When he started working in staffing, Rolf Kramer quickly realized he wanted to do staffing in a “kinder, gentler way.” After gaining deep experience in the industry, he started his own IT staffing agency five years ago, and he’s been trying to do just that.
Kramer has built Kranect, a Denver-based IT staffing firm. The firm’s success hinges on two factors: an intentional focus on one much-needed function (technology talent) and his secret sauce, building relationships. We asked him how he chose his firm’s focus and what advice he’d give other staffing agency leaders.
“Focus has to start at a really high level — like 30,000 feet,” Kramer says. “It’s really hard to be all things to all people. You need to ask yourself, what group can we serve that’s interesting and also most likely to continue to see growth and provide adequate margins?”
Kramer knew he was interested in IT talent. The candidates are interesting and the skill sets are in high demand. But he was careful not to focus his attention exclusively on one industry (like oil and gas or healthcare) or one IT specialization (like server development or quality assurance). He knew that every industry has ups and downs, and niches can change as technology or market needs evolve. As a result, he works with companies in all industries, helping them with their IT staffing needs.
He’s glad he zoomed in on IT instead of going more general. Staffing is a big arena, and it just makes sense to pick a focus rather than to try to serve every potential client, Kramer says.
Running a focused staffing firm means carefully identifying clients that are the best fit. “My model doesn’t work well with really big companies with a VMS and multiple vendors,” he says. “We’re not built to race resumes to a tool to get those placements. My focus is finding candidates who want relationships and hiring managers who are willing to spend the time.”
As a result, he focuses on contract work or contract to hire, and building relationships to find the right candidates for the right positions. “If we get to know hiring managers and our candidate base really well, we get really good at putting round pegs in round holes,” he says. The numbers prove that his staffing style is successful — with many long-term placements and contract extensions. “At the end of the day, we serve our clients the way they want to be served.”
Picking a focus area also helps Kramer keep very clean, useful data. Instead of trying to sort through different kinds of placements, since he’s only working in one function he can quickly compare placements to each other. “Once you’ve set your focus you can start getting the data to work for you and help you make decisions about your business,” he says.
Working in the staffing industry may seem simple, Kramer says: “You get the job order, go out and find the talent,” he says. But the details can get complex quickly, and having data to rely on and a clear focus on the role you play for your clients can help. “Keep it simple,” he says, and keep collecting data: “The nature of data is that the more you have, the more real it is over time.”
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Staffing Firm Set Up For Success?
(A Short Story)
President and Chief Technology Officer
As President and CTO, Matt leads Bullhorn’s architectural, technical, and software design and development efforts. He also directs the product management team’s work defining product strategy, and global customer support and success. Since joining Bullhorn in 2004, Matt has held a variety of leadership positions managing the growth of various technical and services teams, including Vice President of Professional Services. Prior to Bullhorn, Matt worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in systems process assurance for such companies as Fidelity and State Street Global Advisors. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston University’s School of Management.
SVP, Customer Success
As the Senior Vice President of Customer Success, Tamsyn leads Bullhorn’s Services and Customer Success teams. She is responsible for the successful delivery of all products and services globally and is committed to creating and maintaining incredible long-term customer experiences in the Candidate to Cash process. Tamsyn has been delivering implementations for over 25 years with companies such as SAP, Ariba, Zuora and Apttus: specializing in HR, Payroll, Procurement and Quote To Cash capability. She trained as a software engineer after studying Maths, Statistics, and Computing in England.
SVP, Client Services & Support
As Senior Vice President of Services and Support, J.R. leads global client services, professional services, and support for all Bullhorn product lines. J.R. directs both the company’s customer service and professional service efforts around the world, engaging customers throughout all points in the customer journey, both proactively and retroactively, and delivering incredible customer experiences via transactional interactions and client engagements. He brings a broad range of customer service leadership skills and experience to the company, spanning performance management, employee and leadership development, organizational design, and strategy, all of which align to a focus on driving an incredible customer experience. Prior to joining Bullhorn, J.R. led call center optimization efforts for AT&T Mobility, directing the call center strategy for more than 100 contact centers. J.R. has spent 20 years working in the contact center space and held a number of key leadership roles prior to joining Bullhorn.
Founder & CEO
Art Papas is the Founder and CEO of Bullhorn, Inc, the global leader in software for the staffing & recruitment industry. Art was the original architect of Bullhorn’s flagship Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which now helps more than 8,000 companies around the world run their businesses. Art is the Chairman of the Board at Career Collaborative, an organization that teaches unemployed and underemployed adults how to build careers that change lives and strengthen families. In 2014, Ernst & Young named Art an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner in New England. Prior to starting Bullhorn, Art started his career as a software engineer at Thomson Reuters. Art is a graduate of Tufts University, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
SVP, Workforce & Revenue Cloud
As Bullhorn’s SVP of Workforce & Revenue Cloud, Ed drives the company’s middle office strategy and overall product offering. Ed joined Bullhorn as part of the Peoplenet acquisition where he spent 7 years as the President/CEO leading up to the acquisition in late 2017. Prior to joining the Bullhorn family, Ed has spent his career designing, building and managing technology solutions for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Partner in an ERP-focused consulting firm, a CIO for a global pharmaceutical company, a supply-chain leader for a retail company and the leader of a services company from its inception to $50MM in revenue. Ed was born in Florida but has spent the last 20+ years in Atlanta, GA. Ed loves to play golf, tennis and basketball and occasionally gets out kite boarding when the wind is just right.
