May 8, 2023

Interview with Sharon Black

Sharon Black

President of Enterprise Strategic Accounts, Robert Half

What is your view on remote work in staffing?

One impact of the pandemic has been that employers feel more confident in their staff’s ability to be productive remotely. And more companies are seeing this as an opportunity to recruit candidates outside their market when struggling to staff open roles. According to a survey by Robert Half, six in 10 managers that hired new staff during the pandemic said they expanded their search geographically to access a wider candidate pool.
As remote work continues, companies will be able to hire talent anywhere, which can be helpful when looking for people with specific, high-demand skill sets. Employers can also better attract top talent by offering fully remote job opportunities.

Are you considering any technology investments this year? What technology platforms would you recommend to other staffing operators?

Our technology tools are state of the art, and we will continue to improve and expand our digital infrastructure. We’ve invested in mobile and cloud technology and have developed automated intelligence and machine learning capabilities to simplify staffing, improve employee efficiency and deliver a better customer experience.
Our commitment to digital innovation allows us to meet customers’ changing expectations and reach new audiences. We’re already seeing quantifiable benefits from these investments, such as a significant increase in customers engaging with the Robert Half mobile app and website and then wanting to work with our staffing professionals or use our online services.
That said, technology will never replace our people, who handle the most complicated aspects of the hiring process, from identifying skilled candidates and confirming their availability to interviewing, negotiating job offers and ensuring new hires achieve on-the-job success for our clients.

Do consider Online Staffing Platforms as a threat to your current business? What advice would you give to a staffing operator to stay competitive with new Online Platforms entering the staffing market?

Technology advancements — and the current business environment — have changed customer expectations and behaviors: They want 24/7 access to services. But what hasn’t changed is why companies and job seekers come to Robert Half, which is to find a great employee or career opportunity by working closely with highly skilled staffing experts.
Our research shows clients and candidates want easy-to-use digital options, but they also want to be able to access human support at any time. We have more than 10,000 dedicated staffing and recruiting professionals around the world. Online-only staffing platforms lack our geographic reach, industry expertise and personalized service.
We use online staffing platforms for candidate recruiting and consider them to be a resource versus a threat. To extend our traditional staffing options, we launched our own hiring platform, Robert Half Direct, which allows employers to peruse our vast candidate database and receive candidate recommendations based on our proprietary matching technology.
Agility is critical for any organization to succeed in today’s climate. Our company quickly evolved to meet the demands of the pandemic workforce, and we will continue to pivot to support new staffing and working models as they emerge.

What is your go to place for news and advice on new trends in the staffing market?
I draw on a range of sources, including but not limited to:

  • The Wall Street Journal for news about industry trends and current economic conditions
  • Public staffing industry publications and research
  • Insights from Protiviti, our internal audit and risk consulting subsidiary
  • Direct interactions with our clients to identify key business initiatives driving the need for talent