Staffing For the Long Game
Future-proofing your business calls for the right team. Especially when your business is more like a family.
When the economic downturn hit in the late 2000’s, Ampersand—a full-service boutique agency in Austin—bounced back, fueled by a mission to become stronger.
CEO Cindy Montgomery recalls, “We came out of that period thinking, ‘We don’t ever want to go through that again.’ We needed bigger accounts. A more diversified portfolio. We had to get clearer about what we could offer, and be seen as a partner, not just a vendor.”
Taking stock of her agency’s strengths and weaknesses, she identified a gap. “We had a fantastic senior team and a fantastic junior team, but we needed people in the middle who’d be able to step up to more leadership and responsibility.” That’s when Ampersand’s relationship with Mathys+Potestio recruiter Nicole Holle began. Nicole seemed to understand the agency’s needs from the start. “She just got us. I’m not sure how she got us, but she did. She’s hit home run after home run for us.”
“Nicole worked in agencies, in some of the same roles she’s recruiting for. She knows what it’s like.”
One of the things that made the partnership different was a thorough, insightful vetting of candidates—beyond just ticking off boxes. That’s due, in part, to the fact that M+P recruiters come from creative industry backgrounds. “Nicole has worked in agencies, in some of the same roles she’s recruiting for. So she knows what it’s like,” noted Montgomery. “I think that experience makes her intuitive ability to find the right person really click.”
And M+P champions the candidates too. “They want it to be as good a fit for the candidate as it is for us.”
This has proven especially important at Ampersand—an agency with a close-knit team. “When you walk into the creative department, you get the sense that it’s a family. They even call it the AmperFam,” Cindy noted.
In a close-knit environment, personality and appreciation of culture are crucial. A candidate has to truly want to be a part of that family. So M+P’s two-sided vetting process has been huge.
“She only sends us two or three candidates, but they’re always spot on. The only thing we have to qualify is chemistry.”
Quality over Quantity
M+P’s thorough process limits the choices to a few top candidates. Other staffing agencies have sent over batches of 10 to 15 candidates for Ampersand to review, while M+P sends just a handful.
“We tell Nicole what’s important to us, and she believes us. She observes those qualities in people at a much deeper level. She looks for evidence. And she only sends us two or three candidates, but they’re always spot on. The only thing we have to qualify is chemistry.”
Staffing for Today, Planning for Tomorrow
According to Cindy, “M+P thinks about what Ampersand is today, and what we’ll become in the future.” As she looked ahead, Cindy recognized the importance of completing a succession plan that would strengthen her agency in the years to come. And to make that plan become a reality, you’ve got to have the right team in place.
“M+P thinks about what Ampersand is today, and what we’ll become in the future.”
So far, M+P has helped Ampersand assemble a team of individuals who are succeeding in current roles, and excited about becoming even more meaningful there in the future. And there’s just one more vital placement needed to complete the team.
“We see M+P as a partner in this journey. I used to send job postings to three different companies. Now it’s pretty much just down to them. I think M+P hires as well for themselves as they do for their clients. Nicole is an extraordinary judge of character. She knows how to make us fall in love with each other.”