West Michiganders who suddenly find themselves back into job-hunting mode due to COVID-19 downsizing now have a new ally in a program created by Arrow Staffing.
The Kentwood branch of long-term staffing firm Arrow Staffing said March 23 it is now offering West Michigan residents free resume building, mock interviews and job skills training.
Many Michigan residents have unexpectedly returned to the job search over the past year due to the economic fallout of COVID-19. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Michigan in April 2020 hit 22.7%, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget — the highest rate since at least 1976 (as far back as comparable estimates go), likely making it an all-time high, the department said.
While the unemployment rate has since lowered to 5.7%, state officials attribute the decrease to a reduction in the size of the workforce rather than a significant increase in new job openings, Arrow Staffing noted.
Arrow Staffing’s roots date to 1972, when Redlands Employment was launched servicing the community of Redlands, California. In 1992, the Thalmayer family purchased the personnel firm and renamed it Arrow Staffing to reflect the company’s service expansion beyond Redlands (including Riverside, Ontario, and the surrounding Inland Empire communities). In 2019, Calvin University graduates Matt and Jeff Thalmayer returned to West Michigan and opened a new location in Kentwood.
The Kentwood branch of late has noticed new trends within the workforce coinciding with COVID-19. The staffing agency was inspired to create a free job skills program due to an uptick in resume errors and interview faux pas.
“We’ve had applicants show up to Zoom interviews with wet hair and a bathrobe on. On a less extreme end, we have many candidates with spelling errors on their resumes or low typing speeds,” said Julie Ward, regional director at Arrow Staffing.
Resume errors and Zoom etiquette might seem like minor issues to some, but those little mistakes can determine if a candidate makes it to the interview, Ward said. A study by CareerBuilder reflected the importance of a well-written resume, with 77% of hiring managers identifying typos or bad grammar as an instant deal-breaker.
Interview skills also play a significant role in hiring decisions, according to Arrow Staffing. While job-specific skills and credentials remain important, soft skills have become the deciding factor for many companies. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found 97% of employers said soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills.
“Candidates who have spent decades in one job or in one field often struggle in the interview process. Even though they have all the experience and skills employers are looking for, they don’t know how to convey that information,” Ward said.
Arrow Staffing’s recruiters are offering free resume and cover letter reviews, as well as mock interviews, to any interested job seekers in West Michigan.
Additionally, the company has created a program for those looking to change job fields.
Industries such as hospitality and food service have experienced a disproportionate decline, making it a challenge for workers in those sectors to find equivalent work. Others have purposefully left those industries, hoping to find remote employment in other industries.
“We’ve had an influx of candidates looking for clerical or administrative positions. Foodservice and retail candidates can really excel at this type of work due to their task management and customer relation experience. Unfortunately, there is a barrier to entry when it comes to typing and software skills,” Ward said.
Arrow Staffing offers a professional typing training program, as well as a Microsoft Office training program for job seekers looking to transition to clerical work. Candidates are not required to seek work through Arrow to access these programs.
“Because the company is new in Grand Rapids, not many people are aware of our reputation. We wanted to offer our resources to show the commitment we have to improving people’s lives through job opportunities,” said owner Jeff Thalmayer.
Applicants interested in job opportunities with Arrow Staffing can apply online at arrowstaffing.com or call (616) 600-0625 for more information.
Arrow Staffing also is looking to build relationships with employers that need employees with the skills obtained through training. Interested employers can contact Spencer Thalmayer at email@example.com to learn more about the skilled employee program.