Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling of Mike Mathia's name.
Mike Mathia’s new company isn’t a staffing agency, but it’s all about getting and keeping people in jobs.
Mathia started Insights Career Consulting in September, after spending 18 years working in human resources for Dondlinger Construction. Insights works both sides of the employment equation – advising people on how to find employment and offering personnel consulting services to small businesses.
Mathia has rented office space in the Orpheum Theatre building and picked his decor with care. In the foyer are landscapes brimming with sunlight – representing “the light at the end of the tunnel” for job seekers, he said. A small conference room is set up with a couch and artificial fireplace – a “living room” where job seekers feel comfortable discussing their strengths and weaknesses. A large conference room for business clients is lined with blown-up photographs of Wichita – “to show we’re part of the community.”
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Improving resumes is one of the most important services Insight offers, Mathia said. Many qualified job candidates “never get any visibility because their resumes are average.”
“We make sure the resumes we produce are going to get in that 5 or 10 percent category” that get noticed, Mathia said. Insights also creates online LinkedIn profiles, which Mathia said are increasingly important in the personnel field.
Once a candidate gets an interview, Insights can help him or her prepare, providing information about employers, for instance. “Someone might say, ‘I have an interview with John Smith this Friday. What can you tell me?’ These scouting reports are somewhat unique,” Mathia said.
Rates range from $20 for building a LinkedIn profile up to $200 for a year-long “advising membership,” which Mathia compared to AAA membership for car owners.
Mathia also offers a full range of personnel services to small employers, in packages of 10 to 40 hours a month. He creates want ads, advises on workers compensation issues and does all the other things a personnel department in a larger company would do.
“A lot of these small businesses don't have this in-depth knowledge,” Mathia said.
Mathia said he originally planned to offer services only to job seekers, but decided to offer personnel services when demand for the former was softer than he hoped. Most of his competition comes from free services that are well-intended but not as effective, Mathia said.
He said he doesn’t operate as a staffing agency. But Mathia said he does use his connections about town to connect candidates and potential employers.
Mathia and Insights marketing coordinator Maddie Bazzelle are Insights’ only full-time employees, although Mathia said several HR professionals work for him on a contract basis.
Getting people in the right job is often only half the problem, Mathia said. Workplace issues can lead to demotions, terminations and litigation that damage careers for years, when better communication might have headed off the whole problem. That's where Insights’ work for an individual or company can pay off, he said.
“If someone would have taken 20 minutes or a half-hour,” he said, “it might not have come to this.”