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Vice President of Product
Jonathan Novich is Vice President, Product for Bullhorn, the global leader in CRM and operations software for the recruitment industry. A staffing technology innovator, he has developed broad and deep product and technical experience consulting to staffing firms over the past 15 years. Jonathan has acted as an independent consultant for some of the largest staffing companies in the world and advised companies on acquisition targets.
At Bullhorn, he oversees product initiatives as more than 7,000 staffing companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships, and power their recruitment processes from end to end. He graduated with honors from Princeton University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science and a certificate in Operations Research.
Brian Sylvester is Bullhorn’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with more than 15 years of financial leadership experience. Brian leads Bullhorn’s financial, accounting, and legal functions. Prior to becoming CFO, Brian spent three years at Bullhorn in various finance & accounting roles. Prior to Bullhorn, Brian was Corporate Controller at Pegasystems, a global provider of business process management software where he scaled the finance organization during a period of 2.5x revenue growth. Brian began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their technology audit practice.
Brian is a CPA in Massachusetts, has a Master’s of Science in Accounting from Boston College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Bryant University.
VP of Global Enterprise Accounts and Strategy
Ryan Murphy is the Vice President of Global Enterprise Accounts and Strategy. He began his 10-year career at Bullhorn as a finance and sales intern, affording him a 360-degree view of the software-as-a-service industry and Bullhorn’s business model. Prior to his current role, Ryan served as an Enterprise Account Executive where he honed his customer-first leadership style and championed Bullhorn’s offerings to its most strategic clients. Today Ryan leads a team across the US, UK and APAC to execute on Bullhorn’s global business strategy and introduce its product to new industries and markets. Ryan has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Boston University.
VP of Alliances and Business Development
Nina Eigerman is Bullhorn’s VP of Alliances and Business Development, responsible for the company’s technology and services partnerships. Prior to joining Bullhorn, Nina ran the Business Services practice at G2 Capital Advisors, helping agencies and their providers with capital market transactions. Earlier in her career, she was the President of Aquent Solutions and a consultant with McKinsey & Company. She also ran a full desk at a-connect, a global strategic staffing firm. Nina has a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College and graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International
Peter oversees Bullhorn’s international operations across EMEA and APAC in his role as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International. Peter joined Bullhorn in 2009 and was responsible for its highly successful UK launch. In addition to growing the international team to over 50 staff and establishing Bullhorn as the UK’s market leading recruitment software in fewer than three years, Peter has expanded Bullhorn’s reach into EMEA and APAC and achieved a user base of more than 10,000 international users. Prior to taking on the launch of Bullhorn in the UK, Peter spent 20 years working in the recruitment industry and held a number of senior director roles before moving into the technology space.
Chief People Officer
As the Chief People Officer, Kim is responsible for driving a highly effective people strategy, leading global talent acquisition, and directing training and learning programs while ensuring an engaging culture. Kim brings over 20 years of human resources management experience to Bullhorn. Prior to joining Bullhorn, Kim worked for Harvard University as the Director of Organizational Effectiveness and for E Ink Corporation as the Director of Human Resources. Kim started her career in the staffing industry as a recruiter placing temporary employees. Kim graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Syracuse University and has an Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Chief Revenue Officer
As Bullhorn’s Chief Revenue Officer, Mike drives the company’s global revenue growth. Mike was one of the first 15 team members of Bullhorn Inc. in Boston and relocated to London in 2010 to start up the International team. In his 6 years in London, Mike drove regional expansion into the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. He has supplied cloud-based solutions to recruitment consultancies in over 50 different countries worldwide for the past 10 years. Mike was born and raised in the Boston-area where he grew up an avid sport fan. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College.
Chief Marketing Officer
As CMO, Gordon Burnes directs the company’s marketing and business development efforts, including product marketing, demand generation, PR, branding, creative, and Bullhorn Marketplace. He brings a broad range of skills and experience to the company across the product, marketing, sales, and business development functions to help drive growth. Gordon was previously the IBM executive in charge of worldwide marketing for the Risk Analytics group, which became the leading provider in the industry over the course of his tenure. Prior to IBM, Gordon ran marketing and business development for OpenPages, which was acquired by IBM in 2010. Gordon has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Harvard College and an MBA from Columbia University.
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