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Ancell graduate finds solutions for job seekers
Kim Shiffman '90

In a climate where recent college graduates are often stymied by the lack of jobs, Kim Shiffman ’90 knows better than most what will improve an applicant’s prospects with a potential employer.

“When interviewing, PLEASE don’t ask about salary, benefits or vacation — it’s the number one turnoff.  Instead, ask three questions that demonstrate that you researched their company and you care about how you can make an impact,” she advised.

Shiffman is the owner of Staffing ONE Solution of Duluth, Ga., an Atlanta area search firm specializing in relationship development.  “We obtain job openings through our networks.  We fill everything from culinary, to skilled technical to C-level (top corporate executive) opportunities,” she observed.

Shiffman describes herself as a career coach, counseling job seekers on interviewing techniques, resume writing and military-to-civilian transitions into the labor market. She also helps potential employers find individuals who would make a good fit for their businesses. “Nowadays, I find myself more involved in educating individuals and motivating people not to give up on their job search,” Shiffman admitted.

Shiffman, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in management with a concentration in human resource management, chose Western to be close to her family and credits WCSU with preparing her well for her career. “One of the best skills I learned was how to perform standup class presentations.  I know now that all of those nerve-wracking moments really made me grow.  Even today, there is nothing tougher than getting in front of people to make your point.  This helped me in my career from the beginning and still does to this day,” she said.

No stranger to hard work, Shiffman finished high school in 1982 and spent the next eight years working her way through studies in the university’s Ancell School of Business, proud that she completed her Western degree in 1990 with little or no debt. She moved with her fiance to Atlanta and was hired as a sales representative by Westaff, an international company providing staffing services for temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire and on-location positions. During her nine-year tenure at the firm, she rose from sales rep to branch manager, area sales manager, area manager, area vice president, and finally regional vice president. “I left as one of the few and youngest female executives in an international company with a name so similar to the university I had left behind,” she remarked. “How ironic is that?”

She became pregnant in 1999 and for six months served Westaff in central Florida before resigning and returning to the Atlanta area to launch her first company, Creative Staffing.  She built a successful business over the following nine years before she decided to sell the firm and take some time off.

“As I have matured,” she observed, “I have learned that, now more than ever, we all need to prove ourselves through building trust, continuous self-improvement, and revisiting our personal goals to ensure our lives are in balance.”

Seeking to maintain balance in her own life, Shiffman learned how to make pottery, while remaining engaged in the local business community as a director of the John’s Creek (Ga.) Chamber of Commerce. A serious car accident led her to take stock of her career during a lengthy recovery from debilitating injuries sustained in the crash. Returning to her academic and professional roots in human resources and tapping into her competitive nature as a businesswoman, she founded Staffing ONE Solution in March 2011.

“I was fortunate enough to have my previous reputation and loyal customers remembered my name, which opened some old doors,” she said. “Many of my clients had not made it through the last two years but, when these doors shut, I opened new windows. Soon I surpassed my previous best at Creative Staffing, where I raised record revenues from a cold start. The new race is on!”

Shiffman lives with her husband of 21 years, Michael, a black belt in karate; her 12-year-old son, Noah, also a karate black belt; and two rescued male boxers.  When not mentoring job applicants, she loves to cook, decorate, read, walk and run, though she conceded she is no fan of “disciplined workouts.” Shiffman takes special pride in her artistic and sailing avocations: “I am very creative when I find the time. I have learned to captain a 46-foot Sea Ray, and I work in-studio at home where I create one-of-a-kind ceramic art.”

In a job market that requires outside-the-box thinking to be successful as a candidate, Shiffman’s drive and creativity provide an excellent role model for today’s graduates. “Do not feel entitled to anything,” she advised.  “If you have that attitude, you will be disappointed every time.  Don’t make excuses for yourself but, instead, find out how you can bring solutions to the table.”

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