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Recruiting up as jobs open

Companies are seeking out potential employees as jobless rate decreases

Posted: June 24, 2013 11:42 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2013 11:42 a.m.
John Mabritto, left, of Canyon Country, meets with Hasan Sledge of AT&T at the Job & Career Fair at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus recently.  John Mabritto, left, of Canyon Country, meets with Hasan Sledge of AT&T at the Job & Career Fair at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus recently. 
John Mabritto, left, of Canyon Country, meets with Hasan Sledge of AT&T at the Job & Career Fair at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus recently. 

As the jobless rate continues to trend downward, Santa Clarita recruitment experts say they have definitely noted an increased number of hiring requests, and in a few cases, prospective candidates have some leverage they haven’t had in several years.

Recruiting efforts in the last nine months are literally back up at the 2005 through 2007 recruiting levels, said Gary Saenger, founder and president of executive search firm Saenger Associates.

About 40 percent of the Santa Clarita firm’s practice involves filling positions in supply chain and manufacturing, Saenger said.

Saenger Associates finds many of its clients are doing succession planning, hiring and replacing B- and C-level managers with folks that can do a better job than those currently filling the positions, he said.

And, recruitment activity in the nonprofit sector has picked up too, Saenger said.

Like for-profit companies, the nonprofits are also looking for executives who are better equipped to raise money, he said.

Also, a lot of hiring has not been new growth so much as firms looking to fill positions that reduce their company’s risks or losses, said James Grayem, director of operations for Canon Recruiting Group in Santa Clarita.

“A lot of the positions have been geared toward stemming the bleeding,” Grayem said.

While recruiting plateaued between 2008 and 2010, Canon Recruiting Group has seen an increased level of activity in 2013.

Challenges with filling these positions, Grayem said, include recruiting candidates who are not as willing to leave their current positions in this economy, or recruiting for positions in professional categories where unemployment has been lower — in the 3 to 4 percent range, he said.

On the other hand, there are also companies recruiting for open positions that typically pay $160,000 to $180,000, but they’re only offering $120,000, Grayem said.

Also, Canon Recruiting Group said they will still receive some 200 responses for a CEO position — and not every candidate qualifies or meets the requirements of the hiring company, he said.

“Clients are being very picky about what they want in a candidate’s background,” Saenger said. “Some won’t consider candidates without degrees from prestigious schools, which eliminates 90 percent of the candidates right off the top.”

In other instances, some companies reject candidates who have the right skill set, but lack the soft skills or don’t make a good cultural fit, Grayem said.

One twist, however, has surfaced in the recruiting scene, he said.

“For some positions, the employee has the leverage now,” Grayem said. “Especially in the banking and mortgage risk mitigation positions. A few years ago companies made flat offers. Today, many candidates (for temporary positions) are insisting on incentives or health benefits before accepting offers.”

Both Saenger Associates and Canon Recruiting work with some major statewide and national accounts, however, the city’s WorkSource Center has also seen an increase in requests from local companies to fill jobs.

Requests to fill jobs have definitely picked up since January, said Keri Aaver, director of the local center.

“We get 30 to 50 job leads a week,” Aaver said. “The biggest growth area is in entry-level, skilled positions — like accounting, human resources or manufacturing.”

The WorkSource Center isn’t seeing many requests to fill unskilled labor positions, she said.

It is, however, also seeing growing numbers in both job openings and job applicants in mid to high-level management positions, Aaver said.

“Santa Clarita has a strong and growing employer base as well as a large pool of candidates,” she said.
One local trend remains the same, however, Grayem said.

“As as soon as upper management positions open up locally, Santa Clarita has such a great labor pool to draw from,” he said. “They’re even willing to sacrifice a little bit of salary in order to work locally.”



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