Broadcast, print and electronic media are overflowing with news about the volatile economy. Real estate values are declining, and the jobless rate is rising. Obviously, this is not the best time to be out of work and shopping around your resume or furiously networking to land your next job. Is anybody hiring?
Even if you're one of the fortunate ones with a secure job, you never know what may come – good or bad. So it never hurts to be prepared just in case your job is downsized or you decide to branch out in a new direction.
When the time comes for career advancement or new challenges, having established networking contacts can be the difference between finding a job and finding the job.
And if you are on the other side of the hiring equation, an established network can be the difference between hiring someone and hiring the one.
But creating professional networks and conducting employment or employee searches are difficult tasks to accomplish on your own. That is where CSH Consulting Inc. comes in.
Based in Phoenix with a satellite office in Dallas, CSH is a recruitment firm focused solely on the payments industry. Founded in 2000 by President and Chief Executive Officer Curt Hensley, CSH connects top industry sales, operational, Internet technology and executive leadership talent with leading companies in the industry.
"Recruiting in the payments industry is all that we do, so it makes us very proficient at serving the merchant acquiring industry," said J.T. Driscoll, Vice President, Recruiting Services at CSH. "The combination of experience and specific knowledge of payments acceptance makes us a very unique and highly effective talent source."
Prior to founding CSH, Hensley and Driscoll worked together at an information technology staffing firm. While there, Hensley's largest clients included American Express Co., Vital Processing (now TSYS Acquiring Solutions) and a major POS integrator. He saw a need for a job placement business for the payments industry and decided he would be the one to fill it.
CSH's client roster includes ISOs, processors, POS manufacturers, payment gateway providers, financial institutions and just about any type of organization affiliated with the industry.
Candidates for employment do not pay for access to CSH's network; the company is compensated by the hiring companies. Fees are generally calculated as a percentage of the base salary for the hired position.
CSH's 27-person staff comprises 12 highly trained and experienced recruiters and 15 industry consultants; the average recruiter has a decade of relevant experience.
CSH places talent at all levels of the payments industry. But that wasn't always the case. The company was originally established to focus on executive level positions, and that segment remains a large part of its business. However, success in finding good jobs for higher level professionals has generated new opportunities for the company.
"Placing business leaders has opened up a lot of other levels of jobs to be filled, including merchant level sales recruiting," Driscoll said.
Hiring agents who are looking for applicants reach out to CSH. When industry professionals seek new opportunities, CSH is one of the places they call. However, the placement process begins much earlier than those initial contacts.
Hensley and Driscoll have worked to become part of the fabric of the industry so that when businesses are ready to hire, they are already aware of top candidates, or they know who to contact to scout high caliber talent. CSH's custom-built talent database exceeds 30,000 candidates. The process seems to be effective: The company recently completed its 1,200th placement in the payments industry.
Every CSH staff member participates in the company's networking efforts. Each day the team contacts industry professionals, matching each client's hiring needs with the very best talent.
"We've been able to help even the most well-connected hiring managers," Driscoll said. "Where they may know a good candidate or two for a particular search, with our help they would have a much larger candidate pool to interview, resulting in hiring the absolute best person for the job.
We will interview, in some cases, up to 100 candidates and narrow it down to the best three or four to present to our clients."
CSH is proactive in its talent search. "We call industry professionals, even though they are not looking for a new opportunity, to ask if they know who is the best," Hensley said.
This forward-looking process eliminates the stigma that if someone is talking to representatives of CSH, he or she must be looking for a new job. Hensley has had relationships with professionals for as long as 10 years before the timing was right for those individuals to make career moves.
Hensley and Driscoll are acutely aware of their clients' need for privacy, and they take that responsibility with utmost seriousness. "Working in a small niche, we have had to develop incredibly strict confidentiality guidelines," Hensley said. "We go to great lengths and err on the side of caution. We never share a resume with a client without express permission to do so."
Many industry players seem to jump from job to job. One day a merchant level salesperson works for ABC ISO; the next day he's moved to ISO XYZ. Some in the industry feel such job hopping reflects a lack of loyalty. However, Hensley believes it is just the opposite and attributes job fluidity to healthy business growth.
"Our industry is so dynamic," he said. "There is a lot of opportunity out there for great people to start their own companies. People have allegiances to those folks. There is a lot of loyalty in this industry, a lot of partnerships."
But Hensley stressed rapid employee turnover married with the equally fast growth of the industry is exactly why CSH is a valuable service. For companies experiencing brisk growth and expanding workforce needs, CSH is there to help.
Even if you are not in the market for a job today, Hensley advised now is the best time to start networking because valuable contacts and significant relationships do not happen overnight.
"Anyone with a year or more experience in payments and transactions, we would love to be talking to you and have you in our network," Hensley said. "We will keep your resume on file if you just want to know what is going on out there."
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9555 Lebanon Road
Frisco, TX 75035
Web site: www.cshconsulting.com