It would seem that Sam Lambert, vice president of Mid Oregon Personnel, inherited the “entrepreneurial gene” from his parents and grandparents. All have shown a proclivity for creating and running innovative and successful businesses, a trait Sam carries forward in the competitive world of employee services.
Founded in 1984 by Sam’s father, Greg Lambert, Mid Oregon Personnel has offices in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. The company focuses on long-term placements (temp to hire), seasonal staffing, and executive search, as well as providing human resource services as a Professional Employer Organization.
Joining Mid Oregon Personnel nearly 20 years ago, Sam has steered through the high unemployment years of the Great Recession, and now must meet the challenges of today’s red hot economy, where job seekers are more in the driver’s seat.
What have you found to be particularly rewarding about the employment services industry?
We have the unique privilege of working with an incredibly diverse group of client companies in fields ranging from sawmills to solar power, medical facilities, accounting firms, engineering and legal offices. This gives us a unique perspective on problem solving. Helping a client through a tough transition or finding a solution to a challenge is really rewarding.
On the flip side, helping someone realize their potential or helping someone turn their life around is probably at the top of the list. When someone stops in just to tell you that you changed their life for the better or helped them to achieve something they didn’t think they could, it doesn’t get better than that.
You joined your father, who founded Mid Oregon Personnel, at the company nearly 20 years ago. What have you learned from him over these years?
If I had to choose one word to depict the way my father operates in business, it would be integrity. From the time I first started working with him, he has insisted that the people working for him are able to defend every action and that we all “do the right thing especially when no one is watching.” I’ve had clients tell me that the reason they work with Mid Oregon Personnel is that they know “Greg will do the right thing even if it costs him.”
If you take that same approach to managing your employees, treating them like you would your most valuable client, you will have the kind loyalty and overall company culture that would be the envy of any company.
Employment services is a highly competitive industry. What sets Mid Oregon Personnel apart from other firms and has led to its long-term success?
Mid Oregon Personnel is not just another staffing company. Our approach to hiring and our general business model is somewhat unique. The best resume rarely represents the best candidate. We take the time to interview every person who wants to be considered for a job with Mid Oregon Personnel and we take the time to learn who that applicant is and what is important to them.
I would rather tell a client company that I don’t have the right person to fill their opening than to send someone to them that I do not have confidence in. We work very hard to supply our clients with the kind of workforce they need to achieve their unique goals.
With relatively low unemployment and a growing job market in Central Oregon, how is Mid Oregon Personnel meeting the demand for employees in this challenging environment?
There are a lot of challenges facing employers today when trying to build a workforce. People do not stay as long with an employer as they have in the past. We have essentially been at full employment for a while now and that always makes recruiting a challenge. If you drag your feet, the good candidate you interviewed this morning will likely be hired by someone else within a few days. When advertising for different positions, we focus on what makes our client employer a company you would want to work for. Targeting people that are relocating to Central Oregon also has been a good source of talent.
When conducting an executive search, how much does Central Oregon’s quality of life factor into finding and attracting top candidates?
Quality of life is Central Oregon’s calling card. It is the single largest reason most of us choose to live and do business here. That combined with one of the strongest start up scenes anywhere in the country, makes Central Oregon extremely attractive for high end talent looking for that work-life balance.
What impact has technology, especially social media, had on your industry?
Technology has had a tremendous impact on our industry. From a recruiting standpoint, 20 years ago the help wanted ads in Sunday’s paper were one of our most effective recruiting tools. Today we are able to advertise for openings in real time with social media and other online resources. Reaching your target market and recruiting for specific skillsets has been completely transformed by this technology. Everything happens faster and in most cases far more efficiently. For example, not that long ago, all timecards were paper. Now our clients use our automated time keeping system utilizing geolocation and an employee’s cell phone as a time card.
What are the most important qualities that employers are looking for in employees today, beyond the basic skills to do the job?
It has long been my personal belief that within reason, skills can be taught. Personality makes the placement. If an applicant can display an aptitude for the kind of work they will be performing, flexibility, willingness to learn and put the organization first, they are going to be very highly sought after.
What advice would you give to someone who has never used an employment services company, but wants to for the first time?
We just celebrated 35 years in business at Mid Oregon Personnel. Over those years we have hired tens of thousands of employees for hundreds of employers throughout Central Oregon. It is our job to find the best possible candidate for each position our client companies ask us to fill. When you interview with one of our recruiters, you are often being considered for more positions than you may have originally applied for. Our recruiters need to understand what makes you tick and your long term goals in order to place you with a company where you will have the best possible chance of success. There are a lot of misconceptions about how the staffing industry works. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.