Otsego business on cutting edge of change

by Bob Grawey

Staff writer

For many, the lingering recession meant big lifestyle changes as people lost their jobs and/or lost their homes to foreclosure.

Just as many companies were affected, too, as they were forced to close or downsize.

Now businesses in most every sector are beginning to rebound. That means filling positions once again, but it also means those positions have likely been reconfigured.

More of those companies are turning to CorTalent in Otsego for help in addressing changing needs and to save money by getting the biggest bang for their buck. And that means securing the right person for every position.

From left: Mary Nutting and Alissa Henriksen

Meet Alissa Henriksen. She owned Premier Alliance Group, a recruitment firm.

Meet Mary Nutting. She owned an assessment company called Main Consulting.

The two women began working together on client hiring needs. As they spent more time with companies in helping them meet their personnel needs, Henriksen and Nutting realized there was a greater, deeper need they could meet combining their expertise.

CorTalent was founded in May 2010 and has taken off on a high road of success, as companies around the United States are redirecting their hiring strategies through the women’s unique delivery of services.

The approach of CorTalent is far from taking a phone call about a company’s job postings over the phone. Henriksen says it begins with sitting down with a company’s hiring team to learn about its needs and the culture of the company.

“It’s a matter of soaking in everything about them,” Henriksen explains, “Their success, their failures and what makes them tick.”

The process begins with understanding a company’s values and whether it is growing or repositioning itself, as well as discovering what its business strategy is. That, Nutting says, is the most important foundation for their success.

“We help companies identify exactly who they’re looking for,” Nutting says. “So, it might be helping them with their job descriptions. It might be creating the ideal profile that goes beyond skills and experience the company is looking for. It has to do with a person’s traits, too. Then we teach them how to interview to find those combined skills and traits utilizing our assessment tools.”

That also involves looking at a company’s top talent and developing a people roadmap, as Nutting calls it, to make sure candidates for a new position fit that standard and company make-up.

Strategies in selecting that “right person for the job” are changing, though.

With a larger talent pool from recessionary layoffs to companies downsizing, it becomes even more important for businesses to select the right candidate. It is a matter of a company’s bottom line cost.

“One of the things that has changed,” Nutting says, “is that companies are rethinking their strategies and who will be successful in a new role. One of our skills is to help organizations look at positions differently and to look at the candidate pool differently.”

Now, according to Nutting, it is more than filling a position with someone who has a certain number of years’ experience.

Instead, there is a growing focus on a person’s make-up and whether that make-up gives them the ability to do the work involved in a given position. Experience is good, she says, but a person’s personality is just as important in the talent equation.

“We’re just taking a whole different approach,” Nutting adds, “to matching people with jobs.”

Determining if someone has the desired make-up for a job is done through CorTalent’s various assessment tools. That make-up includes things like excitement for the type of work involved in the position, how a candidate responds to a company’s culture and values, and if they share the vision of where the company sees itself going in coming years.

In finding that perfect fit, Henriksen says CorTalent makes sure jobs are posted in the right place and at the right time.

She adds that social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn are new avenues CorTalent uses to find top prospects.

“We create group pages and invite certain people to those groups who we feel fit what a company is looking for,” Henriksen explains. “We then might post anything from YouTube videos to articles of specific interest to the company’s culture; then see who responds.”

Henriksen and Nutting create a plan for a company’s recruiting needs, but they also rely on their assessment options to go beyond the recruitment plan.

“Our expertise is people,” Nutting says, “so we help companies develop good people strategies.”

Called on boarding, CorTalent checks back every 30 days with a newly hired employee to see how they are doing.

Henriksen says they want to make sure a new employee is getting the right training materials and to see if there is anything else the company can do to help them transition into the job.

CorTalent follows up with a new employee up to a year in order to help them fully assimilate into the company’s culture, as well as to make sure their skills are being completely realized in meeting the needs of that position.

“We’re going to stick around and make sure someone is going to be successful in that company,” Nutting emphasizes. “We’re going to help a company by giving them the tools to be successful.”

It also helps companies avoid costly turnover and underachievement.

“We care. We truly care,” Henriksen says. “Customer service, honesty and integrity are what we truly stand for. If a company doesn’t value people as an important asset, it isn’t a good fit for us.”


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