Staffing Talks: Robert Mulberger

The recruiting industry is certainly undergoing a change. The recent recession, increased automated processes and the rise of the digital sectors have all created a unique situation for staffing professionals, which has made the adoption of recruiting software necessary. But what does an experienced staffing professional think about all of this change?

As former president and board member of the American Staffing Association, Robert Mulberger has spent over 40 years helping people find work. His insights into the industry and advice for job seekers have made him an expert resource. Robb is the principal owner and CEO of Washington, D.C.–based NRI Staffing Resources, a regional staffing services firm, and has recently published a book titled, “The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide!”

Let’s take a look into what he thinks the future of the industry may look like, the overall impact of the recession on the job market and what he is hoping to offer job seekers with his book.

What does the future of the staffing industry look like?
The employment rate is currently holding steady in the nation, with only slight rises here and there. However, for the most part, unemployment is at 7.6 percent or 11.8 million people out of work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some industries and regions are doing better than others, in terms of recuperating from the lasting effects of the recession. But there are a few overall trends that are blanketing the job market, according to Mulberger.

“The recession has resulted in fewer jobs to fill and fewer requests for temporary workers… no surprise there. Employers are slow to proceed, there may be work to be done, but better to make do than incur the cost of adding staff when the overall direction of the economy is uncertain,” Mulberger said. “Many a trade association is just treading water; their memberships are down and people and organizations aren’t spending on services, products, training, etc. as they did pre-recession. Same for public advocacy firms; their funding is less than pre-recession – hence smaller staffs and less ambitious plans and programs going forward. The recession has impacted direct hire placement more than temporary staffing, as it has during previous recessions.”

Mulberger added that “trends that have resulted [from the recession] include organizations doing more with fewer people and less resources. Employers, realizing that every hire is really important when working with a lean staff, expect a 100 percent match to the desired candidate criteria. Money is tight so there are pressures on fees and margins. The trend of using systems and automation to get the work done and keep head count low seems to have intensified.”

How is the ACA impacting the staffing industry?
Business owners, political leaders and staffing professionals are waiting with bated breath to see what will happen as a result of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Opinions about whether the repercussions will be positive or negative are all over the map, and people are trying to determine where the costs are going to be placed with the ACA’s implementation. Staffing Industry Analysts reported recently that recruiting firms will most likely see cost increases due to the requirement to provide healthcare coverage to workers who previously could remain uninsured. However other reports show that the costs could be passed on to the clients. The only certainty at this point for most staffing firms is that the costs will be laid at the feet of someone in the process.

“Well for sure, [the ACA] will raise costs somewhere for someone in the mix. The extent that staffing firms can pass some or all of the costs to clients remains to be seen,” Mulberger explains. “The news media reports that some organizations have shifted part-time staff workload to 29 hours per week and the repercussions from that won’t be known until some time goes by.”

To handle the change in processes and create a plan to handle the implementation of the ACA, Mulberger, like many other staffing professionals, is beginning to create a plan for the future.

“We [at NRI Staffing Resources] are talking to several insurance organizations to see who has a handle on what needs to be done to be in compliance and also to get on top of the record-keeping and paperwork. The one-year reprieve is helpful to the planning and preparation process.”

How can job seekers succeed in this market?
With the future implementation of the ACA and the lingering effects of the recession, many job seekers are looking for a way to boost their careers with a new position. Unfortunately, the market is a little less than receptive right now, which means that an individual’s search may be falling flat. Mulberger offers his advice for conquering the employment market and finding that next position in his new book.

“As the title ‘The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide’ indicates, [the purpose of the book] is to provide a complete and definitive guide for job seekers at any and all levels. It begins with a discussion of the ‘world of work’ – what are some ‘absolutes’ of the world of work that a job seeker needs to know to maximize their chances of finding the right job for them. It then provides detailed guides to resumes, interviewing, using staffing services, creative internet searching procedures and related topics to make the process as effective as possible in the shortest time frame.”

“My book details the “world of work” environment that job seekers must understand in order to navigate the job seeking process. My book provides very detailed guidelines regarding resumes and interviewing and a unique chapter on internet searching using Google’s algorithms and the Boolean operators. There is no fluff in it and at 146 pages it is an easy and fast read.”

For staffing professionals and job seekers looking to improve their careers, the advice of a proven professional can provide exceptional insight into where the industry has been and where it might be going is invaluable. The staffing industry has demonstrated that proven skills, the right staffing software and a strong understanding of market trends can keep the industry strong and vital in the changing job market.

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