Recruitment Business Growth: Increasing Revenue by 891% During the Pandemic, with Justin Satterfield, Ep # 58

Like most recruiters, Norwood Staffing’s sales took a nosedive in March 2020.

They were coming off a record year, having achieved growth of 504% in 2019. That trend looked set to continue and the business was booming at the beginning of 2020.  Suddenly in March, the Coronavirus hit and sales came crashing back down to earth. From averaging 60 recs in Q1, they went to zero jobs in Q2.

Yet in spite of a terrible Q2 and Q3, Norwood Staffing bounced back and went on to have a record year with revenue growth of 891%.  Listen into my interview with Norwood’s founder and president, Justin Satterfield as he explains the factors that contributed to their extraordinary come back.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [2:01] How Norwood Staffing dealt with the pandemic after a strong 2019.
  • [8:30] Hiring more people while your revenue is decreasing – what was Justin thinking?
  • [16:05] Justin reveals how he got 891% revenue growth during the pandemic.
  • [23:04] Insightful idea on managing your team in a difficult time.
  • [27:33] Physical conferences vs. virtual events – which would you prefer? 
  • [36:46] What was Justin’s biggest challenge in growing his business?
  • [43:05] Continuous growth: Norwood Staffing’s mid and long term plans.
  • [48:52] Recruiting recruiters: 4 keys to attracting and retaining the best people
  • [57:55] What’s Justin reading? Here are his latest book recommendations.

How Justin Grew Revenue by 891% During the Pandemic

In our last conversation beginning of the year 2020, Justin and I talked about how he built his company close to a million dollars in the first three years before the pandemic. Justin shared, “We were really coming out of a strong 2019, I was very excited about 2020. Twenty-nineteen was our first year to have a team… we grew 504% that year. So going into 2020 I’m pumped, right? This is just going to be an incredible year.” 

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. This is how he described the impact “Rolling into Q1, we were averaging 60+ recs on the board, we were doing absolutely fantastic, really moving along. Then March came. A lot of people were like, ‘Oh, you’re in healthcare, I’m sure staffing is great in healthcare.’ No. No, it wasn’t.”  From averaging 60 recs, they went to zero jobs in Q2. 

How did Justin adapt to the challenge? It started with his mindset. “This is where real business leaders are defined. There is always an opportunity, no matter what the market is.” He considered the market at the time as a ‘great time to hire.’ He focused on the opportunity and built his team. Having grown by 504% in 2019, they achieved another record year in 2020 growing by 891%!

Be the Positive in Someone’s Day

One of the main contributors to Norwood Staffing’s incredible growth during the recession is the relationships they were able to build pre-pandemic. As it was really difficult to start new contracts last year, Justin’s approach was simple, “it was really just sticking to the folks that we already built relationships with and vetting that out. Really not much more to it.” 

Referring to the relationships he build over the years, how did Justin keep in touch without seeming too “salesy” or just asking for business? Justin shared, “Picking up a phone and having a conversation. Everybody was having a tough time… be a human. Let’s have a conversation, be the positive in someone’s day.”

Hiring Process to Bring in the Best Recruiters

Recruiting & staffing firm owners know how difficult it can be to hire superstar recruiters for your own team. We discussed the high attrition rate that is common in our industry and how Justin focuses on hiring rockstars and retaining them for the long term.  Justin shared his best practices:

  • Maintain a really good brand
  • Pay your people well
  • Treating people like adults
  • Vet out the candidate’s personality and philosophy

Considering the finite talent pool of experienced top-performers, how is Justin able to build his team of superstars remotely? Listen to the full interview to learn Justin’s strategy!

Justin Satterfield Bio and Contact Info

Justin Satterfield has always been a huge people-person, and the notion that the good life is built with good relationships is the foundation of his personal philosophy and lifestyle. Whether he is spending time with a close friend or meeting someone in passing, he cherishes good conversation and revels in the opportunity to make a lasting memory. Justin was also the kid loading up his lunchbox with candy from home and selling it at school in the 3rd grade (great margins, thanks Mom!).

So, it is no surprise that he now works in an industry where his love for people and business is a happy marriage. Knowing his efforts impact the bottom line and coaching the talent he works with to attain the unattainable is what motivates him to bring his maverick personality to seek mastery in this ever-evolving industry.

After gaining valuable experience with a start-up staffing agency, he joined one of the largest firms in the nation where he climbed to the top 4% in the company across all industries in less than two years. He was a key contributor in taking a relatively new HIM staffing team from the start-up phase to the highest-grossing team in the company. Creating a new business with over 150 hospitals and 5 consulting groups across 27 states, he gained the experience, knowledge and reputation he needed to pursue his own dreams — Welcome to Norwood Staffing Solutions.

Founded in 2016, Norwood has remained privately owned with no investors, partnerships or financial backing. His bootstrapped company is quickly becoming a well-known competitor in the industry supporting a number of large health systems nationally with trusted sourcing and successful placements.

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