After four years of circling Princeton, Ellen Kuznick and Ron Safier can once again share their staffing expertise with Central New Jersey. “We’re so excited to be back in town,” Safier says. “It’s been too long.”
Kuznick and Safier started Princeton Staffing Group in 2001 and sold the firm to a national chain in 2007. The deal came with a four-year non-compete clause, meaning they couldn’t solicit business in the Princeton area.
“The timing was right (to sell) and this national company was a good fit,” Safier says. “Then the recession hit.” To which they both say “it was really good timing for a sale.”
But, shortly after the sale, Kuznick and Safier started another staffing agency called the Career Finders, with locations in Parsippany, Mount Laurel, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The non-compete expired in May and as of June 1, Kuznick and Safier are back in the Forrestal Village as The Career Finders.
Kuznick and Safier have been working together since 1997, when they met at Robert Half International, a staffing firm. Safier was raised on Long Island, where his father owned a gas station and his mother worked at a library. Kuznick grew up in Old Bethpage. Her father owned a printing company in New York City and her mother was a secretary for the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District.
“We live here and work here now,” Kuznick says of New Jersey. “It’s really important for us to be a part of the community.”
Safier attended SUNY-Oneonta, where he received a bachelor’s in business economics in 1988, and Colorado State University, where he earned his MBA. He worked on Wall Street and in the ski industry before starting in the staffing industry.
Kuznick started her professional career while she was still in high school. She worked for Fotomat then and during her years at SUNY-Farmingdale, which she attended from 1975 to 1977. Eventually she was promoted to an executive assistant position in Fotomat’s corporate offices in Stamford, Connecticut. After a year, she put her career on hold and relocated to New Jersey to raise a family.
While raising her children she started several “mompreneur” home-based businesses, including party planning, invitations, and selling a clothing line. She later went back to work as a human resources administrator for a large plastic and reconstructive surgery group.
Years later she decided to start a sales career as a staffing manager for Robert Half International. Within a year she was promoted to division director in Princeton, where she managed a team of five staffing managers growing their accounting and finance division.
After several years in corporate sales in the Princeton market Kuznick left Robert Half to launch her own staffing firm, Princeton Staffing Group. This is when she partnered with Safier, and within five years they accepted a buyout offer.
So now with the Career Finders, Safier and Kuznick specialize in placing professionals in the accounting, finance, administrative, customer service, human resources, IT, and pharmaceutical industries. In addition, they provide their temporary employees with competitive benefits including holiday pay, vacation pay, and tuition reimbursement. They also offer their candidates career-counseling, tutorials for skills enhancement, resume writing tips, and interviewing techniques.
Safier says that while some staffing firms list temporary positions on their sites, most firms are becoming much more career-focused. “For the most part, our clients are looking for full-time placement,” he says.
Over most of the past three years 90 percent of job placements were of the temporary kind, Safier says. Recently, however, more companies are looking for direct placement. “We’re definitely seeing an uptick in all sectors,” he says. “Staffing agencies are good barometers for what’s happening in the market.”
“What excites me about our latest business venture is the difference involving social media,” Kuznick says. “LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, for example, were almost non-existent in the PSG days, but they have changed business methodology forever. Add on Craig’s List, Indeed, and SimplyHired, and we have so many useful tools at our disposal.”
She adds that social media is no longer optional. Business is always evolving and to be successful, you must adapt to changing technology. Being an expert in navigating and utilizing these tools allows the staffing industry to still be highly relevant, functional, and qualified.
While Twitter and Facebook are great tools for the job search, Safier says LinkedIn is the best way for the Career Finders to locate potential candidatesSafier says. He and Kuznick find most of their candidates using keywords like “administrative assistant.”
“Everyone’s resume is on there so it’s easy to look through the search to find the perfect candidates to reach out to,” he says.
Through his adjunct professorship at Monmouth University, Safier teaches students how to effectively conduct a job search as well as resume writing, interviewing techniques, and networking. After learning about social media, Kuznick became savvy enough to appear before Safier’s class to discuss the best ways to use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find that dream job.
“It’s all about hashtags and keywords,” Kuznick says. With Twitter, it’s important to write terms that will attract you to the right people. “Keywords in your Twitter bio are also searchable,” she says. “Anywhere you can be connected is important for the job search.”
The Career Finders, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 609-524-4024; fax, 609-520-1702. Ellen Kuznick, managing partner. www.thecareerfinders.com