Get to Know Barb

We are excited to announce the promotion of Barb Hooper as the new Market Leader in the Des Moines, Iowa office. She comes with a lot of experience and success throughout her career. We took a minute to talk to Barb about how she got into the recruiting and staffing business and how she sees the industry evolving.

  1. Tell us about your experience in the staffing industry. What drew you to the profession and what are some of the things that you like about what you do?

I had a friend that was already in the industry and she was going to apply for a position with a new staffing agency in town way back in 1997. She wanted me to apply with her because she said she always thought that I would be great in the industry and that I should be in sales.  We both applied and I got the job and she didn’t.   I have worked for 3 other firms in town as well as owning my own agency for 8 years – all firms are definitely not the same.  I joined my first agency in 1997 and worked there for 3 years.  Went to work for another company in 2000 as the Division Director for OfficeTeam and was promoted to Branch Manager very quickly.  In 2004 I left to start my own business and I had that until 2012.   I managed the staffing area of Midwest Professional Staffing for 5 years.

  1. What drew you to TalentBridge and what is different about TalentBridge’s approach to working with clients and candidates?

I was very excited to work for a fairly “new” company in Des Moines and to help build the business.  I believe that our mission and vision drive the company and that is what makes our company different.  It starts from the top and Tom definitely “bleeds blue”.

  1. How has the recruiting and hiring process changed in in recent years? How have technology advancements impacted the industry?

When I first started in the industry, if you wanted to hire a contractor, clients most often did not do interviews – we would just pick our best candidate and send them.  That changed with 9/11 when people wanted background checks, references and interviews before hiring.  Some companies will still trust the agency to send the right candidate, but most now want to interview the candidate first.  Technology has changed our industry in so many ways since I started 23 years ago – I’m not sure I can even talk to that because there have been SO many changes except that – we were using paper cards to keep track of candidates when I first started.  So many faster and easier ways to do things now.

  1. How did the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impact the Des Moines job market? In what industries are you seeing the most hiring taking place?

Many companies came to a screaching halt with Covid-19 in regards to hiring.  I think it was difficult for some smaller companies to determine how to hire and train virtually.  The hiring landscape is obviously still much slower with people being careful about bringing new people into their offices and just generally taking their time.  The mortgage industry has stayed relatively busy as well as the obvious industries like healthcare.

  1. What is the outlook for the remainder of the year and 2021 for hiring both nationally and in Des Moines? Do you anticipate there being a prolonged effect from the COVID-19 pandemic?

I believe nationally we look for the unemployment rate to fall by the end of the year and even farther by end of 2021.  However, the outlook for Iowa I would say shows that Iowans are resilient even though there is further decline expected in the near term from what I’ve read from the Iowa Business Council.

Please reach out to Barb ( and congratulate her on this well deserved promotion. She is a great asset to TalentBridge.