Sheehan, JJean Sheehan
Manager of Talent Acquisition

Rochester may be known for technical science and higher education, but did you know that it is also home to a nationally and locally ranked collections agency?

In 2013, Continental Service Group, Inc. (d/b/a:  ConServe), was ranked by the Rochester Business Alliance as one of Rochester’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Motivated by this growth and a mutual commitment to our community, ConServe connected with RochesterWorks for workforce assistance. From sharing job postings to attending job fairs and Recruiting Round Rochester, the services available through the RochesterWorks Business Services team has enabled ConServe to continue to invest in our community by investing in our workforce.

Hiring: An Inside Look

ConServe’s growth and commitment to employee success and development is largely a reflection of their commitment to hiring career-minded individuals. In an interview with Jean Sheehan, Manager of Talent Acquisition at the ConServe office in Rochester, NY, we learned how the RochesterWorks Business Services team eased the hiring process, while providing opportunities to match the right job seekers with the right opportunities.

Over the past four and a half years, Jean has seen ConServe’s staff grow from approximately 250 to over 500 employees. In 2013, a RochesterWorks referral helped to place nine candidates into open positions at ConServe. Jean’s experience with the Business Services team provides insight into the hiring process as businesses and job seekers struggle to connect.

Keep reading for the full interview with Jean Sheehan, Manager of Talent Acquisition, to learn how ConServe connects to job seekers through the Business Services team at RochesterWorks.


About ConServe

Continental Service Group, Inc. (d/b/a:  ConServe), founded in 1985, provides nationwide accounts receivable management services in higher education, government, and commercial markets from their offices in Rochester and Buffalo, NY. Through their dedication to serving Client and Vendor needs, ConServe demonstrates their commitment to our community by training their employees and participating in the local community.

ConServe’s commitment to our local workforce is clearly evidenced by the national and local recognition that they have received. As one of thirty-five Best Places to Work in Collections 2013 award winners, one of INC5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and ten out of eleven years of recognition as one of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Rochester, ConServe continues to maintain their commitment to employee development and community involvement.

Through ConServe University®, a free industry training program connecting Clients and employees to industry expertise, ConServe demonstrates this commitment. New employees at ConServe participate in full-time training programs for up to the first ten weeks of their employment. Debt Counselors, for example, participate in a two-week training program at ConServe University®, followed by training known as the “nesting period.” This “nesting period” is designed to assist new employees as they learn the specifics of the clients and systems within their department. ConServe also provides free certification from the Associate of Credit and Collections Professionals for employees interested in further training. By incorporating both internal and external programs, ConServe motivates their employees while developing each individual according to their training and career goals.

 ConServe demonstrates their commitment to the community through training and hiring, as well as through community involvement. Their employees have generously contributed more than $150,000 and more than 750 volunteer hours to a diverse group of non-profit organizations in their local communities. In September, for example, ConServe hosted a blood drive where employees donated enough blood to save over 192 lives in local hospitals. ConServe also sponsors the Adopt a Highway program through employee clean up sessions and organizes internal donation drives for organizations such as Gilda’s Club and Autism Speaks.

Interview with Jean Sheehan

Q: Describe your company’s role in the community.
A: In the Rochester and Buffalo communities we have found high quality applicants and a willing workforce, which has contributed to our growth. The collections industry, while more prevalent in Buffalo, also succeeds here in Rochester because of the quality of applicants and their commitment to training. ConServe offers unique positions because our employees have a role that involves customer service in the higher education and financial industries.

Aside from hiring and training, our management team, employees, and their families participate in community service projects throughout the year. We believe it is a good thing to be involved in giving back and making “contribution” of time and monetary in-kind donations to our community. Our Jeans for Charity program also provides our employees with the opportunity to enjoy dressing down while making a difference in our Community. 

We also believe that giving back leads to a better, well-rounded life.  Our team members and employees are the key stakeholders in our value proposition to our Clients.  Our employees create ConServe by what we do every day. Good corporate citizenship is at the core of our company’s mission statement: “ConServe is dedicated to satisfying the needs of Clients while improving the human condition, fostering the development of successful, long-term relationships with Clients, employees, Vendors and the Community as a whole.”

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you face in finding the right employees for your company?
A: The biggest challenge that we face is securing quality candidates quickly to fill our ongoing call center positions with career minded, sharp individuals. We provide intensive training for all of our employees, so we stress the need for overall soft skills, general aptitude, and motivation for every hiring decision.

Q: How did you find out about RochesterWorks?
A: I’ve known about RochesterWorks from my past recruitment experience, and in my current role, we are constantly hiring and sharing available jobs with RochesterWorks. Rochester is our company headquarters, so the opportunities in this area are consistently growing.

Q: How did RochesterWorks help you?
A: Job posting services, recruiting events like Recruiting Round Rochester, and other local job fairs, have helped us to connect with the quality candidates that we need. Getting involved in Recruiting Round Rochester, for example, has provided us with the opportunity to meet job seekers in a small job fair environment. The process is easy—from getting involved to interviewing those that attend. One applicant needed to apply online and another to complete an online assessment as part of the hiring process.  They were able to use the computers available in the Resource Room at the Career Center to finalize their application and complete the assessment all in one sitting.

Q: Have our services saved you time and resources while easing some of the stress of the hiring process?
A: Absolutely! In 2013 we have already hired nine quality candidates that were referred by RochesterWorks. This is a tremendous assistance to us. The process is reasonable, simple, and free—without a lot of red tape.

Q: Where do you share information about your job postings?
A: On a monthly basis we share our current, active job postings with RochesterWorks. We sourced nine of our 2013 hires from RochesterWorks through job postings, attending their main Job Fairs and Recruiting Round Rochester events. We also share information about our openings on job search sites, through our company social media accounts (LinkedIn and Twitter), with local agencies, and through hard copy advertisements in the Democrat and Chronicle and Western NY Jobs. The majority of our postings are shared online, but we do try to take advantage of other methods to share information about our openings.

Q: What advice do you have for local businesses considering getting involved with programs available at RochesterWorks?
A: I highly recommend fellow employers to utilize RochesterWorks to assist with the sourcing of candidates. The services they offer to prepare and assist candidates to get back to work are practical and helpful. They are able to connect the right people with the right opportunities.

Q: What RochesterWorks Services would you recommend for other local businesses?
A: Take advantage of Recruiting Round Rochester and other RochesterWorks Job Fairs including the 5 Steps Job Fair. I also recommend sharing job postings with RochesterWorks through their website. It is free and easy.

Q: As an employer, what advice do you have for job seekers?
A: When submitting your resume for a job review the job requirements listed in the posting and gear your resume to reflect those requirements (without exaggerating your skills and experience). When interviewing, do your best to understand the job and the soft skills required and gear your answers to those required by the position. Take the time to research the company and ask questions about the job at the interview.

Q: Do you have any other comments about your experience with RochesterWorks!?
A: The staff at RochesterWorks responds quickly to requests and provides fabulous customer support. It is apparent from my interactions with the staff at RochesterWorks over the years that they care and work hard for the people they are assisting, the Community, and the Employers.

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