Patricia Preston

When Patricia Preston, Branch Manager of The Lee Group’s Richmond, Virginia office, thinks about her best day ever, she thinks about the young man who came by to see her with a pawn ticket. The day he met her looking for a job, he had pawned the last item he had just to buy food. Patricia placed him in a job that gave him a new start, a new beginning, and he wanted her to know the impact of what she did.

Patricia takes that story with her each day on the job, helping companies find good talent and helping people find good jobs.

Get to know more about Patricia here!

What was your first job?

I started my first job when I was 13-years-old. I worked as a waitress after school and on weekends.

What is the best job advice you ever received?

No matter what the task, do it right the first time. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

What is the best job advice you ever gave?

If you are unhappy in your job—be fair to yourself and your employer—and find something else. If you are unhappy—chances are you are not giving your job your best work.

What motivated you to go into the staffing field?

I kind of fell in to it by accident. I had an appointment with a staffing service to interview for an admin job with their client. I ended up working for them internally.

What are the biggest challenges out there for people searching for jobs today?

The biggest complaint I hear about searching for jobs today is how long the process is. It can take up to an hour to fill out one application and if you are actively searching…that is just the beginning. It can be frustrating for the person looking and we should all be looking for ways to mainstream our processes to make sure we aren’t losing great candidates to it.

What are the biggest challenges out there for companies looking to hire great team members today?

I think the labor shortage is felt by everyone these days. Employers are finding themselves having to come up with new and inventive ways to keep their talent in house.

Can you recall a time where you saw the real impact a job, or having the right person working for a company, made in someone’s life?

The biggest impact I have seen personally was when a young man I had placed came back to see me a year or so after I made his placement. He came in to my office and gave me a pawn ticket. He told me that when he came in to be placed…he had pawned the last item that he had to buy food. He was living in a hotel with his family and didn’t have anything left. He wanted me to have that ticket, because he wanted me to know the impact of me placing him in his job. He had been hired full time, been promoted, had a car and a new home. It was my best day—ever.

What trends do you see in today’s job search and hiring world?

On the hiring side…we are finding it more difficult than ever to find qualified candidates that meet the skillset needed for the skilled positions that we have open. We are seeing less and less high schools offering classes that would encourage kids to go into professions such as boilermaker, mechanic, construction or the like. We need these professions as well as the ‘white collar’ professions.

When you aren’t helping companies find qualified people or helping people find good jobs, what do you do for fun?

I like to travel. I love seeing and experiencing other cultures. I cruise on a regular basis, but also like day trips closer to home.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

Henry Ford said something to the effect of ‘whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t…you are probably right.’ I believe this 100 percent.

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