In this episode, you’ll learn about:
- Their commitment to being flexible to meet the needs of clients and employees
- The ethical standards that their clients and candidates can rely upon
- The processes they employ to enhance their effectiveness
Brad Wolff: 00:02
Welcome to the “It Is About You Podcast”. Today our guest is Jeff Weinstock with the “R & W Group” Recruiting Firm. Jeff, welcome to the show!
Jeff Weinstock: 00:16
Thanks Brad. Glad to be here!
Brad Wolff: 00:18
So if you would, tell me a little bit about yourself and the “R & W Group”.
Jeff Weinstock: 00:25
No worries! Well “R & W Group” is a Full Staffing and Placement Company. We’re based in D.C., but we do work nationally by way of background, I’m actually an attorney. I practice Law in D.C. For about 10 years before I got into initially legal staffing. And then that morphed into Accounting and Finance Admin and I.T. Staff in both temp and Firm that was all in D.C. And our clients include about half our clients for Law Firms. The other half are companies, everything from Startup Companies to Fortune 100 Companies a few Non-Profits as well.
Brad Wolff: 01:04
So in addition to your Legal Staffing and Recruiting, so I believe its Tamp and Full Time Placement,
Jeff Weinstock: 01:12
Correct? That’s right!
Brad Wolff: 01:14
Any other areas of specialty that you help your clients hire?
Jeff Weinstock: 01:20
You bet! Yeah! So within a Law Firm, we will place almost any position that is open. So we will place Marketing Candidates, Accounting and Finance, Billing Candidates, Admins, Receptionist. It really runs the gamut within Law Firms. So we don’t limit ourselves to just Law Firms. We want to be a diverse business both in terms of lines of business and in terms of clients. Likewise in terms of Temporary Staffing versus Permanent Staffing, both are very strong for our company.
Brad Wolff: 01:56
Okay! So if you would, you mentioned that you started off as a lawyer, if you would Jeff, can you tell me a little bit about your journey that’s brought you to where you are today?
Jeff Weinstock: 02:06
You bet! I enjoyed practicing law. I started to get a little burned out after about 10 years but one of the things I realized is practicing law. I was a Government Contract Litigator, provide years and I practice Family Law for 5 years. One of the common denominators that I saw as I was particularly interested in the businesses that I was working with. I liked diving into the businesses and trying to understand more about how a business was successful or wasn’t successful. When I was ready to leave the practice of law, I looked into a number of different options and I had a friend who is actually in the Legal Staffing Business who said, “Hey, come meet with my manager and I think you’d love what we do”. And I did, and the rest is history. Basically I met with them.
Jeff Weinstock: 02:58
They made me an offer. Another company made me an offer. I ended up within about 6 weeks managing and office for a large staffing company. It was a Legal Staffing specifically and I was with them for 6 or 7 years and went to a large or a small agency before until it was acquired that 10 years ago had the opportunity to start this company kind of throughout my career. I saw things that I loved about the industry and about different companies and things that I didn’t love that I thought could be better. For instance, I saw some agencies were complacent about clients where they were always looking for their next large client. I didn’t think that was quite right. We also saw that there were some companies and agencies that didn’t seem to care about candidates so much. They treated candidates like a commodity.
Jeff Weinstock: 03:49
We didn’t think that was right. And then finally we saw some companies, staffing companies and non-staff and companies that didn’t treat their employees well. And we thought that if we could change each of those things, we could take the things that we liked in the industry and change the things that we didn’t like. And that’s pretty much where “R & W” was born. So we started this company 10 years ago we have grown it. We have a tremendous team of recruiters and we do focus on the D.C. Area. We are based in D.C., but many of our clients are national and even international clients. And we have now placed people all across the country. We’re working right now in Boston, New York, Chicago we place people in California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina pretty much across the country. A lot of fun. We’re blessed. We feel very lucky because my whole team realizes that with what we do every day we get to help change people’s lives and that that is so meaningful for us and for our candidates and our clients as well.
