Starting Your Own Staffing Firm —Reflections from Michael Reichwald of Yorkson Legal | Staffing Speaks Out
Are you planning to run your own staffing firm? Looking for advice on how to grow your firm once you’ve started it? There’s no better resource than hearing from other successful recruitment leaders who’ve been in your shoes. In part 2 of our conversation with Michael Reichwald, President and Founder at Yorkson Legal, he shares insights from his experience starting and running his own business—from how he got started to how he stays ahead of the curve today. Read on or watch the interview below. Find Part 1 of this Staffing Speaks Out conversation series here.
Katie Tierney [KT]: Why did you decide to start your own business?
Michael Reichwald [MR]: I had a business previously in computer graphics and I sold it in 1999. I decided to look for something else. I started consulting and I ended up at a staffing firm. I enjoyed the model and decided to venture to it. I wrote a paper for an IT staffing firm on why they should begin a legal expansion. They decided to pass on it, so I decided to fund it and we just got it started.
[KT]: How do you approach the process of reaching out to candidates and clients?
[MR]: Every single day, keep at it. We’re constantly looking for ways to innovate. We use LinkedIn quite a bit to reach out. We network, we go to as many shows as we can. Our clients are primarily either at law firms or at corporate legal departments, so it’s very targeted. We chose a very sort of niche industry—legal staffing—so it’s a little easy for us to focus on who to approach.
[KT]: What do you love about working in the staffing industry?
[MR]: Recruiting is a win-win job. Our candidates are happy and our clients are happy. And internally, our employees seem to enjoy it because they stay year after year. We go to work every day enjoying what we do. I know I do, and I know my wife, who also works at the firm, does as well. It feels good.
[KT]: If you could change one thing about the staffing industry, what would it be?
[MR]: If anything in the staffing industry has a negative connotation, it’s temporary work. Some people think that professionals are only doing temp work because they want to find a full-time job and that misconception is not good for the business or the industry.
Many attorneys are comfortable having their own practice and then also taking on contract work, and not all of them need to be full-time employees everywhere. One of the positive things that’s happened over the last 10 years is that more and more lawyers are respecting the fact that other attorneys have decided to do contract work rather than full-time work.
[KT]: What’s changed the most since you first started out in the staffing industry? And how are things moving in the right direction?
[MR]: Definitely the technology. It’s far easier to source and find candidates now than ever before. There are so many resumes coming in. We have a database of 250,000 resumes. A little firm like ours receives 2,000 resumes a month. It’s nearly impossible for us to go through them all, so the technology has been very important in being responsive to it.
Compliance issues have also changed quite a bit. As a smaller firm, it’s always a challenge to keep up with the rapidly changing regulations. Yorkson Legal staffs in 10 different states and that means we need to learn the rules and regulations of all 10 states.
[KT]: Do you have any words of wisdom for somebody who’s thinking about starting their own staffing firm?
[MR]: Pick a specialty. I like a specialty. I like a niche. And make an effort to understand technology early on. We rely on it. And you want to make sure that you’re constantly staying ahead of the market, which is one of the reasons I come to Engage Boston and follow SIA and ASA. I want to make sure that I know what’s going on. And even though we won’t be able to use everything, it’s important to understand it.
With experience, you learn what’s going to be a disrupter and what’s not. Not everything that people think will be a disrupter will be a disrupter. Those experiences were important to me and I would encourage others to think about that when they start in the business.
The staffing industry is constantly evolving but firms that build their foundation on innovation and providing an incredible candidate and client experience will be in a position to thrive. In the third and final part of this Staffing Speaks Out conversation, Michael will share his insights on how to engage candidates. Stay tuned for the next installment.
Would you like to learn from staffing experts, leaders, and innovators? Staffing Speaks Out is a hub devoted to conversations with the best and brightest in the staffing and recruitment industry.