The Start Of A Brand-New Career | Hawaii Jobs

The Start Of A Brand-New Career

Professional recruiter Barbara Guss

By Caroline Wright

Experts at staffing agency HiEmployment are the ones who employers turn to when seeking qualified job candidates.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the United States: it’s stayed between 2.3 percent and 2.8 percent for a solid year now.

The business of connecting employers with qualified job candidates is booming in the Hawaiian Islands, and staffing agency HiEmployment continues to be a leader at creating those connections. Recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s 2013 Torch Award, which supports ethical business practices, HiEmployment provides workers to employers around the state on a permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire basis.

Since opening its doors in 2005, the agency has supported hundreds of island employers in a wide variety of industries: hospitality, education, industrial, agricultural, administrative, accounting, technical and medical. HiEmployment also offers executive search consulting, placing executives and management personnel with companies across the state.

Lucy Samuels, Angela Parra and Emily Murai celebrate a festive time at work. PHOTO COURTESY OF HIEMPLOYMENT

“We’re pretty unique; not a lot of agencies can provide the wide scope of employees that we can,” said Sean Knox, president and CEO. “Because of our size, a large number of employees who come to our agency are referred by other staff.”

HiEmployment’s strong referral program offers rewards of $50-$100 per qualified candidate.

In 2018, HiEmployment invoiced more than $3 million to its hospitality clients. The company provides 100-300 servers, cooks, housekeepers, and customer service agents to Hawaii’s hotels, restaurants, and event groups each day. With a solid presence on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai, the agency has 29 internal staff and a force of more than 700 temporary employees.

“Due to our growth, we have two open staffing support positions on Oahu,” Knox said. “They’re heavily involved in recruiting, interviewing, and scheduling employees for the orders we receive from our clients. We’re looking for individuals who come from a customer service background, such as restaurants, hotels or retail.”

Candidates who enjoy a fast-paced, ohana-style corporate culture will thrive here.

“Our team gets along very well,” Knox shared. “There’s both flexibility and accountability. It’s a work-hard, play-hard kind of environment.”

The staffing support/recruiter positions will be based at HiEmployment’s Fort Street office and its Hawaii Convention Center office on Oahu. HiEmployment’s four other offices are located in Lihue, Kahului, Kona, and Hilo, its newest branch.

“I grew up in Hilo,” Knox explained, “so it was really special for us to open our Hilo office in July 2018; it brought me back to my hometown.”

As might be expected from one of the state’s largest employment agencies, HiEmployment’s benefits are spectacular.

“We have a strong medical program — it’s a Preferred Provider Plan; we cover 100 percent for medical, drug, vision and dental,” Knox said. “There’s a 401(k) with a 4 percent match. We have free lunches every Wednesday; we provide parking and gym membership; and we’re looking into a Student Loan Repayment Assistance (SLRA) program. We have good employees so we try to take care of them.”

Additionally, HiEmployment is deeply supportive of community involvement and service. The agency’s Hawaii island manager, John Kaiwi, has launched a program to feed the homeless. Maui manager Kwanza Woodson is an upcoming president of the Rotary Club, and Kauai manager Scott Lever is involved with the Surfrider Foundation’s Net Patrol, pulling nets and trash off the shores. On Oahu, Ann Manabat is leading the initiative to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Knox himself is on the Board of Directors of Hawaii Literacy.

“That’s actually one of our core values, balancing great work with a commitment to health, family, and community,” he said, adding that the agency backs that support with more than just platitudes. “We pay our employees for community involvement. They can take time off from work to volunteer, and get paid for it, up to 16 hours.”

Contact Patrick Klein at if you desire to have your company featured in this section.

THE 411

COMPANY: HiEmployment

LOCATION: 745 Fort St., Ste. 124, Honolulu (plus ~ ve other o° ces statewide)

PHONE: 695-3974



EMPLOYEES: 29 internal sta˛ ; more than 700 temporary employees

BENEFITS: HMSA’s Preferred Provider Plan includes drug, vision and dental

(100 percent paid), 401(k) with a 4 percent match; free lunches every Wednesday; downtown parking; gym membership; 16 paid hours of community involvement