Bear Staffing’s inventive recruiting model is getting results

While some industrial firms allow for any person to walk in from the street to apply for a job, Bear Staffing has a different recruiting model.

The company follows an “inverted recruiting model.” Potential candidates take a workplace productivity profile before coming into the office, to enable the company to weed out less committed individuals and focus only on workers who are a match for its client companies’ needs.

Bear Staffing COO Gary Johnson recalls past experiences in the staffing industry with offices full of people filling out applications — people who were unlikely to fit with client company needs.

“Why are we wasting their time if they don’t have the skills and abilities we are looking for?” Johnson asks. “We really need to be the ones initiating the calls to people.”

Making sure people are a likely match saves time for both the workers and staffing firms. Another potential risk from taking applications from workers who don’t meet clients’ needs: By being in a database, there’s a risk these workers could be sent to client sites — making for less satisfied clients.

The company sticks toward manufacturing jobs rather than industrial jobs such as “picker packer” jobs where there is a large amount of human touch, Johnson says. Instead, Bear Staffing focuses on jobs such as machine operators, mechanical or electronic assembly, and machinists. Those jobs also pay a little more because they involve semiskilled workers.

Bear Staffing’s average pay rate is close to $15 an hour. Johnson first joined the staffing industry in 1998 at Snelling Temporaries in Tustin, Calif. However, he started Bear Staffing in 2005 with his wife, Sherrie, after working at TransForce, a staffing firm that provides commercial truck drivers. He didn’t go head-tohead with his old employer, and instead focused on a niche in the clerical and industrial industry.

Bear Staffing is based in Woodbury, NJ. But recruiters have the ability to work anywhere in the US. “We tend to try to grow around our clients,” Johnson says. “People have liked what we do in one area and have asked us to go to another area.” However, recruiters working on an account will work for the same client company regardless of location — aiming to give the client a consistent experience and allow internal workers to develop a deep understanding of the client’s needs.

The company’s approach appears to have results; it also ranks on the list of fastest-growing US staffing firms.

“The one thing that we’re good at is we don’t just think outside the box, we don’t own a box,” Johnson says.

“We don’t limit ourselves by traditional thinking at all.”