Zephyr Recruiting offers custom and affordable recruiting for small, mission-driven businesses who know that their PEOPLE are their most asset.  Erin Longmoon the CEO shares key things that make them unique and valuable to their clients: 
  • They are “culture fit” recruiters- placements have greater longevity and higher engagement level  
  • They focus on small/mid-sized businesses with 200 or fewer employees 
  • They charge a reasonable “flat fee-only”- clients aren’t penalized for higher salaries 
 

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The Transcript

  Brad Wolff (00:02): Welcome to the, it is about you podcast today. I’m honored to have as my guest Erin Longmoon. She’s a CEO at Zephyr recruiting. Erin, welcome to the show. Erin Longmoon (00:14): Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. Brad Wolff (00:17): Absolutely. So if you would tell me a little bit about the journey that has brought you to where you are today. Erin Longmoon (00:25): Wow, that’s, you know, how much time do we have Brad? It is a long one, but you know, things just align. I used to actually be a business coach and I owned a completely different company called Sage business partners and probably about two, two and a half years in, things just weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. And so I stepped back and kind of did an evaluation process and a strategic planning process. And through that specific process that I took myself through, along with a coach, I decided to pivot the company. And basically the reason was part of what we evaluated was what is truly the sweet spot. What did I love doing? What was I very good at? What were customers and clients needing? And what were they willing to pay for. And when we really looked at it, I was already doing recruiting for clients in my business before as sort of an add on service. But it really became clear that recruiting was the sweet spot. So Zephyr was born at the end of 2017 out of that process. Brad Wolff (01:27): Awesome. Awesome. So that’s, you know, usually it’s, it’s an interesting path when people get into the recruiting, staffing and recruiting business. Your path is unusual. Every path can end up being unusual to some extent. Erin Longmoon (01:42): Definitely. I have definitely done recruiting in house in previous positions I had had. So recruiting was not new to me, which is one of the reasons why it was a natural add on service when I owned my previous County. Brad Wolff (01:53): Ah, makes sense. Yeah. So what excites you the most about what you do and your organization? Erin Longmoon (01:59): Oh my gosh. I mean there’s a couple of different things. One, really the driving force that excites me the most is that how we change lives. You know, we really, we really focus on finding the right fit or perfect matches, culture fit, things like that, which we’ll talk about more, I’m sure. But when we do that, we see people blossoming and opening up as employees. We see employers you know, being able to relax and really focus on what they want. We’ve even had one of our clients who we ha, we helped them hire a senior tax accountant, was able to take a four week vacation during tax season because of the person we were able to bring on board. And then he took those four weeks and did a passion project of writing a book. So like being able to see the far reaching effects of what we do and how it affects their families, their, you know, their dreams is just absolutely the part that gets me and my team Brad Wolff (02:57): Every morning. Wow. I’ll bet the other accountants that heard about that said, like they said, Harry Harry met Sally. I want what he is having. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. He’s a tremendous model. There’s no doubt. Yeah. So what are the key things, Erin, that make your firm different? Other firms in the business? Erin Longmoon (03:22): Yeah. so a number of things. One of them, like I just kinda touched upon is we call ourselves a culture fit recruiters. We focus on what we call the right match. So for your team, your culture your goals for the future, we’re really looking for the right match, you know, not just skills, not just hard skills and experience, but those soft skills too. And we work with small businesses that are Brown under a hundred or 200 employees. So that’s sort of our cap is 200 employees or less and which there’s not a lot of recruiters that focus on that space. And then there’s also, we charge a flat fee. So it doesn’t matter what the salary is of the role. We try to make this service accessible to small businesses. That’s another part of our mission. So we do that by making it an affordable flat fee. Brad Wolff (04:12): And those are great points. If it’s okay, let’s, let’s look at each one and expand on it individually. So with respect to the culture fit, focus, tell, tell a little bit more about how that impacts the the longevity and the productivity of the placements. Erin Longmoon (04:31): Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s like matchmaking, right? And when you have the right match, these people become committed to each other. It really isn’t a whole lot different than dating other than obviously the level of intimacy and things like that. Hopefully. Yeah, that right. Nice one. You know, so you’re spending 40, sometimes more hours per week with these people. And so that relationship should be intentional. It should be thoughtful and it should, I don’t want to say be exists, you know exactly the same. That’s not true. They should compliment each other well so that they can capitalize and like in and really bring out each other’s strengths. They can support each other’s weaknesses and they can really become deepen a relationship. And, you know, a lot of our clients say, our teams feel like a family and they support each other. And that feeds into that longevity piece. People don’t want to abandon their family just for a couple more bucks an hour can be a real difference maker. So it’s huge. Brad Wolff (05:32): How do you determine that someone is a culture fit for a particular client? Erin Longmoon (05:37): That’s my