Re­cruit­ment firms match work­ers, jobs

Calgary Herald - - WORKING - JANE CARDILLO

It was an of­fer Cur­tis Denomme couldn’t refuse. The 28-year-old mas­ter elec­tri­cian from Cochrane wasn’t look­ing to change jobs, but when a re­cruit­ment firm ap­proached him about a po­si­tion with a big­ger com­pany, he bit.

“I wasn’t re­ally ac­tu­ally plan­ning to use a staffing com­pany, but they sort of found me,” says Denomme.

The new job comes with lots of perks.

“It’s a chance for me to ex­pand my skill base, the pay was higher and there’s a work truck, which is nice; it saves my own ve­hi­cle,” says Denomme.

Re­cent fig­ures from Sta­tis­tics Canada show Al­berta has the high­est job va­cancy rate in the coun­try and that has re­cruit­ment firms scram­bling to find ex­pe­ri­enced work­ers for their clients, many of whom are tied to the oil and gas in­dus­try.

One of the big­gest de­mands is for skilled trades­peo­ple, says Shar­lene Massie, head of About Staffing Ltd., the re­cruit­ment firm that found Denomme his job.

“We’re short welders, elec­tri­cians, heavy equip­ment op­er­a­tors, tech­ni­cians, me­chan­ics, steel fit­ters, fabri­ca­tors,” says Massie.

“Oil com­pa­nies are snap­ping peo­ple up.”

Many work­ers are go­ing north to high-pay­ing jobs in the oil­sands, says Massie.

That, she says, is cre­at­ing a huge de­mand for skilled trades in other parts of the prov­ince.

“(Clients) are ac­tu­ally say­ing, ‘We’ll pay any­thing for the right per­son,’” says Massie, whose com­pany fo­cuses on fill­ing jobs in Ed­mon­ton and sur­round­ing ar­eas, as well as in Cal­gary.

About Staffing re­ceives from 1,000 to 4,000 re­sumes a month, but the com­pany is se­lec­tive about whom it refers to clients.

The agency picks 60 job seek­ers a week to in­ter­view for po­si­tions rang­ing from ad­min­is­tra­tive and cler­i­cal to trades and ac­count­ing.

“We ad­ver­tise and pro­mote, we do lots of on­line searches, we call up com­peti­tors and we get a lot of re­fer­rals,” says Massie.

Denomme was one of those re­fer­rals.

A friend passed his name along to the com­pany, af­ter which a re­cruiter con­tacted him and asked for a re­sume and ref­er­ences.

About Staffing checked his cre­den­tials, in­ter­viewed him and re­ferred him to one of its clients.

Within two weeks Denomme had the job.

“I hired him right away; he was a per­fect fit,” says Luigi Es­pos­ito, Al­berta dis­trict man­ager with Schneider Elec­tric.

The re­cruit­ing firm did what Es­pos­ito couldn’t — find a qual­i­fied worker quickly.

“I had the po­si­tion open for three to four months and I couldn’t fill it,” Es­pos­ito says.

w“Then About Staffing came to see me and I would say it was prob­a­bly two weeks and they found me a per­son.”

Denomme paid noth­ing to About Staffing for find­ing him a job.

In fact, says Jeff Aplin, pres­i­dent of re­cruit­ment firm David Aplin Group, it is il­le­gal for re­cruit­ment com­pa­nies to charge job seek­ers. Agen­cies make their money from client com­pa­nies who gen­er­ally pay once a po­si­tion is filled.

“We are ex­clu­sively paid by the em­ploy­ers,” Aplin says.

Aplin’s agency has of­fices across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Ed­mon­ton.

“Our whole model is spe­cial­iza­tion by job cat­e­gory, so we have peo­ple who fo­cus ex­clu­sively on re­cruit­ing for char­tered ac­coun­tants or IT man­agers or what­ever the case may be,” he says.

One area where de­mand is very strong is the trades, Aplin says.

“In the Al­berta labour mar­ket, the high­est-growth job cat­e­gories are in the tech­ni­cal/pro­fes­sional job cat­e­gory and that def­i­nitely in­cludes the jour­ney­man trades, the skilled trades,” Aplin says.

“No ques­tion, there is sur­plus de­mand for tal­ented peo­ple and specif­i­cally the skilled trades are an area where there is a chronic, sys­temic labour short­age in Al­berta.”

Some of Aplin’s clients are look­ing to fill po­si­tions for heavy-duty me­chan­ics, mill­wrights, elec­tri­cians and in­stru­men­ta­tion tech­ni­cians.

“Those would be some hot jobs right now.”

The goal of re­cruit­ing firms is to find the right per­son for the job, says Aplin.

“All of our con­sul­tants on a dayto-day ba­sis are spend­ing their time talk­ing to peo­ple, ask­ing for re­fer­rals. It’s just con­stantly seek­ing out, hunt­ing down peo­ple that are in de­mand in job cat­e­gories.

“We re­cruit them, we talk to them and when we’re able to rec­om­mend them to clients, we bring them to clients.”

That was some­thing Luigi Es­pos­ito ap­pre­ci­ated most.

“Like any other man­ager, to re­ally dig into the can­di­dates and do all that screening takes a lot of work ef­fort,” Es­pos­ito says.

“They (re­cruiters) do the pre­lim­i­nary stuff. It is ex­tremely help­ful, they can weed peo­ple out and then we don’t waste time. It just makes life a lot eas­ier.”

Pho­tos: Post­media News/files

Jeff Aplin, pres­i­dent of re­cruit­ing for David Aplin Re­cruit­ing, says de­mand is strong­est in Al­berta for skilled trades­peo­ple.

Shar­lene Massie, CEO of About Staffing Ltd., says the move north to the oil­patch of many skilled work­ers has left many of the rest of Al­ber­tan em­ploy­ers scram­bling for good staff.

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