Job seekers who enter the office of Keystone Staffing, located on Broad Street in Montoursville, on a given day are sure to be greeted with a buzz of activity. With hopeful job seekers filling out applications, undergoing orientation or watching training videos and staffers conducting pre-employment interviews and holding discussions with employers, it's a busy time for the independent staffing agency, which broke from its franchise in 1995.
Owner and President Mike Roberts said the company opened as a branch of Russoli Temps in 1988.
"I bought it in 1990," he said. "It was struggling at the time."
In 1995, the owner of the Russoli franchise wanted to cut back, and franchise owners were given the option of becoming independent; thus, Keystone Staffing was born. While the office lost the support of a network, it gained flexibility.
"We could concentrate on areas that we were strong in," Roberts said, adding, "The majority of franchises have remained in business relationships with each other. Many of us still meet monthly to review procedure and collaborate."
"It provides a sense of what's happening in other regions," added company Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Tom Ruhl.
Roberts said Keystone Staffing's strength lies in the strong human resources background of its employees.
"I think our approach is somewhat different from a typical temporary employment service," he said. "We staff our jobs as if we are supplementing a company's HR department."
"We look at it philosophically as a true partnership with the client," Ruhl added.
On the job seeker's side, Ruhl said the company focuses on staffing, not just temporary employment. Requests are received for direct placement, one-day assignments "and everything in between." A variety of employment opportunities are available for workers.
"A large part of what we do are temp-to-hire jobs," Ruhl said. "It's a win-win for all parties, basically."
Companies can test out employees before making a commitment, and if they decide not to permanently hire the employee, then the temp position can end at any time.
"The positive side of that (for the employees) is... we'll look for something else for that employee," Ruhl said.
The goal of Keystone Staffing is to match the perfect worker to each position that opens up at a client company.
When a position opens up, Keystone Staffing workers will search their database and sometimes work with CareerLink to find potential matches.
"We attempt to find the best-qualified individual that we feel we have," Ruhl said.
While some companies tend to be more hands-on in the hiring process, others leave everything up to Keystone Staffing.
"We customize our approach with every client," Ruhl said.
Some companies describe the position and let Keystone Staffing make the hire, with others request a stack of the five-to-ten best applicants to interview. It all relies on a "relationship of trust," Ruhl said.
As the company works to find the best worker for a position, it is also helping job seekers prepare for interviews and employment. Job seekers who register with Keystone Staffing undergo an extensive orientation process to make sure all the basics are covered, such as attendance and punctuality, safety and appropriate work behavior.
"New employees need to know what our expectations of them are, so we spend a lot of time on orientation," Ruhl said.
Getting to know both clients and job seekers is key to matching the right worker to the right job.
"We feel an obligation to the client, but also to our employees, to make good matches," Roberts said.