The Christopher Group (TCG) has become one of the nation’s largest and most respected boutique HR Executive Search and Staffing Solutions firms. Nat Schiffer, the managing partner shares their uniqueness in providing agile HR services which include:
- Targeted Search & Assessment- Unique and effective recruiting process
- Freelance Consultants- Highly experienced and effective HR leaders and executives
- Interim HR Leaders- Rapid deployment of HR Contractors for unexpected vacancies
Brad Wolff (00:01):
Welcome to the, it is about you podcast today. I’m honored to have as our guest Nat Schiffer. He’s the VP and managing partner with the Christopher group. Not welcome to the show.
Nat Schiffer (00:16):
Brad, thanks. Very much. Pleasure to be here.
Brad Wolff (00:18):
Absolutely. So if you would share a little bit about the Christopher group and what you do.
Nat Schiffer (00:27):
Absolutely. And listen, I, I particularly don’t want to bore your listeners on a Friday afternoon, but the Christopher group is one of the largest, the most successful HR solutions companies in the U S we, we were founded 22 years ago by Paula Christopher. Tom Christopher joined shortly thereafter. And we’ve been very blessed in our growth over the last 22 years. Last year we were recently voted one of the 200 best-recruiting firms in the world which is a pretty big accolade for the firm as small as we are. And we were recently voted one of the best-recruiting firms in HR staffing executive staffing agencies in, in all of the Midwest, irrespective of a vertical or industry.
Brad Wolff (01:11):
Wow, that’s quite an honor. So if you would tell me a little bit about the journey that’s brought you to where you are today?
Nat Schiffer (01:22):
Well, that’s a big, that’s a big question. You know, I think ultimately our firm was founded by the ability to you know, create a better bounce Trop and I think in an insatiable appetite to always get better and continuously improve. And it’s something that we live by and and really believe in every day. We’re, we’re also affirmed that’s very that believes quite a bit in the principles of servant leadership. And I think last but not least in an industry that’s probably known for a lot of fast talk and not a lot of results. You know, we, we put our money where our mouth is and really believe in delivering and being accountable for our results and it’s paid off.
Brad Wolff (02:13):
Absolutely. So what are the things that excite you the most about what you do and your organization?
Nat Schiffer (02:23):
Well, you know, I guess the answer that I would share with you, Brad, is the fact that, you know, we’re in the human capital business and many companies, almost all companies, big, small, global non-global really doesn’t matter have woken up and realized that they’re in the people business almost irrespective of any industry, any vertical, you know, any location, whether you, you know, transport in a waste or your, you know, building rockets, it really doesn’t matter. It really comes down to your people strategies. And I think it’s been, you know, with the space that we’re at in the economy, it’s, it’s really become front and center that there’s a war for talent out there. And you know, unemployment rates are at all time lows and for companies to be able to achieve their operational goals, they’ve got to have the right place, the right people in the right place at the right time. And, and we help companies achieve that goal.
Brad Wolff (03:25):
Absolutely. So that’s obviously something that you’re passionate about, the impact that you’re having. So if you would share a little bit about what makes Christopher group different than other staffing, including firms in the industry?
Nat Schiffer (03:41):
I think first off, we specialize in human resources. HR is what we do. It’s at, it’s at the center of, of the human capital industry. It’s helping people, helping corporations and people attract, develop and retain the best and the brightest talent. And we, we help organizations build world-class human resources departments.
Brad Wolff (04:09):
Okay. And what, is there anything about your recruiting process that brings a particular benefit to your clients?
Nat Schiffer (04:18):
Sure. Well, you know, I could, I could, I could spend hours and hours talking about our recruiting process. I mean, I think that that’s really at the core of what makes us different. In an industry that’s often more, you know, fly by the seat of your pants and more art versus science. We’re very much more science versus art. We have three predominant products or what I would describe as three predominant HR solutions. One of them is targeted search and assessment. And I think really the big differentiator for that particular product is it’s a very custom made to order approach into finding a particular candidate that goes into a high level of detail to understand what the hard skills and what are the soft skills that are required by that organization for that candidate to be successful. At the core of it is a four point assessment process that we call the Christopher recruiting system. It’s our, it’s really our secret sauce. It involves multiple assessments for hard skills soft skills. It involves validated personality assessments and, and the last piece of the puzzle or the fourth point of the, of the process is a high definition, tailored a recorded interview with a particular candidate that really speaks to both competency and chemistry, highly successful award-winning and has really been a game changer. So much so that we’re able to offer a hundred percent performance money back guarantee all of our clients.
Nat Schiffer (06:05):
While we’re engaged in particular search, that that’s the, our oldest and probably what I would describe as, you know, the lady that’s brought us to the dance. We also have two other agile solutions for the HR marketplace. One of them is interim HR leaders. We’re a particular company. You know, it’s interesting, right? It just had a a conversation with a client today. It’s a, was a large fortune size company, industrial company that was making a shift from diversified industrial to getting into the environmental services industry. And they just recently made an acquisition that’s scheduled to close later in the year. And they said, listen, we need to prepare for that. So we need four interim HR leaders and we need them now because we want to be ahead of all of the transactional HR taxes that are going to be put on the organization.
