Staffing: Mining the opportunities

HIBBING — Despite a long, successful history of playing matchmaker between job seekers and employers, staffing companies are among the most misunderstood industries in the modern job market.

For many the term “staffing” harkons an image of the down-on-their-luckers waiting, lunch pails in hand, in for their names to be called for their next 4-hour assignment. While day labor services do exist for those quick, temporary jobs, staffing companies are focused on the long game: hiring professional and permanent placements.

Businesses utilize staffing companies because they provide an experienced human resource team to free up their own HR department while ensuring they find the right hire. Whether it’s for a tax season accountant, truck driver or sales specialist, staffers pride themselves in being a one-stop shop. Their claim to fame is interviewing and testing applicants daily so they can provide quick staffing solutions for busy owners and hiring professionals.

Like many local businesses, staffing companies are not immune from the ebbs and flows of the mining industry. Hibbing has been home to multiple staffing companies over the years, some of whom have worked directly and indirectly with the various mines.

Today, two staffing companies are in town: Express Employment Professionals, located off the Beltline, and Always There Staffing, Inc., located at 3131 First Avenue. Always There first opened in Hibbing in August of 2011. They have four internal employees on payroll, including Shay Jackson, the sales manager who has been on the team since July 2017.

Jackson recently shared that of the 36 open job orders they are currently striving to fill, six are for companies that work with or support local mining. That’s just over 16 percent of the jobs they’re hiring for right now.

“That seems pretty typical,” Jackson explained. “Those openings are with pretty common companies that we work with on a regular basis.”

However, due to the nature of the industry, staffing companies don’t share the names of their clients (ie. businesses they hire for) with applicants until a job offer is extended. That confidentiality is one of the many perks of working with staffers — they perform all the functions of a HR team while freeing up their clients to get on with other duties without being tied down to the hassles of hiring.

Some of the mining-related positions Always There staffs include warehouse delivery workers, welders and machine operators. They also recruit professionals drafters for projects. Of those, their most popular request is finding experienced welders.

“But when the mines aren’t doing well, they [the clients] aren’t well and won't be hiring as much,” Jackson noted. “There is a direct effect on whether or not they’re hiring.”

Even in those down swings, there are many incentives for applicants who are considering using a staffing company. For one, they provide a single gateway to a variety of positions at many different local companies — some of whom don’t advertise. Job seekers also have the opportunity to “try out” short-term positions and gain new skills while working toward their permanent dream job.

“We have a lot of people who are wanting to get into the mines, so they go for positions that support the mines to help them get their foot in the door,” said Jackson, explaining it’s all about the end game. “It’s just to gain more experience in the type of work their looking for.”

If you’ve never gone through a staffing company before, it may not be the first idea that springs to mind when facing the ever-daunting job hunt, but it’s an option that is certainly worth a second look. You never know, it might help you land you that mining job you’ve been chasing.

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