secret sauce. No, I’m teasing. Well I, you know what if it is, well, no, I mean expressing what you can express without. Yeah, yeah. I’m, I’m, I’m teasing. I love to share. I’m just joking. But you know, we go through a really deep dive process so we, you know, without going into every detail, cause that would take probably the whole podcast, but we do really go deep with our clients. We ask very meaningful questions. We don’t stop with yes or no answers. We want to know more. We talk to all of the employees, especially the, you know, what you might call your tops or your a players or top performers and we get their perspective. So we try to get a really good three 60 view of who this company is. What are their values? What’s the, what we call the personality, you know, are they fun? Erin Longmoon (06:28): Are they, you know, buttoned up and wear ties every day. We try to get just a really good grasp of the culture and then we help them create an ideal employee profile based on that. So who’s going to fit in to that culture? Who’s going to work well and blend? Yeah. And then when we do the candidate piece, we do the same thing and we dive deep. I mean, our candidates go through quite an experience with us. We use coaching techniques, we build trust very early on in the recruit, in our interviewing process so that people feel safe, and then they’re willing to open up and really share for a recruiting firm. Oh yeah. So that’s a, that would be a huge difference maker. That would be very rare. Yes, it is. It is hard to find that. That’s really helpful that you went into a little bit of detail of what you’re doing as opposed to, Oh, it’s just magic. Erin Longmoon (07:22): We’re just really good. Oh yeah. No, no, no. We have a science behind it. There’s no doubt I will, I will say we don’t use artificial intelligence right now to help us. I mean, we do this human to human, you know? That’s a, that’s a very good point. So now you mentioned that you focus on small to mid size businesses with 200 or fewer employees. Right? What is the reason behind that? Well, for a number, I mean, I’ve primarily in my career worked for small businesses. I’ve always resonated with them. So, you know, we like to work with people who are like us. So that just was a natural fit. But honestly it goes back to that part of our mission. We feel that small business owners in particular do not get as much support as larger businesses and medium sized businesses. There’s not as many options available that they can afford that are accessible to them. Erin Longmoon (08:11): And we want to give them a leg up. And the truth is, is when you put all small businesses together in the United States, they’re the largest employer in our nation by like tenfold. So we want to help them. We want to help them attract the right kind of fit so that they can be successful. And I, I could hear the passion really matters to me. It wasn’t some analysis you did. It was, it’s from the heart to exactly that. This is something that you resonate with. So the flat feet and you know, clients aren’t penalized for higher salaries. Can you share a little bit about how that works for your clients? That’s a big deal. Yeah, it is. Actually, we’ve, I, you know, I talked to all our clients at a certain point in our engagement and ask why did you come on board? And I’ll you 50% of them say it’s because it was flat fee. Erin Longmoon (08:58): And I think again, going back to the small business owner, it’s affordable. I mean for 2020 at least we’re charging, I’ll just publish it. It’s $6,200 lab fee, full cycle. So a lot of jobs to be able to make. We do, we don’t make as much money as huge recruiting firms. We’re not in it for them. A lot of your jobs to be able to make, you know. Yeah. I mean we make a good living, don’t, don’t get me wrong. We make a fine living. I think we’re all doing on my team quite quite. We’re comfortable, but are we getting, you know, are we going to get rich and have five figures? It’s something that’s affordable for your clients. Brad Wolff (09:33): If you were to say our fees 15 or 20,000 my, that might be the difference with the same. We just, Erin Longmoon (09:40): Exactly, exactly. I think even for a lot of small businesses, even doubling that will be too much for them. And that is the other reason. That really is the other main reason for flat fee and for making it affordable is because we want to reach this group. So it’s almost a no brighter. Yeah, I hope so. It just wouldn’t make sense. No, it doesn’t cause as you know and as everyone knows, I mean recruiting takes so much time, so much time. So you know, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for them to do it themselves. And that’s what we’re hoping for is it becomes sort of a no brainer. It is a newer service for small business owners to get their head around. You know, they’re used to outsourcing bookkeeping and maybe a few other kinds of services, but you know, they’re, but it’s, once people understand the value, then they just sign on right away. Brad Wolff (10:29): Business owners, the stories I’ve heard about working with recruiters is like, Oh we can’t do that. And not realizing that, you know, there are recruiters like you that are designed to meet them where they are. Yeah, exactly. So they hear you, Oh you work with a recruiter is going to be $20,000 or more. They don’t really, once I make a placement, they don’t care. You know? And those things that they may have heard are absolutely not your philosophy and how you show up. Erin Longmoon (10:55): Not at all. And yeah, I mean most of our clients are repeat. We create very deep relationships with our clients. Brad Wolff (11:01): Yeah, I get it. So you’re like an outsource a part of their company that they only pay when they need exactly where their partner. Do you think, what’s the greatest success story that you’ve been part of? Erin Longmoon (11:14): Oh my gosh. In my recruiting business. So there are so many, I will say a clearly the four week vacations, a huge one, right? I mean, how many business owners in general and take a four week vacation during tax season during the busy. I