WhiteCap Search, Inc.
November 6, 2017 Issue
Q&A with Jerry Battipaglia, Co-Founder of WhiteCap Search, Inc. a Recruiting Firm providing Services to Hospitals and Medical Departments and Accounting/Finance Companies throughout the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
WhiteCap Search, Inc.
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 6, 2017
CEOCFO: Mr. Battipaglia, what was the vision when you founded WhiteCap Search Inc?
Mr. Battipaglia: There are so many recruiting firms that say they are different than the rest; we started WCS because we are different. We are working partners who all have the same vision: We treat our clients and candidates with honesty and respect. It’s plain and simple we will not bend our core ethics even though other companies and individuals in the recruiting business leave a lot to be desired. We meet every client and every candidate personally to develop relationships that transcend the traditional approach.
CEOCFO: What do you understand at a very basic level about job placement and recruitment that less experienced or maybe less creative people do not?
Mr. Battipaglia: I know the reason we have much more success than others in the industry is because my partners and I have worked within the industry we are recruiting for. I worked at a broker dealer and my partners have worked in the accounting and finance verticals. This allows us to truly understand what our clients are searching for as well as being able to counsel our candidates on their career. We just don’t know buzzwords like most of the people in our business and it resonates with both clients and candidates which allows us to really understand what their specific hiring needs are.
CEOCFO: Would you give us a concrete example of what you mean, what that understanding helps you do as you are working with clients.
Mr. Battipaglia: Yes. I know that clients like the idea we know what they are searching for specifically. A job specification document is important but what’s most critical is what is not on the job spec. Clients can talk to us and explain the intangibles of the role and that allows us to find a “special” candidate that they can be excited about. If we didn’t have the industry background we couldn’t understand the true success factors of the role. This allows us to have a unique approach to going out into the market and finding specific talent that may be overlooked if they were posting a job opening on the Internet boards themselves.
CEOCFO: Who is turning to for services? What types of companies and also what types of job seekers are coming to you?
Mr. Battipaglia: We founded WhiteCap to focus on our two core strengths – Healthcare and Accounting/Finance. One of my partners Barbara Tamberlane built a multimillion dollar Healthcare services division from the ground up. The rest of us have focused on the accounting and finance sector.
The majority of hospitals and medical departments throughout the Tri-State and North East region use our services. My partner in the healthcare services area does a lot of work with doctors and nurses, so for anyone who has that specific talent need on a temporary or full time basis; we are a great source for them to come to. On the Finance side, it is really all investment management firms. On the Accounting side, it is really any firm, startups to Fortune 1000 that might need an accounting professional. That would include anything from an account payable or receivable or a staff accountant on the junior side all the way up to the CFO-suite.
CEOCFO: Does the fact that a company is turning to you indicate that they are looking for a different caliber or that they are more discerning than the companies that might start out looking at Monster or ZipRecruiter?
Mr. Battipaglia: Companies realize the value we offer, so from a business perspective they save money utilizing our services. When they are trying to hire a part time employee, or a project based employee on a consultancy basis they work with us. We employ the candidate and handle all their payroll, tax, workers compensation and other overhead costs. If they only have a six-month project to work on we are a great resource for them and we provide that on a temporary basis.
If they want to hire that employee because they think they are fantastic, they can convert our temporary employee to their own permanent employee. Many times, companies for budgetary reasons, try to source talent on their own and find it difficult. If you are posting jobs on Monster or any of the other job sites, there are a ton of applicants that apply. What uniquely separates us from our competitors is that we meet with all of our candidates and do in depth interview, whether it is an in person meeting or a Skype meeting depending on the location, interview with our team members, and really delving into what each candidate is looking for uniquely and coming up with a tailor-made approach. That way we understand our candidates on an in-depth level and what they are looking for in their career long term. We try to match that up to the best of our ability with our client’s needs. There is no perfect match but we come very close!
CEOCFO: How do you understand the corporate culture and the intangibles that a company is looking for in a candidate, but also what a candidate is looking for in a company?
Mr. Battipaglia: That goes back to the question we just discussed. We meet candidates in person. With any candidate, we meet we try to dive in on why they are looking, what specifically do they like and do not like within their current working environment, what the culture is like there. There are many reasons why someone considers a job change we need to understand why. For example, maybe it is the type of management they are receiving, the work life balance; there are many ingredients that go into a job search and it is important for us to really identify what resonates with each candidate uniquely. The same thing goes for our clients. With all our clients, we go on site, we meet with the hiring managers, we meet with the HR department, we meet with all the internal stakeholders. We really get a feel for them and their environment and what they like about the role and what has kept them there and what has kept them at this specific company for so long and find out specifically what the criteria is that they might be looking for, so we can best align that with the candidates that we have in our talent pool.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? What internally and externally caused the change?
