“Bringing Great People and Companies Together”

~ By Cheryl Long

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There is no shortage of recruiting firms across Canada, all racing to fill job openings as they search for the country’s top talent. That means that in such a fiercely competitive field, doing things a little differently is the secret to standing out among the rest.

Career Connections Canada Inc. in Mississauga, Ontario has embraced a concept that may seem simple, but is ensuring the company’s success and solidifying their reputation with a growing roster of clients. What do they do that makes them unique? They respond to every candidate who contacts them, and rely on the value of face-to-face meetings.

Anyone who has ever submitted a resume to an employment agency knows that silence is often the only response. But company president Zag Dutton, who founded Career Connections 20 years ago, believes that communication is vitally important in the recruiting industry.

“A lot of the complaints that we hear about our industry unfortunately is that companies don’t get back to them, or they send their resume in and they never hear from anybody,” she said. “We try to avoid those pitfalls. We have no shortage of people sending in resumes, and it doesn’t mean that we have a spot for every individual but it does mean that we will at least get back to them. We try not to leave anybody wondering.”

Face-to-face interviews are crucial

Zag Dutton

The same holds true for candidates who are successful in reaching the job interview stage. Career Connections will “keep them in the loop as much as possible”, providing feedback as the process moves along. By the time interviews are conducted, the chances for success are already heading in a positive direction because Zag and her team believe in meeting all job candidates and clients face to face, assessing and understanding them in a way that can’t be done over the phone.

“People can present exceptionally well on the phone and become an entirely different individual in person,” Dutton said. “Over the phone we don’t have those nuances, the body language, the facial expressions, to gauge this person’s genuineness or their true interest. It’s very hard to judge over the phone.”  If an in-person meeting isn’t possible due to distance, they’ll ask a trusted colleague to conduct the interview or they’ll arrange a meeting using Skype or video conferencing.

“We still have that opportunity to meet this person with as much reality as possible, and that gives us the opportunity to decide whether or not their skill set, personality and point of view will fit with the client. You can learn skills but you can’t change your personality to match the personality of an office.”

High success rate speaks volumes

Career Connections has a 75-percent success rate of placing staff across the employment spectrum, whether the work is temporary, permanent or contract. They also offer payroll services to employers, taking over the responsibility of WSIB, employment records, insurance coverage and more for the contingent workforce.  The arrangements not only benefit employers but appeal to a growing number of job seekers who aren’t necessarily looking for full-time work.

The need for temporary employees is on the rise, Dutton said, and using an employment agency to find the right people is also a growing trend. Businesses benefit from the recruiter’s experience in spotting the best person for the job, often taken from the wide pool of choices in their carefully built databases. In the case of temporary work — where Career Connections keeps employees on their own payroll — companies can bring on as many or as few people as they need, laying off when production slows down. Employees can then apply for a new job through Career Connections, or take advantage of the company’s services in career counselling or resume writing.

Some people prefer the lifestyle that temporary work offers, Dutton explained. It can allow more flexibility in their schedules, making it easier to plan extended vacations or only work on a seasonal calendar. Temporary placements can offer a unique opportunity to try a particular role or company on for size, leading to a permanent position in some cases.

That increasing need for fluctuating levels of staff has opened up new avenues for Career Connections. Earlier this year, the company took on an assignment to supply 60 to 80 general labourers at any given time on rotating shifts. For a business that originally dealt primarily with permanent job placements, they found the learning curve steep but the journey rewarding. “None of us on this team has slept since we took this contract over in January,” Dutton laughed. “But we’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the candidates.” A recent performance review with the client also went well, adding another chapter to a two-decade-long success story.

Many jobs never posted publicly

As a job seeker, turning to an employment agency can dramatically increase the chances of finding work. Few people realize that as many as 10 percent of job openings are never posted publicly, said recruiting specialist Dorothy Bielawska. Not only does an agency offer greater access to those positions, but they can strengthen a candidate’s odds of being hired. From proofing and fine-tuning resumes to identifying the skills that get a foot in the door to salary negotiations, the support that Career Connections offers to their candidates is immeasurable.

The same holds true for clients. Not only is hiring the wrong person an expensive lesson — a calculator, careerconnectionsinc.com/bad-hire-calculator, on the Career Connections website shows just how pricey that mistake can be — but there’s also the risk of upsetting company morale or disrupting a well-functioning team. By turning to an agency like Career Connections, the chances of finding that perfect fit are greatly increased.

To learn more, visit careerconnectionsinc.com.