That’s a thing of the past,” Labie says. “Technology has changed everything.”

In this day and age, many candidates—from millennials to baby boomers—are using their smart phones and apps to research a company, learn about the company’s brand and get a glimpse of the company culture.

Labie adds, “Having a good name and being a respected place of employment in the Valley, as well as having a good online presence through social media channels, are huge in regard to attracting and retaining good employees. In addition, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. If it’s not, you’re really missing out on a lot of candidates.”

The need to retain qualified, rockstar employees is forcing many companies to shift the way they manage their workforce.

“A lot of companies are moving to a bonus structure in which all employees receive bonuses based on company profitability, as opposed to just the sales team,” Labie says. “What this company-wide bonus structure does is establish a team environment where everybody feels like they have some sort of stake in the game. In addition, it not only retains those rockstar employees, but also sways candidates in favor of your company when they have multiple job offers.”

Some candidates say that the interview process now takes longer than ever and Labie concurs. According to a recent study by recruiting site Glassdoor, companies take an average of 23 days to screen and hire new employees, up from 13 days in 2010.1

“Companies really need a quick, streamlined hiring process to get the qualified candidates that they want. If you have an opening and a qualified candidate and you don’t move forward fairly quickly and schedule an interview, you’re going to lose them to another job offer,” Labie says.

Labie advises companies to embrace a multiple-person interview process so the candidate can meet with several people at the organization all on the same day, whether it’s a panel interview or a number of one-on-one interviews.

“Candidates are spending their time and their gas to get to your company’s location for the interview, so you might as well make the most of the opportunity,” he says.

Putting a lot of emphasis on personality is another trend that Labie continues to see increase as unemployment drops and the job market gets tighter.

“It’s important for a new hire to mesh well with the team, especially for a smaller business,” Labie says. “I see a lot more companies emphasizing not just the skill set, but also having someone with a personality that fits well with the team.”

Labie adds, “In comparison, a candidate might possess every bullet on the required skill set, but clearly is not going to mesh with the team and can create havoc in a work environment.”

Here are a few best practices to also consider:

Appreciation goes a long way. It’s important for companies to show employees appreciation. Even small gestures are noticed and appreciated. Whether it’s bringing in bagels every Wednesday or ordering a catered lunch for your staff once in awhile, employees want to see that their employer appreciates them.

Invest in the future of your business. Employees want to see that employers are invested in their business, whether it’s replacing the office furniture, swapping out the pictures on the wall that have been there for 10 years or other necessary upkeep. Even something subtle shows employees that the company isn’t closing the door tomorrow and that you are investing in the future of your business. Part of your brand is your company’s office space and the things in it. Don’t underestimate the impression that your space AND your company makes on employees and customers.

By following these trends and best practices, companies of any size can effectively attract and retain qualified employees.

Labie concludes, “It’s one thing to get them in the door, it’s another thing to keep them.”

1, How to deal with a long hiring process,  Jan. 19, 2016

Posted by Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports business growth and drives economic development in the region by helping members stay connected and prosperous, growing the economy through Phoenix Forward, our collaborative economic development partnership, and advocating for pro-business policies.