Spotlight On: Rick Ferretti, Founder & CEO, Pursuit Search Group

Spotlight On: Rick Ferretti, Founder & CEO, Pursuit Search Group

2023-03-21T12:28:37-04:00March 21st, 2023|Charlotte, Professional Services, Spotlight On|

2 min read March 2023 Rick Ferretti, founder and CEO of Pursuit Search Group, spoke with Invest: about the firm’s expansion into two new markets and their methods for ensuring they have diverse and stable clients to sustain future growth.  He commented on how after they have doubled their revenue in the Charlotte market, they will focus on strengthening their presence in several markets. 

What are some key highlights from the past year?

Our continued growth and success this year stem from the culture of the organization. Most recruitment firms have extremely high turnover, but our ability to retain employees allows us to create strong relationships not only internally, but with our clients and candidates. So, we are obviously doing something right as far as building a comfortable environment for the development and success of our recruiters. I find that recent college graduates desire an organization that will embrace them and develop them for the long term. We also have a very loyal base of clients that have been instrumental in our growth this past year. We work with anywhere between 70 to 100 clients on an ongoing basis. The diversification of our client base provides us with a stable foundation of hiring needs. 62% of our positions we filled last year were repeat clients.

How has staffing and recruiting progressed?

Staffing and recruiting continue to progress with the changing economy, client needs and remote versus “back to office” initiatives. Although some of our client’s needs may be seasonal or project-based, which supports our temporary staffing services, we are seeing an increasing demand for retained searches in this talent competitive market. Our sales team thrives in being able to offer an array of solutions for our clients to guarantee we are meeting their expectations and being successful in finding them the talent they need. 

What continues to differentiate your firm from others in the area?

It is true that the Charlotte market does not have a shortage of professional recruiting and staffing firms. When I started Pursuit Search Group five years ago and strategically grew our team, I wanted to be intentional about making our company a great place to work. Our recruiters are supported by an exceptional team of industry veterans and we have pride in our supportive, collaborative environment. By putting emphasis on the ongoing training and development of our team, we are able to best serve our clients. Our size and internal talent allow us to be nimble and pivot our recruiters to meet clients’ changing needs. 

How has the firm’s different services changed within the past year?

We eliminated all of our offshoring recruitment efforts and partnered with local universities to find talent right here in Charlotte. We successfully transitioned to a very thorough internship program which provided us the opportunity to train college students who are graduating in the next 12 months. Participants are able to learn a professional skill set relevant to recruiting and sales which has in turn given us an opportunity to offer full-time employment upon their graduation. So far 50% have taken us up on employment opportunities within the organization upon graduation. We will continue to support local universities which helps us identify talent so we can continue to grow our services, speed to market and support our clients. 

What specific industries have you witnessed have the biggest growth?

We are still diversified quite a bit and it is easy to say that manufacturing always has a very consistent need in the market regardless of market conditions. All manufacturing clients have a very strong hiring need at all times. 

How is the company addressing labor shortage issues?

It is a challenge that we are facing head-on alongside our clients. Some positions are much harder to fill in industries such as healthcare, technology and accounting. The good news is we have deep roots with recruiters who have a lot of experience in these particular fields. When we commit to filling those positions, we are prepared for it to take us three to four times the effort to fill them versus other positions. Having great partnerships with our clients allows us to be advisors to them in their search. In these cases, we have the opportunity to guide them in how to remain competitive in certain searches whether that be benefits, compensation or several other variables that will help ensure they find talent that fits their needs. We specialize in these roles and place them every day, so we are experts in what it will take for candidates to change positions in this competitive market and uncertain economy. 

What employee skill sets are currently the highest in demand?

Accounting and finance and anything in the technology space. Overall, the healthcare industry has remained in very high demand. 

Has the increase in demand for a hybrid work environment impacted the recruitment process?

Throughout the pandemic, there was a large spike in positions going hybrid or remote. A lot of people are under the assumption that there are still a lot of positions fully remote. According to the National SHRM Foundation, only 11% of positions across the nation are remote or hybrid right now. Although this variable does create an additional step in our interview and recruitment process, we are finding more frequently that clients are requesting in-office, and some candidates are even realizing they desire some form of being in-office themselves. 

Are there any legislations or regulatory matters that are having any impact on your firm or clients?

The biggest topic right now in the state is whether or not they will eliminate non-competes. I am not majorly concerned with this, but I am concerned that we consistently provide a strong work environment for employees. If they were to eliminate the non-compete clause within North Carolina I would be fine with it. 

What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing?

There are a lot of unknown variables right now. People don’t know if they should scale back their hiring needs in preparation for a drastic downturn in the market. We are being extremely proactive and have quadrupled the amount of outbound business development and sales opportunities to make sure we have a stable and diverse base of clients to sustain the growth of our firm should there be economic variables out of our control. We are expanding into two new markets: Ohio and South Carolina

What is your outlook for the next two or three years?

We are going to maximize our efforts locally and our goal is to fill up every seat within the new office. We are still capable of adding another 35% of employees here just in the Charlotte market. Once we maximize that, we have goals to double our revenue, which will allow us to focus on establishing brick-and-mortar in our other markets. 

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