Mr. Battipaglia: Technology and the internet. Our industry is constantly evolving, the use of LinkedIn and many other job boards is a fantastic place to source candidates; we reach out and develop relationships with candidates we might not have ever met. We utilize technology to the fullest we have made a very large capital investment in our candidate data analytics platform, this allows us to track our candidates, keep track of notes and detailed specifics that will allow us to enhance both the job seeker and the client’s perspective on what they are specifically searching for.
CEOCFO: What might you put in a note that is going to help you later on understand someone?
Mr. Battipaglia: It could be anything such as job location. It could be the ability to work from home. It could be culture. It could be work/life balance or specific needs. Some of our clients offer free benefits like free lunch, gym reimbursement or different travel programs. It really depends on every individual candidate. Some of them like to be managed at a high level. Some of them like to be micro managed. There are a thousand things that go into everyone’s job search and I think taking in depth notes and being able to recall this information using data and data analytics really helps us narrow down the target pool at a quick pace for each individual search.
CEOCFO: Are there industries where you would like to make inroads or where you think there is good opportunity. Clearly, the ones you are in have a lot of need, but what do you see ahead?
The two biggest
growth areas we see the most needs are Healthcare and Financial services. At
this point in time we have many more jobs than qualified candidates. We are
focusing most of our resources in those areas. However, it seems like every
business sector is starving for the quality candidates that we can produce.
CEOCFO: How do you help a client understand the job market and understand that they may have to do things differently because people are looking at the workplace with new expectations today? Are you able to encourage a client in a new direction?
Mr. Battipaglia: When we get a job order or when a client comes to us with a specific need, we like to really dissect and break down the job on a responsibility level as well as an experience level. Sometimes they come to us with thirty requirements. Obviously, we are never going to recruit a candidate with all those exact skills. We need to spend time with the client and truly understand what their “must haves” are verses the “nice to haves”.
We also communicate and explain to the client where the current talent pool is from the candidate’s perspective, this allows the client to understand the challenges we both face as we work on their search. We also establish specific guidelines so as we team up with our client everyone knows the expectations of the search.
CEOCFO: How is business these days?
Mr. Battipaglia: We are extremely busy, especially with the healthcare environment. There is a tremendous amount of need. Going into year-end we are seeing a lot of clients coming to us with temporary roles before they get new budgets in the coming 2018 year. Thankfully we are swamped – we need to add more hours to the day!
CEOCFO: What are some of the challenges that you have learned to navigate working in the medical arena?
Mr. Battipaglia: Personally, I do not have that specific experience. My partner Barbara would be able to speak more in depth about that. Currently, just like our other business specialties healthcare is very much a candidate driven market. When we recruit a candidate with a specialized skill set we are finding that several clients are interested in interviewing them. At times, we have had a “bidding war” and the candidate is overwhelmed with their marketability. Our job is to manage their career expectations and have them evaluate the full scope of every offer before making that very important decision.
CEOCFO: When did you launch WhiteCap?
Mr. Battipaglia: We launched in early August. It took us about a month or so to get all our business processes in line. Our official announcement to the public was in early October.
CEOCFO: How are you attracting the clients and the talent as a new firm?
Mr. Battipaglia: We are in a relationship business. We treat our clients and candidates with the utmost respect and honesty, which in recruiting is hard to find. Due to that approach, we have a loyal following. Our combined 30 years of experience and relationship building gives us the true edge on our competition.
We have been flattered that so many of our previous clients have sought us out to team with them. Plus, we continue getting referrals and recommendations from candidates who we have helped throughout the years as they progress in their career. Prior candidates are now hiring managers and are engaging us with specific hiring needs, that makes you feel fantastic!
Internally we have seen an overwhelming number of recruiters from other agencies who are searching for a different environment, they want a more vibrant, tech savvy, startup feel environment where it is a little more of a hands-on approach than at their current agency. They reach out to us and ask if we are hiring internally as an organization, which is exciting.
CEOCFO: What is the plan for standing out? Do you plan on going to conferences or advertising? How will you continue to go beyond the people that know you?
Mr. Battipaglia: You always need to be doing business development. Our approach moving forward is really targeting specific industries and verticals that are innovating and taking market share. Firms within technology or those that are “first to market” or it could be a Private Equity firm that has been doing a lot of acquisitions.
However, I think the best way to really approach business development is by reputation and success. Therefore, as we continue to grow and help create value for our clients we hope they will refer us to other clients and other business partners that they know. Word of mouth and organic growth are powerful business development tools.
CEOCFO: Why choose WhiteCap Search Inc?
Mr. Battipaglia: It is a great question. Simple answer – you will not find another firm in New York City that has more passion, energy, or trustworthiness than WCS.
We will outwork everyone else, period!
If you partner with us we will do everything we can to satisfy your needs. You will never be disappointed by WCS. We are not here for the short term we are here for your entire career.
“We are not here for the short term we are here for your entire career.”- Jerry Battipaglia
WhiteCap Search, Inc.
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