Nat Schiffer (07:00):
Once we onboard all these employees and our interim HR department is able to provide them in literally days, rapidly deploy, deploy, highly qualified human resources talent for them in a period of days that’ll meet their needs across the country. So one of the few firms that, whether it’s because of a surge and unplanned vacancy, a merger, you’re starting up a plant closing down a plant and everything in between. We can deploy highly qualified, already vetted talent anywhere across the United States in the matter of days. The last leg of our milk stool and our product offering, our what we call freelance or project consultants. And that’s really driven by a, a particular project. But you know, to take, to make something complex, simple Bradway would tell you is we are, are an alternative for human resources consulting to the big box firms. We don’t have expensive offices in the large market cities.
Nat Schiffer (08:03):
We don’t have, you know, sports loges in what have you. What we do have is a stable of highly qualified human resources executives who are really you know, really motivated by the gig economy. In some cases they’re retired, in some cases they’re independent consultants, but they want to continue to have their foot in the game. And we really provide a platform for which their talents can be deployed. And we have incredible, incredible practitioners across all of the HR verticals and and specialties that are, that are oftentimes far superior consultants than, than what the Accentures or the Deloitte, Deloitte, or even the McKinsey’s office are. Because these people are really deep, lifelong subject matter experts in a particular field.
Brad Wolff (08:56):
So you offer a favorable alternative in terms of high, highly experienced executives on a consulting basis, you’re you’re offering something that’s favorable to the big name, much higher rate consulting firms in that area.
Nat Schiffer (09:13):
Exactly. a more attractive value proposition oftentimes where the projects are flat, race priced versus hourly. You know, we’ve all heard the stories about consultants who come in and say out of the project, I think it’s, you know, based on our hourly assumptions and you know, et cetera, et cetera, it’s going to cost $50,000. And the next thing you know, that projects, you know, ballooned and gotten out of control, kind of like a cancer and the price tag is, you know, $350,000.
Brad Wolff (09:39):
It’s amazing how that can happen, isn’t it?
Nat Schiffer (09:42):
Particularly with implementations.
Brad Wolff (09:44):
Yeah, no, it’s is quite a a lot of stories over the years about that. So, speaking of stories, what’s the greatest success story that you’ve been part of as a Christian for group?
Nat Schiffer (09:59):
Well, I think that that’s a that’s a tough question. You know, ultimately what I would say is, is I think our, our greatest success has been having the discipline to, you know, to stick it out. There’s, you know, we often talk internally here about the story event, the tortoise and the hair. You know, I think we’re, we’re a slow and steady wins the race kind of company. We’ve always believed in treating others the way that you want to be treated and providing the highest quality that we possibly can. Offering speed, quality and service, but really never, ever taking our eye off of of delivering on our commitments and our kind of abilities. And, you know, slowly and steadily, we’ve slowly and steadily, we’ve really grown. And, and now we’re being recognized in the industry and we’re seeing our people who work here achieve their dreams. And so for us, that’s an incredible success story. To see individuals who come to work at our tiny little firm, you know, by their, their first houses or their second houses in self-actualize and be a part of what we’re building.
Brad Wolff (11:16):
Terrific. And I’m a big believer that failures and what we call failures and obstacles are really important parts of developing character and skills. Do you have a particular failure or obstacle that you’ve overcome that’s been pivotal to your success?
Nat Schiffer (11:33):
Oh gosh, there’ve been there’ve been so many. You know, I think I would just answer this question by saying, you know, that I think failing is a part of business and you have to be willing to fail, but, but try to fail quickly. And when you do make a mistake, you’ve got a more than, you know, corrected. I think people in business can tolerate you make a mistake as long as you fix it in more than compensate for it. But when you start to forget about course correcting and making up for your, and you own your mistakes and then you more than correct them. I think people really can relate to that and not only relate but accept, you know, Hey, that you’ve made a mistake, but, but the partner that I’m working with owns it. They’re gonna do everything they can to correct it, whether it’s put additional resources et cetera. So, you know, I think I try to pride myself about failing quickly pivoting and first you don’t succeed. Try it again.
Brad Wolff (12:40):
Absolutely. So that as we’re winding this down, is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed?
Nat Schiffer (12:52):
No, I, I certainly would welcome anyone who has, you know, further interest in the products that we offer, whether it be targeted search, freelance consulting or interim HR or just like to talk about their particular, you know, journey in building their human resources or human capital function at a particular firm, large, small, and everything in between. If you go to the Christopher group website, you can see many large brands like the BPS of the world, Phillips 66, SC Johnson, Johnson and Johnson, etc. But we also work with smaller, privately held and closely held companies as well. And so we’d be happy to offer a free consultation to any of the listeners out there that might want to talk about, you know, how they can can perhaps engage us with any of these products to help with their human capital initiatives.
Brad Wolff (13:45):
Terrific. And what is your website?
Nat Schiffer (13:50):
You can find firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Wolff (13:55):
T as in Tom, C as in cat,G as in girl.com.
Nat Schiffer (14:02):
Isn’t Tom season catG as in George, C as in Oscar, I’m sorry, C as in Charlie, O as in oscar.com.
Brad Wolff (14:10):
Okay. Okay. So that would be helpful for anyone that wants to get the information and be able to contact you. Not, I want to thank you for taking your time here and sharing some very specific information about what makes the Christopher group a very valuable search firm and re you know, interim and consulting resource for companies throughout the United States. Thank you so much,
Nat Schiffer (14:38):
Brad. It was a pleasure. Have a great weekend.
Brad Wolff (14:40):