Brad Wolff: 04:54
And I want to highlight what you just said, that there’s a real purpose that fuels people’s work and that is that you’re helping people change their lives for the better as opposed to you’re just doing the job. So I want to highlight that as a key element to an organization, being able to be a lot more of who they could be.
Jeff Weinstock: 05:16
I totally agree with that, Brad. And who was it, Mark Twain that said, find something that you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, that also comes across with, with candidates too and that saying, we get to help change people’s lives. That is from an actual story from a candidate who came to me early in my career. She had just, an attorney, had just found out that her Law Firm was closing spur of the moment she was going to be without a job in a matter of days. We were able to place her with a Law Firm as a temporary paralegal. It’s actually a great story who placed her as a temporary paralegal on a project within a day. They made her a temporary attorney. She ended up becoming a partner at that Law Firm in D.C.. It was just a tremendous story. She came back to me afterwards again, actually in tears saying, you need to understand, you changed my life. And that just meant so much to me and we’ve had that happen a number of times, each of our recruiters have had candidates come back to them and say, you really helped change my life for the better.
Brad Wolff: 06:24
And that is a big deal that that’s income. Yup. To you as a Recruiting and Staffing Firm, that what you’re doing is really truly resonating with people and they’re telling you about the difference it made.
Jeff Weinstock: 06:38
Brad Wolff: 06:39
That’s when you know you’re doing something right.
Jeff Weinstock: 06:41
I totally agree! I had a professor in law school for Tech’s, a great professor on one of the things he impressed upon us his last day or our last day in class was when you’re looking at different positions, don’t forget about things that don’t necessarily show up for the IRS as income. And he said, think of that as psychic income. That’s exactly what you’re talking about. I totally agree!
Brad Wolff: 07:07
Bingo! And they haven’t found a way to tax it yet, but we’ll talk about that to now discussion for another time. Jeff, what do you see as the keys to your success in the staffing and recruiting industry?
Jeff Weinstock: 07:20
Yup! We are a little bit different from some of the other agencies. I talked about some of the things that we didn’t like when we started the company, but there are really three things that make us a little bit different. The first thing is “Ethics”. We really try to abide by the highest standards of practice and epics in the industry. So we’re, we’re in a very good place in that we’re lucky we don’t have to work with every potential client who contacts us for help so there are companies that we will turn down that we will decline to work with. Either we know their reputation and it’s not good or we use them as a source and we will pull candidates from them. We won’t work both sides of a client in that we won’t pull people out and try to place people there.
Jeff Weinstock: 08:05
So any of our active clients, we will not pull out employees and vice versa. So from an Ethics standpoint, we try to do that. Likewise with candidates on the other side, unlike some of the other agencies that we compete with, we always get prior authorization from candidates before we submit the resume to any client. We want to make sure that they’re interested in that position with this client and that means a lot. So Ethics would be kind of number one on our list. The second thing would be “Processed”. We have slightly different processes. We try to give individualized attention to each of our clients and candidates. I’ve talked about how we get a specific authorization from candidates, but in terms of clients also. We try to find out really what the client is looking for both in terms of substance and in terms of personality who is going to fit best in this position.
Jeff Weinstock: 09:06
I was at a holiday party for a client, a large nonprofit, very well-known nonprofit and I was talking to one of our contacts and she was telling me that their New York office used to work with one of the large agencies, a very good company, one of the large agencies and they have stopped working with that company. She said the reason is they have moved all of their work to us because the word they used is trust. She said, we trust you. We know that you are finding out, you know, what we’re looking for both in terms of substance and personality. The other agency would routinely send us resumes that were irrelevant. They did not talk to their candidates about who we were to make sure that the candidate wanted to go to wanting to work for our agency we trust you, we know that we’re going to get three resumes from you, but they are all going to be spot on and all of the candidates have already said that they are interested in working for our organization.
