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Feature Friday: Working Remotely, and Adapting with Patience

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Elaine Priesman’s experience with BGSF and the recruiting industry has given her plenty of insight into the business and the changing industry. Her commitment to great service and building personal connections makes her a valuable resource to BG, especially in today’s environment.

Brittany Berrodin, the Marketing Specialist for the Professional Division, was able to speak with Elaine and discuss working remotely through the pandemic and its affect on BGSF as well as the staffing industry.

Take a look:

Brittany Berrodin: So, a big part of today’s world is centered around COVID, and how big of an impact that has on everything. How do you think it’s affected the sales and recruiting process for you guys? 

Elaine Priesman: Well, when we went into 2020, we were expecting this to be a banner year until things came to a screeching halt, and it’s still so hard to even imagine that something like this has pretty much shut down our country. It was very drastic and very fast-moving; we were forced to end some previously planned business. So, COVID hit us in our division and in our city, really hard. Houston is still very oil and gas-focused and the bottom fell out, so it’s really… I think we were all more resilient than we expected us to be, and we picked up the pieces because we knew what we had to do to keep things going. I think the disappointment was in hearing so many of the stories from our clients that really are still going through a lot of pain from this.

BB: Do you see it affecting the staffing industry, specifically your clients?

EP: I think that the cost-cutting measures were just really very drastic and had to happen very quickly. So, it has absolutely affected us and them. Now we also know that this is not a forever thing, and it’s going to come back, and so we’ve had some great conversations with clients, and we’ve told them “we’re ready when you’re ready, we have some interim resources available for you, and we can put people to work very quickly.” It’s given us some time to reconnect with a lot of new candidates who obviously might have been laid off or will be ready to go back to work quickly. And I will tell you, it’s been a joy to be able to connect with some people that might not have had the time available for me to have some long conversations. So, everyone is eager to have a conversation, they’re just not as quick with the changes in their budgets to quite move forward yet. But they know the good work that we’ve done, so of course, we’ll get back on track with them when the time is right.

BB: And what positives have you seen from the changes that COVID brought? 

EP: So, I will tell you one of the things that our clients that still have some open positions—obviously the business has to continue to keep going—are pretty astounded by the number of resumes that are coming in off of their own postings and off of social media. I think they’re finding the value of using somebody like us that really knows how to vet candidates and can only send the best of the very best rather than them having to go through hundreds of resumes to find one or two. So, I think that they’ve learned a lot having to do some of this sourcing and find some solutions on their own, which have not been positive. So, I think it’s given them an opportunity to see the value of our group.

BB: That’s a great way to look at that.  Do you think that BG stands out in that way? And what makes us different within the staffing industry?

EP: Well, I could speak to my own Houston group—and we are a very tenured group of people—some people will tell you in our industry is unusual to be with a company as long as most of us have been with Donovan & Watkins and BGSF. It speaks a lot to not just the good work that we do, but to the company and the company that we keep. So, culturally, we are absolutely a company that people want to come to work for. I think people do recognize the fact that there’s something that drives us and keeps us working for the same company. There’s a lot of talk about people in our industry that do move around, but we’re not that kind of company. And a lot of those conversations lead to that by saying, “We’re a really tenured group. We’ve been around a long time and we love our company, and we want to know what makes their companies a great place for them to work,” and we share the same ideas. That’s one of the things I know that stands out for our brand, in particular; our just recognition, our brand recognition, and we keep that at the forefront.

BB: Do you enjoy working from home? Do you find your work style to be impacted by it?

EP: You know, I really, I miss my team, so I do call them a lot. We make each other put cameras on so we could see each other. I really, really got into working from home. And I’m structured, I’m organized; I get up the same time every day. Putting out my shorts and T-shirt the night before, I’m still doing a lot of the things I did before because that’s how I work best. I didn’t want to take away my structure and organization that I had—getting up, getting dressed, going to the office—I do the same thing at home. I probably am working more hours now than I was before, but that’s okay. I think we all found that it was just easy to continue working longer. But we needed it because we needed the extra time to continue to try to make things happen that weren’t happening before. So yeah, I’m enjoying working from home. I really am. And I’m really enjoying having my husband working from home too. Although we worked together when we were in the advertising business; we worked together for ten years and we said, “We’ll never do that again.” But it’s worked out really well. And I kind of like the quiet time also. There’s not a lot of distractions when you’re on a call, so it’s nice.

BB: What about being virtual has changed the way you approach business? 

EP: Marketing. Marketing is more important than ever right now because it’s our lifeline to our clients. You want to be able to have something that you can continue to put out in front of them because we know they’re on their computers. They may not pick up the phone, but we know that they’re doing the same thing that we are—and they’re checking their mail more often because they think they might be getting something from their bosses—and so I think marketing right now is really, really important.

BB: Finally, do you have any advice for recruiters or maybe candidates, whichever you would prefer, during COVID?

EP: Yeah, I think that this is not a complicated business, but it can be challenging. Nobody wants to be patient when they’re in sales. Nobody wants to be patient when they’re in recruiting. And I think that’s the hardest thing for anyone new coming in, to almost any job, but especially I think in what we do, is to just be patient. The more you give, the more you’re going to get. But I think we all want just immediate satisfaction in everything. We want an immediate vaccination so that we can all go back to being normal. We just want things to happen so quickly, but we just need to be patient and know that we’ll get there. The one thing I would add would be that in this stage of my life and having been in recruiting and staffing for a long time, I can’t imagine having this job with any other company. I think that’s honestly the reason why I’ve stayed as long as I have and don’t have any intentions of leaving. But I can’t imagine doing this job with any other company. And it’s kind of one of those things that nobody would believe you if you told them really who we are and what we stand for. I keep up with our competition and I know what they’re doing out there, the cultures of their companies, and a lot of people in our industry, and unless you really work for BG, I don’t think you really get how good we are.

Elaine Priesman is a Sr. Business Development Manager & Senior Recruiter with Donovan and Watkins, having joined the firm in 2006 and resides in Houston, Texas.  With over 15+ years in recruiting and business development, Elaine specializes in the areas of Accounting, Finance, HR & Legal.  Elaine has successfully built a network of notable clients and candidates and continues to meet personal and company goals achieving Diamond Club Award status each year. She has worked with individuals and industry leaders within the financial services, manufacturing, insurance, oil & gas, non-profit, and many service-related industries. Prior to her success in the employment industry, Elaine previously held the position of Regional Director/Vice-President of Money Mailer Marketing where she established and directed the marketing/sales of a direct mail and internet marketing service company. She was responsible for all start-up operations for the SE Texas region, including direct sales, marketing, and administration of all sales activities. Elaine was consistently ranked in the top 10% in sales as part of a national team of over 400 franchisees. Elaine is an active member of many charitable and professional organizations and is an Alumni of the University of Oklahoma…Boomer Sooner!

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