Hire Power

When it comes to recruiting and staffing, the press just can’t seem to ignore Tom Gimbel.

The founder and CEO of Chicago-based staffing firm LaSalle Network has made his share of media rounds over the summer and early fall, as hiring picks up amid improved job prospects in most industries.  

On July 2, The New York Times prominently featured Gimbel’s commentary on its report on the government’s June job numbers. And in June, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal dropped Gimbel’s pithy analysis on high potentials and lengthy recruiting processes, respectively. Inc.’s “The Playbook” video series featured Gimbel in July. The chief executive’s Twitter avatar is a screen shot of him being interviewed on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

TM_0915_Insight edited
Tom Gimbel
Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a recruiting, staffing and consulting firm based in Chicago
Chosen for Crain’s Chicago Business’ 40 Under 40 in 2009
LaSalle named as a Top Five Best Staffing Firms to Work for in America for four years in a row by Staffing Industry Analysts
Inducted to the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2010
Board of directors for Ounce of Prevention Fund, a nonprofit in Chicago that aims to improve early childhood development

Talent Management is guilty of Gimbel fever too, as his inclusion in the June issue’s “Innovate Your Interviews” shows.

The more recruiting, the more we hear from Tom Gimbel. But who is he? What trends does he foresee in staffing? And how will mobile further affect recruiting? Talent Management spoke with Gimbel on these topics and more. Edited excerpts follow.

What big trends do you see in staffing practices?

I think I’m starting to see a lot more of a remote workforce. I think there’s a happy medium. People are definitely not abandoning people working in their office, but I am seeing a lot more comfort with remote workers. We see it heavily in the technology space. We’re starting to see it in the marketing space as well, and we are seeing it at higher and higher levels.  I’m also seeing it getting to be a little bit more of an employee market where, many years out of the recession now,  employees can be a little bit more aggressive with their salary expectations.

Which of these fads do you think will stick?

I think the open workforce is something that’s going to be here for a while. I think they’re less expensive to build out, and I think that they result in a lot of productivity.  I do not think that the flexible workforce is going to stick or as in a wide scope as it is now. What will end up happening is, you know this great economy we’re in now isn’t going to last forever. You’ll see companies want to have more control, and they’ll have more people come back into the fold.

Which industries are seeing the most growth in staffing?

Quite frankly, we’re seeing it across the board. I’m seeing it in professional services usually. I’m seeing it in distribution companies; I’m seeing it in education and retail. Fortunately, right now [with] the economy, the stock market is up, unemployment is down, the economy is in a pretty decent place domestically.

What technologies should recruiters pay attention to? Or ignore?

I really think it depends on the area of specialization and what they’re doing. I think that the majority of companies of substantial size have an applicant tracking system, or ATS.  If you’re in a company that is hiring a lot of people, you need to be very well-versed in different applicant tracking systems and what functionalities you want out of them.

How do you see mobile staffing playing out?

I think mobile trends are important. People are now having the flexibility and the desire to look for jobs all the time, meaning on the bus, on the train, in the office.

And to have the ability to utilize your smartphone, your mobile phone, your iPad, your tablet to search job sites to do that. And so when you have hourly workers — whether they’re 1099 contractors or W-2, temporary employees — the ability to have an app for people recording time and getting it approved … is very important in the staffing world.

How should staffing firms adapt to these mobile trends?

I think you have to be there. I think the good news is a lot of the applicant tracking systems that you buy are providing mobile application solutions, and so that’s a huge plus. 

I think it’s something that when a staffing firm is utilizing an ATS that it’s one of the main things they should look at is what their mobile apps are. I think in looking for jobs, it’s important that — you know, CareerBuilder and Monster and Dice and those job boards and Indeed — they have mobile apps. But is your website well-versed to be viewed on a mobile device?

What do you see for the labor market in the next five years?

For five years, it’s a long time in the future, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I don’t really see a huge bubble.

Housing seems to be under control; the stock market is up; companies have record profits. They’re doing well.

The one thing I get nervous about from a staffing perspective is the problems in the Middle East. It’s beyond my breadth of knowledge, but when there’s that much chaos going on in other parts of the world, could that have some effect domestically eventually? My guess would be yeah.

But for the next five years, you’re going to see more and more companies relying on staffing firms as the labor shortage continues. I don’t see unemployment going up, which is a good thing.