mean, I thought that was a joke at first. No, no, no, no. This is absolutely true. He even podcast, he’s a guest on a podcast and he tells a story. Another really touching one that had actually a lot of us just very emotional was there was highly, highly, highly talented gentleman who was from China. And he of course came to America looking for better opportunity and you know, did so legally did so all the right channels, like had been here for about a year and a half. And he was struggling to find work. And part of it was his acts. He spoke great English, but his accent was very strong. Erin Longmoon (12:05): And you know, just people are afraid sometimes to try something new and different than what they already know. And so we, we, he came to us through a post that we had put out for a job that was an excellent fit and both in the hard skills and in the soft skills. So we presented them to the client and the client was the same way, a little afraid, a little like, ah, I just don’t know. Sometimes they’ll talk to clients that did I, and we went to bat because we felt that this guy was going to be such an amazing fit for them. And so they took a chance and they hired him. And two things, one, he was, he was a month away from going home because he was broke. He was at the point where he had to leave and go back to China and, and live in that communist country in, right. Erin Longmoon (12:55): So this is a life changing moment for him. And our client with our encouragement took a chance. And I mean, he’s been there for I think coming on a year and they have raved about him and said that he is the amazing fit and he’s doing a tremendous job. So, I mean, I’m getting chills just telling this never would’ve happened if you hadn’t really stuck your neck out and said, I really believe this is a win for everybody. Yes. That’s a value add that would’ve been passed up. Yeah. And it helped both. Right. Like have courage just your neck out and say, I really believe this is a a whip. Yeah. And I think part of our ability to do is because like I said, we dive so deep with our clients know who’s going to be a good fit. It wasn’t just a guest you had. Erin Longmoon (13:38): Yeah. It’s not just a guest. He looks great on paper. Let’s give it a shot. No, it was, we know, trust us please. We absolutely took a leap of faith and it’s been awesome. And I’m a big believer that failures and obstacles are some of the key things that really define it and make us better. Yeah, definitely. Do you have a particular failure obstacle you’ve overcome this been pivotal if you know, I was thinking about this question cause you are, thankfully you, you post this question to me a little early on. You know, I’ll be honest with going to a lot of details. I grew up in a very, very adverse living situation and you know, I know, I know. And there’s all level levels of relativity, right? Right. But I mean, really even even that being true, I honestly think for most of us overcoming that and being able to not take on whatever might be shoved onto us as kids and in our early adulthood and being able to shed that and really live a life that’s authentic and doesn’t carry that baggage is probably everybody’s biggest accomplishment. You know, the people, if it weren’t for that, yeah, you wouldn’t be who you are today. That is so true. That really Brad Wolff (14:52): Make a difference because you’re going below the surface or what is really driving success. Erin Longmoon (14:58): It was really exactly what really drives people. And I’m just a quick add on because of my history, my first 15 years, maybe 12 or 15 years into the employment world, I kept picking toxic workplace after toxic workplace after toxic workplace. Not an accident. Not an accident. Exactly, Brad. Yup. Yup. And until I was willing to do the work and look at that, you know, it was like, Oh my gosh, I am the reason I’m attracting jobs like that. And when you break that cycle, it changes your whole, Brad Wolff (15:34): The city that you just expressed is a real gift to your clients and candidates. Erin Longmoon (15:38): Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that you see that Brad Wolff (15:41): It’s mega that they won’t find in the typical interaction. So Karen, as we’re winding this down, is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed? Erin Longmoon (15:53): That’s a great question. I mean, I think just in this current job market, I’m sure you’re having the same conversation in your world. It is very TA, it takes a while to find employees. Even if you’re just looking for warm bodies, it’s taking a while. If you’re really looking for the right fit, it’s taking a while. So whether people decide to DIY and continue to do that themselves, or whether they decide to work with the recruiter. I think mitigating our expectations right now and being patient and being focused and knowing what you want and don’t take your eyes off that goal of wanting the right person and just being patient because they will show up, they will be there and it’s just, you know, timing. So I, yeah, we’re often talking to our clients about just, I know it’s hard Brad Wolff (16:39): And you know what that is. That is the biggest pain zone in hiring right now is that it’s across the board. So it is, and what is, what is your website for listeners that want to usually find you? Erin Longmoon (16:54): Yeah, it’s easy. It’s Zephyr recruiting.com and Zephyr isZ , E P H, Y, R and which means a gentle breeze for those who don’t know. So, you know, we try to make it easy for our clients to, to grow their teams, but so@zephyrrecruiting.com. Terrific. Yeah. Brad Wolff (17:14): Erin, thanks so much for showing up and sharing your authenticity and your, your values, your passion. And I’m excited about guests being able to tune in and really get some insight into what you’re about and what your firm stands for. Erin Longmoon (17:30): Well, Brad, I appreciate it as well, that you create this platform and that you ask thoughtful questions and that you allow this. So thank you so much for having me as a guest. Yeah.      

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