Jessica Martin was looking for a career change, but little did she know what she was getting herself into. “I had worked for the Ontario Government in Gaming at the Point Edward Charity Casino previously, and I was ready for a move.” Jessica says. So, when Jessica was offered a position with Express Employment Professionals (EEP) in 2018, she made the leap.

Suddenly, Jessica was in a whole new world – one she has grown to love. “I had never worked in staffing before,” Jessica says. “I have experience in management, so I had managed staff in the past and had been involved in the hiring process, but really, the staffing industry was brand new for me. I thought I was going to be an individual and not a people manager anymore, and that was completely wrong. You are still managing people; you just aren’t with them every day to see what is happening.”

Jessica is the operations manager and part owner as well as a producer at Express Employment Professionals, serving Sarnia Lambton and surrounding areas for all of their staffing needs. “We have contract, evaluation hire and what we call professional or direct hire,” Jessica says. “We can help any size company with their search for their next hire, finding that perfect fit.” If that sounds like a risky proposition – providing the ‘perfect fit’ to a company in need – Jessica says it is not. “If you are doing it right, it shouldn’t be risky,” Jessica insists. “We go through an extensive screening process before the worker goes out. It shouldn’t be a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-they-fit scenario.”

Like so many businesses, EEP was directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “It has been a roller coaster,” Jessica says. “In 2018 we were heavy in candidates and there weren’t as many opportunities for them.” Fast forward to 2020 with COVID and a lot of businesses were shutting down, so there was a slow six-month period. Suddenly, EEP was seeing a real lack of candidates in the market and with businesses trying to get back on their feet finding themselves with not enough of a workforce. 

“This just started to cool off in the summer of this year.” Despite the challenges, Jessica says her work is very rewarding. “One time I was recruiting for a startup company that needed 25 full time employees who would receive benefits, paid vacation, extended health care and RRSP matching,” Jessica says. “Those 25 candidates had a significant other and one or two children, so I was affecting upwards of 100 people. Who doesn’t love that!”

Jessica has ultimately achieved a real level of comfort in her position. “I really wanted to be rooted to my community and I wanted whatever I did to have some sort of impact on the community and the people around me,” Jessica says. “That was important even before I thought about ownership. I wanted to be sure I was making a difference and that I had a purpose. All of us on the EEP management team have that now.”