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Staffing firm pens lease for Springfield office

Columbia-based JobFinders plans opening near the end of October

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A Columbia-based staffing firm is planting roots in Springfield.

Job Finders Employment Service Co., dba JobFinders, is planning to open its sixth office before the end of October, said Anne Williams, owner, president and founder of the company.

Williams said she signed a three-year lease for an undisclosed rate with Pitt Enterprises Inc. to occupy 2,400 square feet of the former Pitt Technology Group building at 1409 W. Sunshine St. Pitt Technology Group LLC moved earlier this year to Springfield Underground.

JobFinders’ opening date is not firmly set – as the five-person office is awaiting furniture – but Williams is targeting Oct. 23 or 24. As a professional staffing and search firm in business for 32 years, JobFinders specializes in professional-level positions in accounting, human resources, sales and other functions for clients in the engineering, information technology and manufacturing industries.

The company also helps health care companies find allied health professionals, Williams said.

“We felt like there might be a need for a company that does things a little bit different,” Williams said, noting staffing is now the company’s primary business after launching in 1986 as a search firm. “Springfield’s known to welcome new business. We feel really welcomed already, which is nice.”

Charting growth
The company grew steadily after adding a staffing division in 1995, Williams said, and was a $2 million company in 2010.

With concerns of stagnant revenue after the Great Recession, Williams hired a consultant. In return, she got a challenge to make JobFinders a $10 million company.

Williams believed she could start on that path by doubling her revenue in a year, but the consultant told her she couldn’t do it. Not fond of being told what she can and can’t do, Williams accepted the reverse psychology challenge.

“I have four brothers, and they used to do that trick to me all the time,” she said. “Basically, I said, ‘Oh, yes, I can,’ and so I did.”

Williams said JobFinders hired its first sales representative around 2010 and started on a path to triple its clientele by 2014. But the growth was selective, Williams said, choosing to work with companies she thought would produce the best results, and therefore lead to positive word-of-mouth.

“Partnering with your clients is the secret,” she said. “You have to believe in them, and they have to believe in you, bottom line.”

Today, JobFinders is a hall-of-fame company on the annual Inc. 5000 list for fast growth, indicating the staffing firm has placed for six straight years.

The company peaked at No. 637 in 2013, its first year on the Inc. magazine list. JobFinders ranked No. 4,569 this year on $11.6 million in 2017 revenue and three-year revenue growth of 71 percent.

Williams said JobFinders has around 150 regular clients, including Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (NYSE: SWK), Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) and Holiday Inn. In Springfield, she said the firm would start with a coverage area of 30 miles outside the city.

Eyeing Springfield
Williams is a self-described trout fisherman, and she owns a timeshare at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake.

She said she fell in love with the Ozarks.

“Approximately 10 years ago, I started watching the economy there a lot,” she said, driving between meetings in Columbia. “I watched it grow. I watched the infrastructure and finally made the decision that instead of going to St. Louis or Kansas City, we would prefer to help a growing city grow.”

JobFinders has offices in Columbia, Jefferson City, Moberly, Mexico and Sedalia.

In Springfield, the company joins Penmac Staffing Services Inc., PeopleReady Inc., LaborMax Staffing, Staffing Plus of Springfield LLC and Express Employment Professionals among the companies offering employment services.

Williams said JobFinders representatives meet with each potential client before taking them on.

“We’re not just a vendor,” she said, noting those face-to-face meetings also include the staffers they seek to hire for clients.

“We really strive to put them in the right position in the right company,” she added. “Today, over 90 percent of our staffers are evaluate-to-hire. They are not temporary at all.

“They’re there for a three- to four-month interview, basically.”

Penmac, which operates 35 offices in nine states and recorded $114 million in 2017 revenue, utilizes a similar process for most of its jobs, according to past SBJ reports, referring to the work as temp-to-hire in which someone who works more than 480 hours for a client can be hired at any time after that.

“We welcome them to the market, and we wish them the best,” Penmac CEO Tim Massey said of JobFinders via email.

He declined a phone interview, and Penmac President Paula Adams was out of the office and unavailable for comment, said Sara Corman, the firm’s marketing director.

According to the American Staffing Association, roughly 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies operate some 39,000 offices nationwide.

In Missouri, staffing firms employed 238,100 workers in 2017 with average annual earnings per job of $32,000.

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