Not every staffing agency has a mascot, let alone make it one of the main pages on their website. But then again, not every staffing agency has the guts to start their business during a global pandemic.
Nearly everything about JobConnect is unexpected, including the success they’ve had to-date in building relationships and placing jobs throughout Indiana with a lean staff and a singular focus: making the connection between job seekers and employers dead simple.
It’s all about keeping complexity down. When Andy Downing and Ken Townsend decided it was time to start their firm, they scooped up an office next to an Outback Steakhouse and set to work, focusing on a handful of clients and using technology to automate processes that didn’t need to be manned by people.
“I wanted to see how far Ken and I could take it,” said Andy, who goes by the title of chief opportunity officer at JobConnect. “We could tell that the two of us can do what eight people used to do.” And that's what they did. They set off on their staffing firm journey as a staff of two.
Of course, Andy and Ken still had the aforementioned mascot by their side, Andy’s dog Smokey, who you can find online hanging out in his backyard “to remind you that you can apply and interview with JobConnect in the comfort of your backyard. Or, anywhere that you are connected to the internet.”
Getting to that level of simplicity took some work and evaluation with Able as a key component of helping get JobConnect running smoothly.
JobConnect is Andy’s third gig in staffing, and that background gave him some key criteria for how to run a successful staffing firm when getting his new company running.
“I previously was at a company that was using paper for everything. They had a bunch of people in their physical office — managing paperwork, running e-Verify — and it felt like we were taking a step backwards in terms of efficiency,” said Andy. “It took an hour to process a single candidate to make sure we were tracking everything and there was too much knowledge dispersed among different people.”
Additionally, some of these past experiences saw whole departments being created due to a lack of software and investment. Of course, the desire to streamline was only exacerbated by COVID hitting right before JobConnect was ready to open its doors.
“We knew doing everything in-person wasn’t an option anymore for staffing firms, but we wanted to maintain that person-to-person interaction,” said Ken. “We don’t want to feel like every other staffing agency, so we created a respectful environment for people and a physical space that candidates would only come into when they had to and all the paperwork was taken care of virtually. The office would only be there for real quality time.”
Thus, from the beginning, JobConnect had a propensity toward efficiency, but little did the team know how quickly that they’d have to ramp up. The company started operating officially in July of 2020, collecting applications via Facebook, but then the accounts started rolling in — drawn to the simplicity of JobConnect’s operations and their central Midwestern location of Indianapolis.
JobConnect needed to quickly put all the puzzle pieces together to handle a growing number of clients. It all started with creating a technology base that could integrate with other technologies and scale as JobConnect takes on new projects. That’s when Able came into the picture.
“Part of the investment was about scalability,” said Andy. “When we think about potentially adding more recruiters to the team, we want to make sure we’re letting recruiters do what they’re supposed to do: find great talent and place it. Onboarding tasks aren’t their job.”
Able keeps JobConnect’s processes in one place — scheduling, placement details, communications and reminders, WOTC tracking, and more. It was also easy to configure the platform with the small tweaks that were necessary to accommodate JobConnect’s unique workflows.
Ultimately, Able gave JobConnect the piece of mind that came with making onboarding workflows just happen when hiring a candidate. “Once I put a new employee on a job, I know they’ll get an email from the same place and all of that data is collected in one central location,” said Andy. “I know if I choose a background screening option, it’s being run. I know if I click on e-Verify, it’s being run. We’re less worried about tracking and compliance issues, and more focused on what we do best.”
“The only metric I put on anything was to lessen the amount of folks necessary to be in the office,” said Andy. “When we need to grow, we’ll do it efficiently. The business grows when we want it to grow.”
Overall, to Andy, this meant a 3:1 proportion from past jobs. Where traditional staffing firms had three people in the office, Andy wanted one — reducing the need for administrative and operational work, and focusing exclusively on recruiting. It also meant JobConnect wouldn’t need to staff up when new accounts came in. They could rely on the software to scale smartly, and not worry about layoffs or workforce reductions during challenging times.
“At a previous job, I had a WOTC person who took everything from the system we used there, compiled it, and gave it to someone else who would accept the forms,” said Andy. “That was a full-time job. Every Friday I’d check on my WOTC person who was just there to enter in data.”
For JobConnect, it was all about saving time and eliminating all the unnecessary interactions that prevent new hires from getting to work and that take away from the important personal connection recruiters make with their candidates.
“Able was a no-brainer for our tech stack. Even when you look at our website, you see we’re trying to offer the simplest path to deployment, whether that’s easy-to-deal-with people or an easy-to-deal-with platform,” said Andy. “I always strive for ease of use, and Able is great for us and our candidates. Once we figured that out, it was so simple that it became a waste of time to figure anything else out.”
This pandemic has changed everything. In this guide, we’ll take a look at post-COVID recovery trends.Download Now
The responsibilities of a recruiter have been altered over the past 10 years due to everything from technology to changing candidate expectations to COVID-19. Learn more with this infographic.Learn More
Are you looking for resources that your firm can utilize to assist workers with mental and physical job strain? Here is a guide that will assist you in doing just that.Download Now
BGSF shares how they were able to reduce onboarding to an average of 4 hours from beginning to end with Able.Learn More