Jeff Weinstock: 10:07
That means a lot to us the other agency was just wasting our time sending us, you know, 10 resumes, 9 of which were completely irrelevant. Similarly, about three or four years ago, I was referred to a company that was thinking of moving to the US. A large Grocery Store Chain, an International Grocery Store Team that actually now is in the US I was meeting with their CEO and we ended up signing a contract with them. And he said that their policy from Europe is that they always signed contracts with 3 agencies, 2 large agencies and a small agency. They wanted us to be a small agency and he said, please take a leap of faith with us. That was the phrase that he is. He said, I promise you we’ll be very happy in the end and we did. We signed the contract.
Jeff Weinstock: 10:57
He said what they found was that the 2 large agencies or the large agencies they signed contracts with are great initially but then they become complacent. They start sending resumes that aren’t quite relevant. They’re looking for their next big client. He said routinely the small agency that they sign a contract with ends up picking up a bunch of that work and basically in his words they service us to death and that is exactly what happened with this company. We’re a small agency, but in three years we ended up placing 90 employees with mostly in D.C. But really across the country.
Brad Wolff: 11:34
And if you would, I want to highlight that something you said there, Jeff, is certainly the one really large nationals have the name recognition that makes it easy for someone to say, who am I going to call when I’m looking to hire someone? But the small to mid-size firms where they’re owned by people, like you have a real true vested interest in the success long-term of the client and that there is something different because you are at stake with the long-term results. You’re not just an employee. So I definitely want to make sure that that’s a key thing that I’ve heard over and over again about the difference with working with an organization like yours versus a big name.
Jeff Weinstock: 12:26
Right! I totally agree. And I’ve worked with a big name nationals. I totally agree. I totally understand where you’re coming from, that’s absolutely right yeah. So those are two of the differentiators. The third that we were starting to talk about flexibility. Flexibility for clients, flexibility for employees is a little bit different we do have some clients who want invoices in a very particular way, either a P.O. number in a certain place on an invoice they do or they don’t want time sheets attached for contractors. We are totally fine with that. We can be flexible. We are able to make changes as requested and needed by the client. Some of the large agencies can’t do that, which we understand they have processes and there’s only really one way to do that when looking with clients at different positions that may be open.
Jeff Weinstock: 13:20
We are pretty good about looking at shins. What might the client want to look at instead of it? They can’t find a 100% of what they’re looking for. What about 90%? We are, we like looking at out of the box candidates potentially. So on the client’s side, we try to be as flexible as we can. On the employee side, one of the things that we saw was some companies not treating employees as well. We wanted to do that a little bit differently. We encourage all of our employees to work from home four days a week. Every company that I had worked for in the past, I always asked to allow a couple of our over some of our employees to work from home a couple days a week. And every time I would be met with a responsible, no, you can’t do that. And I would say, why?
Jeff Weinstock: 14:07
And they would say my manager would say, well, you don’t know if the person is working. And I would say, of course you did it. They’re making placements if they’re calling clients, if we’re bringing in job orders, we’re working as long as we’re making placements. Isn’t that the goal? And not a single company that I worked for in the past would allow that. Whereas here, everybody works from home four days a week. We all get together in our office in D.C. One day a week frankly we really like each other, but we have very good communication the other four days a week, whether it’s by phone, by email, by Skype, whatever. And it just works out very well. And in this way it takes much less stress off or it takes a lot of stress off the employee commuting in D.C. Can be challenging and commuting in many major cities can be challenging if an employee a lot of my team have kids. If one of their kids get sick, they’ve got to go to school, they’ve got to have a PTA meeting or something like that. We encourage that. You just go in the middle of the day. It’s okay in this industry, sometimes the best time to talk to a candidate will be at night or on the weekends. Well that counts as work too. So I don’t see, I don’t understand why a lot of companies feel not, you’ve got to be in the office nine to five and that’s it. When we are working at night or on the weekends. Likewise if we can cut down on the commute, yes, it’s being green, but it also allows the employees to work earlier in the morning or later in the evening if necessary. So that works out pretty well too. Our company also has unlimited vacation for employees and we do encourage people to take it and people do take unlimited vacation in this industry.
