This article originally appeared on Forbes on May 3, 2022.
The U.S. labor market has undergone a rapid transformation—one that continues against a backdrop of geopolitical, inflationary and public health uncertainties. With 11.3 million job openings and a way of work that is unrecognizable from the pre-pandemic workplace, many businesses have turned to recruiting firms to compete for talent.
Forbes’ annual lists of America’s Best Executive and Professional Recruiting Firms, and America’s Best Temp Staffing Firms, feature companies helping employers do just that. To determine the lists, market research company Statista surveyed over 31,000 recruiters and 6,900 job candidates and human resources managers who had worked with recruitment agencies within the last three years. A total of 366 firms made the final lists.
At the onset of the pandemic, the staffing sector slumped along with the job market. Since then, though, demand has surged, and Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association, the trade association representing the industry, says recruiters have been laser-focused on getting people back to work.
“When people were returning to work and restructuring the where and the how of work, the industry was called upon to help build back talent benches,” says Wahlquist.
But rebuilding the U.S. workforce hasn’t been as simple as pressing play after a pause, he says. Many of those returning to work are doing so amid a new normal, while others are changing course and embracing new career paths. And after working from home for more than two years, some aren’t ready to return to the office—and are willing to change employers to avoid having to do so.
“We have seen a sea change in how workers view the world of work, and as a result, how organizations are viewing talent,” Wahlquist says. “There aren’t a lot of playbooks because we simply haven’t had a global pandemic in any of our lifetimes.”
At Robert Half, keeping the playbook fresh is top of mind for its senior executive director, Paul McDonald. With a history that spans three quarters of a century and a full-time payroll that exceeds 14,000, the Menlo Park-based firm—which earned the No. 1 spot on each of our three lists—is one of the biggest players in the recruiting game. McDonald, who has been with the firm for half its history, says technology, a medium in which change is the only constant, has been critical to keeping pace.
“We have invested heavily and continue to invest heavily in technology,” says McDonald, a contributor to Forbes. “We got on the train early, and thank goodness we did.”
As M. Keith Waddell, Robert Half’s vice chairman, president and CEO, shared during the company’s latest earnings call, AI powered recruiting technology has helped the firm more efficiently compare a client’s requirements with candidate profiles. Candidates determined to be a fit are automatically invited to apply to the position.
“It’s very effective—even in this tight labor market—in getting them to apply to our jobs,” Waddell said before teasing the release of a new feature that will predict candidates’ responsiveness based on their job-search activity. “In this market, the candidate side is everything.”
Addison Group was named on Top 200 list of America’s Best Professional and Specialist Search Firms and America’s Best Temporary Staffing Firms. Continue reading this article on Forbes for full list of view their Top 200 list of America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms.