Leader in supplemental staffing says business is approaching pre-recession levels

John Rumery

"It's been a drastic uptick in hiring versus last year," says Keith Langbo, divisional president of the Grand Rapids, Boston and Chicago offices of local supplemental staffing firm Otterbase.

Langbo states that for their clients in West Michigan, they are "placing around 10 new temporary and temporary-per-hire, per week." The positions are predominantly professional: web designers and architects, engineers and information technology and executive assistants, for example.

To keep up with this growth, Otterbase also recently hired two professional recruiters in West Michigan, following two in the Detroit area. This is a "really busy time " for us, states Langbo, who says that their "business has been growing rapidly for the last six months, and is approaching the levels of 2007-2008 before the economy began receding."

Langbo explains that they prefer to source West Michigan people for West Michigan companies, but finding "high tech talent" has been difficult and the company has been forced to pull people from outside the region.

For individuals looking to fill these employment needs, Langbo suggests step one is to analyze your business experience, skill sets, industry, geographic market and financial position.  "For example, if they're in technology, I would urge them to focus their training on .NET and/or Java," he states. If they're in general business, Langbo suggests additional education, such as an MBA.

For individuals in the 40-60 age group who are looking for employment, Langbo says they "should be willing to consider more entry-level jobs with companies to get their foot in the door and prove their worth and value. Once they've got their foot in the door, assuming they are performing well, they will quickly climb up the 'corporate ladder' in whatever industry they choose to engage in."

Otterbase's core business is to help organizations staff the right candidates for the position.  They provide several employment options including "temporary-to-hire," which is a "flexible employment scenario" that can "help both employers and employees protect against changes in the economy and, to some extent, make sure there is a fit, culturally, for both parties."

For more information about Otterbase, visit their website.

Source: Interview with Keith Langbo

John Rumery is the Innovation and Jobs Editor for Rapid Growth Media. He is an educator, board member of AimWest, WYCE music programmer, entrepreneur, raconteur and competitive barbecuer living in Grand Rapids, MI.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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