Jeff Weinstock: 15:55
We’re lucky that it is a commission based industry. So the more placements you make, the more money you make. So if you want to take that much vacation, well that’s okay. You know, we’ve got people backing you up. We’ve got a fantastic team but it works out really well. It gives people an opportunity to recharge.
Brad Wolff: 16:12
So Jeff, these are really good points about why employees would want to work at your organization and encourage their best, the best people to come to work with you. How do you see that translating to the benefit of your clients, this flexibility that you’re offering?
Jeff Weinstock: 16:34
That’s right! Great question. We have a tremendous team. So a client will never be at a disadvantage if their recruiter is away. We had a recruiter, for instance in New Zealand for three weeks last, Oh, I guess it was this summer, but we had other folks backing her up, other recruiters backing her up so her candidates were not at a disadvantage.
Jeff Weinstock: 16:58
And any clients that she was working with were nodded at his advantage. When she came back, she was completely recharged. She had seen one of her sons there it was just a tremendous vacation for her and her family. And the clients, you know, appreciated it too because when she came back, she was recharge. Who’s ready to go? She was excited about work again too. And the clients were never hurt at all while she was away. There was always a backup or several backup recruiters or salespeople.
Brad Wolff: 17:30
So it really is helpful to the clients to work with a Staffing and Recruiting firm whose employees are really happy to be there because that extra effort is the difference between finding what they’re looking for versus just getting a bunch of resumes. Because if you can’t find what you’re looking for, firms tend to send a lot of resumes thinking that that’ll make up for it, but maybe they’ll get lucky.
Jeff Weinstock: 17:54
Absolutely! And one other way this actually is, is relevant to clients too. We are very lucky in that we have a very high retention rate and this is part of that retention rate. We like to build that relationship between the client and the recruiter or the sales person that they’re working with. There are some agencies that believe the relationship is between the client and the company. We take it very personally. We think that relationships should be built between the client and one or several recruiters or salespeople. So having a higher retention rate, you’re not changing the name of the person you’re calling every week or two. We’ve had people working here for 9 years. We currently, our operations manager has been with us for eight years at this point.
Brad Wolff: 18:43
That’s real value for the client because over time the people working with them get to really know them and understand things that you wouldn’t if you’re new. So we want to highlight that as a real value for companies that are hiring. So Jeff, as we’re moving this for, in wrapping this up, is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed? Because you’ve been really thorough about specific things that bring value to whoever you’re working with.
Jeff Weinstock: 19:10
Well thanks Brad. Yeah, the only thing I would want to add, I was pretty nervous about starting my own company. Frankly! I had never done it before I felt I knew the staffing industry and I’d always wanted to give it a shot. I used this phrase before and it’s something that we talk about routinely in our company, taking a leap of faith that this is something that you want to do, try it. Because you know, if you don’t succeed well that’s okay. At least you’ve tried it. And who knows? The next time it, you may end up, you know, learning from that experience and then trying something different or you may be just incredibly successful. We’ve been really lucky. We have a tremendous team. This is a whole team effort, but we really have been incredibly successful and we’ve been very lucky about that.
Brad Wolff: 20:03
Well luck something that you’re creating also. So, and based on what you’re, what you talked about, there are specific sound fundamentals that you’re applying that will lead to success over time. So keep on doing that. So, Jeff, is there any websites, books, or other things you’d like to tell the audience about?
Jeff Weinstock: 20:25
Yeah! Our website is “www.r-wgroup.com”. It’s “R” as in robert than a hyphen and “W” as in water group, G R O U P dot com feel free to visit our website, take a look at our team at where we’ve come from our story if any of your listeners have any questions, I’m more than happy to any questions that I can about how we got to where we are and hopefully that’ll help some other people do similar thing.
Brad Wolff: 20:57
Jeff, thank you so much for taking the time here today and I wish you continued success and I would expect that you will have continued success given the fundamentals that you put into practice.
Jeff Weinstock: 21:08
Thank you, Brad. I appreciate your time too!