The Faces of Mee Derby is an initiative to share the stories of our team and their journey’s through the staffing industry from a personal and professional perspective. COVID is bringing us all together in a whole different way by connecting through technology. From our home offices to yours, we invite you over the next several weeks to get to know the Mee Derby team through this video series. It is a fun look at who we are – collectively and individually – how we got into staffing and what the staffing industry means to us. This week we are hearing from Robin Mee, our president and founder.
Why staffing? How did you end up in this industry?
Summers in college I worked for the Summer Youth Employment Program in Fairfax County, funded by the Department of Labor Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA). After graduation I was hired full time to manage the program. Our mission was to create summer jobs and put people to work – in this case 14-21 year olds from economically disadvantaged families. We recruited, developed the jobs in non-profits and governmental agencies and supported our employees in what was often a very first job. After three years I wanted to learn how to run a business and found the staffing industry, essentially transitioning from public sector staffing to private sector staffing. I learned how to recruit, sell and run a business, all things that I do today!
When did Mee Derby become a remote based company?
When I first started the company, everything was brick and mortar. There was no remote, there was no virtual, there were not computers on everyone’s desk, there wasn’t the internet. There were fax machines and we were not automated. We did eventually automate, everyone did get computers and over time we had some employees working in virtual locations. We ended up making the very strategic decision to implement Bullhorn which gave us the tools to be more remote, and add more people to our team that didn’t have to necessarily sit in the downtown DC office. Over time technology changed and empowered us to be able to go virtual so our business model changed. It was a big experiment, let’s give it a shot. That was 2011 now it’s 2020 and the company has done nothing but grow and prosper in this virtual model and today it’s one of the hallmarks of our model and our structure. You have to hire and manage to the model but I’ve got an amazing team of dedicated colleagues who work remotely which not only adds to their work-life balance, but to their overall productivity and mine included.
What are the benefits of working remotely both professionally and personally?
Instead of being on the road for an hour, I spend 45 minutes a day walking my dog in the woods where I’m getting exercise, I’m having an opportunity to breath, enjoy nature and start my day in just the right place.
Having the ability to manage my time without having a lot of distractions, the ability to, when my children were young, do whatever I needed to support them and to build and run my business and be a successful professional. As an example, when my oldest son was in college, he said to me at no time in his growing up did he ever feel like he and his brother weren’t the highest priority.
How does Mee Derby impact the staffing industry?
Over 31 years, we have helped over 2,500 people find jobs new in the staffing industry. For the most part these are people who have staffing industry experience but we’re really helping them elevate in their careers.
[Beyond Mee Derby], collectively, the staffing industry puts the world to work because it’s not just in America, it’s a global industry. [A Job] it’s one of the most important things that a person has in their lives, their family, their work, their faith, it’s really right there in helping to build families, communities and prosperity across the globe. We are the jobs people.
Why should someone work with a recruiter in their job search?
I think that we provide that kind of support that everybody needs when they are looking for a job. It’s one of those things that can’t be automated. Even the kind of support that I’m giving to somebody who is even just starting to think about a job search. I believe there are inflection points in people’s career and when that happens, when there is a reason to consider a new opportunity, having a recruiter to be a soundboard, to look at a resume, to give advice is a wonderful thing.
We have access to jobs that other people don’t, so if you’re looking for a job in the staffing industry. If you come to us, Mee Derby is going to have a plethora of opportunities in companies all across the United States, over every different vertical of staffing, from startups to some of the largest staffing companies in the world. We are going to open up opportunities, we are going to support and we are going to advise. If we aren’t the right search firm then we will try to refer them to another resource that will be able to support them.
What are your three favorite aspects of working for Mee Derby?
The industry that we work in is the number one thing, I love and am passionate about the staffing industry.
The second thing is I love running a small business. It’s super fun and super exciting. We’ve built a reputable organization, we’ve got a lot of brand equity, people know that we do executive search for the staffing industry so they contact us.
This team is extraordinary, 80% of the searches that we do are collaborative so we are always working together all of the time. We’re on the phone, we are on the computer,on video and we all have the same goal of helping companies hire the best talent and helping these candidates find the best work.
How do you stand out as a recruiter?
I listen well and ask good questions. I create a safe space for people to talk, safe meaning confidential. Every conversation we have is very confidential so we have to be very thoughtful in how we communicate. And my staffing industry subject matter expertise.
President & Founder