Capital TechSearch knows how to keep its clients coming back. It’s all about relationships, says Dave Ingram, president and chief executive officer of the executive search and information technology staffing firm.

He started the company as an executive search firm in 2001 and added IT staffing services three years later.
“We build phenomenal relationships with our clients, employees, and candidates,” he says. “Building relationships helps us successfully perform for our clients.”

Repeat business accounts for 80% of the Richmond, VA-based firm’s revenues. The firm’s revenues grew 100.5% between 2005 and 2008, earning the company a spot on the Inc. 5,000—Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2009. The firm also made the list in 2008, reporting revenue growth of 165.1% within the previous three years.

Capital TechSearch builds long-term relationships with clients, candidates, and employees by cultivating client confidence, communicating the firm’s value, and seeking to do the right thing in business.

Cultivate Confidence

“Our clients have confidence that we will make every decision with their best interests in mind,” says Ingram. To help employees keep these interests in mind, Capital TechSearch ensures that its employees receive thorough training. The company endorses the ASA Technical Services Certified™ professional certification program. “All of our internal employees go through our training and certification process. Many also obtain the TSC certification through ASA to learn how to promote the best candidates and stay within the bounds of employment law.”

The firm’s 12-step recruiting process aims to provide clients with top-grade talent that fits their organizations best. “Our 12-step process ensures our candidates are thoroughly screened, which leads to a higher probability of success,” says Ingram.

The process is based on executive search methodology that Ingram says highly emphasizes that a candidate’s technical skills—the ability to do the job—and soft skills—the personal attributes that enhance job performance (e.g., leadership, communication, teamwork capabilities, and more)—are a good match for a client’s organization.

“The ability to properly determine a candidate’s skill set and fit results in lower turnover, increased contract-to-hire
conversation rates, and makes clients more successful,” says Ingram.

Communicate Value

Keeping clients informed is one way that Capital TechSearch communicates its value to clients and candidates. “Our clients are interested in our metrics,” says Ingram. “In the past three years, we’ve had a contract-to-hire conversion rate of 86%, which ensures success for our clients and contractors. And for every 3.7 résumés we send to a client, the client typically hires one of our candidates.”

The conversion rate is the number of contract-to-hire employees who become permanent employees of a client. The submittal rate assesses the number of résumés it takes to fill a job. Ingram says the firm’s submittal rate for some clients is below three. “These are rock-solid numbers that demonstrate our focus on quality and in turn make our clients more successful.”

Communicating the firm’s metrics helps Capital TechSearch evaluate potential clients and secure viable business relationships. “If a client is looking for a firm to simply send bulk résumés, it’s not necessarily a great fit for us,” says Ingram. “If we’re working for a national company looking for a local presence in Richmond or in the mid-Atlantic area, we want to engage them. We need to have people who are counting on us. We want to make sure that we’re not wasting our clients’ or candidates’ time.”

Do the Right Thing

Ingram says it’s sometimes hard to exercise the discipline required to provide clients with the very best candidates for the job, but he acknowledges that it’s worthwhile in the end. “We try to do the right thing every single time, even if it means not making a placement,” he says.

Choosing not to make a placement has been the best choice for the firm, the client, and the candidate, in some circumstances. “We were working on a permanent placement deal for a client, and a competitor was working on the deal too,” recounts Ingram.
“We had the lead candidate at the time, but we started to notice that it might not be the right fit, so we pulled our candidate out of the running. The client hired our competitor’s candidate. Our candidate could have gotten the job, but it wouldn’t have
lasted long.”

Capital TechSearch has since developed a solid business relationship with that client due to that decision. The firm values its relationships with its temporary and contract employees too. “We don’t believe in the commoditization of the individual,” says Ingram. “We don’t view our consultants as pieces of paper that go to work for our clients. We want to place our consultants in environments where they can meet their own personal and professional goals and meet clients’ needs at the same time.”

Taking the long view has helped the firm secure strong relationships—the foundation for repeat business. “We may lose short-term opportunities, but the long-term gains allow us to build opportunities for our clients,” says Ingram.

© 2010 by the American Staffing Association