During the month of February, Jordan Timm, Corporate Relations and Reunion Giving Specialist for Coe College, had the opportunity to sit down with Julie Albert, Cedar Rapids Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President of Robert Half.
Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. They aim to help businesses grow by finding the right talent match for their staffing and consulting needs, while building rewarding careers for the job seekers they place.
Robert Half pioneered the idea of professional staffing services over 70 years ago. They started as a specialized accounting and finance staffing firm, but expanded to include administrative, legal, technology, creative and management staffing. Their various lines of business serve job seekers from different professional backgrounds. For instance, the Robert Half Technology team helps place IT professionals, while OfficeTeam helps place administrative professionals. In Cedar Rapids, they specifically work in placing accounting and finance, administrative and tech professionals in all industries.
As a company, part of Robert Half’s core mission is to help job seekers build their dream career by finding them jobs with local employers. They help with resume preparation, interview coaching and marketing candidates to companies that are hiring. They pride themselves on maintaining an environment where ethics always come first and innovation is prized.
Julie Albert began working for Robert Half after graduating from University of Northern Iowa in 2010. Over the last eight-and-a-half years, Julie has had the opportunity to evolve and grow through various roles in the company. Starting as a Staffing Manager in OfficeTeam and now overseeing several other lines of business at the Cedar Rapids branch, she offered some wonderful insight and valuable perspectives.
If you were approached by someone at a career fair or similar event that had no prior knowledge of Robert Half and the work that you do, how would you explain the company to them?
“I like to help them understand that we are an additional resource to partner with during their job search. We can aid in providing them with a variety of different opportunities. Maybe they’d like to find a summer job specifically related to their field of interest, or maybe they’re looking to test the waters in a couple of different roles after graduation before accepting a full-time position. We would help them understand that we fill positions that are temporary or temporary-to-full time.
For students, one of the largest benefits of working with Robert Half is that we are another set of eyes and ears in the marketplace. It's risk-free to partner with us, and through that partnership, you gain valuable interview experience, access to all our free online tutorials to strengthen your skill sets, communication with marketplace experts and access to free resources to help you stay current on marketplace trends.”
What are some of the key advantages for an individual choosing to work with an HR service?
“Working with a staffing firm is advantageous because you have someone advocating for you and professionally presenting you to a variety of companies with open roles, working to compare your personal needs to the needs of local hiring managers, and identifying the right match for you as an individual. A staffing expert can review your resume and provide tips, offer feedback, market you on LinkedIn, prepare you for the interview and ultimately help negotiate your pay and benefits.”
Can you tell me a little bit more about the full-time team that works internally for Robert Half?
“We have specialized divisions with experts in the accounting & finance, administrative and technology fields. Our staffing professionals are unique because they typically have a background in the field they are placing and possess a degree in accounting, marketing, business management or industrial organizational psychology. Robert Half recruiters and business developers identify local job seekers and employers with staffing needs. We evaluate and vet both parties to see if there’s a good match.”
What are some of the perks of working for Robert Half as an internal team member or as a temporary placement?
“We are one of the few staffing agencies that offer benefit packages to our temporary employees. Oftentimes when people look for a job, they might think they don’t want a temporary position because they won’t get benefits, or they’re afraid it will weaken their resume with multiple positions listed in a short time span. In actuality, we are the opposite of that, and we address those concerns. Robert Half offers benefits for our employees when they are out on the worksite. Our employees can list the different job placements and functional roles they undertake during their time with Robert Half. This means hiring managers will see they had consistent employment under Robert Half with a variety of functional roles.
By working for Robert Half, a student is also able to gain unique experiences through various assignments and positions. This can be extremely beneficial to help figure out where they would like to go with their future career. They are able to try different roles within their industry of interest and begin building a network of people within their industry.”
Can you please tell us the reasons an employer chooses to work with Robert Half?
“Unemployment is at an all-time low, so in this extremely tight candidate market, we are a huge asset for employers. They find value in working with us because they get a third-party vetting process. It saves them time and money from posting an advertisement, going through the interview process, and losing time from someone not sitting in the seat and working the job.
Also, when an employee provides notice, Robert Half has a pool of readily available candidates that can be on the worksite in the next 24-48 hours. So, even if the employer is still searching for the right permanent candidate, they have an interim solution.”
What are you hearing that employers want in candidates?
“Employers are looking for candidates who are not only proficient in technology, but also have soft skills such as strong communication, professionalism, punctuality and project management capabilities.
Corporate culture is also becoming more of a predominant factor on both ends of the spectrum. Candidates want a good culture fit, and companies want employees that are a good culture match. Companies are sometimes looking for someone that can be a better culture match rather than somebody that is the perfect skills match. Skillsets can be learned, but when it comes to culture and personality, oftentimes, those are more innate qualities.”
What do you see that candidates are missing these days?
“Surprisingly, we’re seeing some candidates ghosting employers during the hiring process – they sometimes stop responding to employers altogether. However, the courteous thing to do is let the employer know you’re no longer interested in the role by communicating via email or phone, and doing so in a professional way. By ghosting the employer, you’re burning a bridge you may need to cross someday in the future.”
Is there any key advice you would give students regarding cover letters and resumes?
“Proofread, proofread, proofread both your cover letter and resume. Have a few other people look over them as well – maybe a trusted professor or friend.
Tailor both documents to each job you apply for. Do your homework: find the name of the hiring manager and address the cover letter to them. Use keywords from the job description in your resume – for instance, if the role calls for experience with specific software, make sure to list the programs you’re proficient with.
Follow up with the hiring manager within 1-2 weeks of applying for a job. Don’t harass the hiring manager by calling them over and over, but follow up with a handwritten thank you note or email.”
Do you have any final pieces of information you would like to include about Robert Half?
The best part is we are a free resource for job seekers. We are local marketplace experts and another set of eyes and ears in the community for you. We have statistics, materials and resources that are exclusively available through us. Our Salary Guides, in particular, provide a wealth of data on compensation and benefit trends – all localized by market. We also have an exclusive partnership with CareerBuilder, which gives us inside knowledge on available positions and how many applicants are viewing those positions online.”
If you are interested in learning more about Robert Half, please email Julie Albert at email@example.com or check them out on Handshake!