Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from those who have made our company a great place to work and a premier provider of talent solutions.
This post features Richard Deosingh, district president at Robert Half, who oversees our accounting and finance, administrative, healthcare, and management resources groups in the New York City area. Richard, who is a graduate of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York City, joined Robert Half in 2000 as a talent manager in our company’s midtown Manhattan office.
Taking a job with our organization was an unexpected move for Richard — and it all started with an ad for a chief financial officer (CFO) role that he saw in The New York Times. Richard explains, “I was working as a controller at the time, and I wanted to take the next step in my career. So, on a Monday morning, I faxed my resume and cover letter in response to the ad. And by Monday evening, I had a message on my answering machine from a Robert Half recruiter.”
Richard says that after meeting with Robert Half team members, including senior leaders, in the midtown Manhattan office, he realized his next career step would be a sharp turn in an entirely new direction. “Thankfully, they convinced me to come on board!” says Richard. “One individual even went so far as to say, ‘If you don’t like it here, I’ll place you somewhere else myself.’ Obviously, I never had to take them up on that offer!”
Here’s what else Richard had to say during our interview, which covered everything from the state of the hiring market to the merits of putting hot sauce on everything.
How would you describe the job market right now?
I’ll use one word: extraordinary. There’s extraordinary demand for skilled talent — and extraordinary demand for Robert Half’s services. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the last 22 years.
What makes this market extraordinary is the high level of turnover. Turnover is always there, of course, but the pandemic has amplified it. Professionals are reevaluating their work situation and deciding they want to make a change. In many cases, that includes finding an opportunity where they can work remotely and earn a higher salary.
Many in-demand candidates find they have multiple offers to weigh, which is why we’re encouraging employers to move as quickly as possible to make offers to promising candidates. And they also need to be prepared to hire individuals who may not be their top picks, because there’s a strong chance that they won’t secure their top choice. That’s just how things are right now. Employers need to be both speedy and flexible.
What if an employer isn’t prepared to offer remote or hybrid work arrangements for the long term, or at all? What are they doing to entice top talent to join their organization?
They’re increasing compensation significantly. In fact, we’ve seen some companies increase their offers by as much as 40% to secure in-demand talent who will work on-site.
What types of skills are most employers seeking in new hires?
I’d say that most companies are looking for candidates who have the “Triple A” of soft skills: Adaptability — the ability to pivot quickly and adapt to changing workplace needs; Attitude — the ability to be flexible and engaged and maintain a positive outlook; and Aptitude — the ability to learn and expand skill sets.
Communication skills are also highly valued, of course, especially in hybrid or remote work environments. Self-discipline is also critical to success in these workplaces. And being well-versed in the latest technology platforms for communication and collaboration is definitely a plus — even expected.
What do you think will be some of the pandemic’s lasting impacts on the workplace?
I believe hybrid work is here to stay. Many companies never thought it was possible to be productive if their employees weren’t working in the office. But most questions about remote work have been answered in the last 20-plus months. The next move for many companies will be the continuation of heavy investment in technology to keep people connected, engaged and productive.
How else do you see the workplace evolving over the next several years?
I think we’re going to see even greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, which is a good thing. Most leading companies were headed this way well before the pandemic. They were focusing more on investing in under-represented groups, geographies and communities from a recruitment perspective. And now we see them accelerating those efforts.
Also, many companies are now giving a lot more thought to how they should develop their employees professionally. All companies should foster a work environment where everyone is compensated fairly and has an opportunity to grow, of course. These things are vital to promoting employee engagement and retention. However, companies need to make sure they’re reaching out to all their employees, encouraging them all to pursue professional growth.
There will always be one group of employees in an organization who move fast to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. But there are also more passive employees who need encouragement and support to do the same, otherwise there’s a risk they’ll keep hanging back and waiting. By actively recruiting every employee for professional development, you avoid the risk of overlooking anyone — including future leaders for your organization.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
I enjoy completely disconnecting from work when I can. When I’m at work, I’m 100% focused on my job. But before the pandemic, I didn’t apply the same focus to my free time, or even take the time to disconnect when I should have. So perhaps my ability to do that now is a silver lining for me, personally.
There are so many things I like to do in my free time — play soccer, watch TV, eat hot sauce! Oh — and let me give hot sauce an extra plug here: Hot sauce makes everything more delicious, just FYI. And I think people who think you can’t put hot sauce on everything have it all wrong!
Also, I love to travel. My passport is my most prized possession. And my favorite place in the world to visit is Japan. I look forward to going there again. Or maybe I’ll visit Dubai first? Wherever my next trip is, I can’t wait to get on an airplane and go.
Follow Richard Deosingh on LinkedIn.
Meet other Thought Leaders at Robert Half, such as Jason Flanders and Jordan Quigley. And be sure to subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter for future installments of our Q&A series and to discover more unique stories, experiences and perspectives on the latest hiring trends.