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Staffing Firms Top Inc. List Of Fastest Growing in HR

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From the giant IPO-bound staffing firm Staffmark Holdings, to Indianapolis’ 14-person HR services firm FlashPoint, 156 self-described human resource companies made the annual Inc. list of the 5,000 fastest growing businesses in the U.S.

Inc. ranks the companies, all privately held, by growth rate; the faster revenue increased over three years, the higher the company ranks. By that measure, HR staffing and services firm Nextaff was first among the HR companies that volunteered to participate. (Participation requires companies to divulge annual revenue, employee counts and growth, etc. Only some companies are willing to publicize that kind of proprietary information.)

Nextaff reported 2010 revenue of $72.1 million, a 1,167 percent jump over the last three years. In 2007, the company reported it generated $5.7 million with only nine employees. Now it has 12.

Of the top ten firms on the list, eight are staffing and placement firms, with several specializing in IT and engineering. That’s in line with the strong demand in the last 18 months for tech workers. It’s also evidence that employers turn to temps and contractors at the early stage of a recovery before committing to hiring permanent workers.

In 3rd and 5th place among the listed companies are Jobfox and BountyJobs, respectively. Both companies are familiar to recruiters.

Jobfox, launched in 2004 by former CareerBuilder CEO and founder Rob McGovern, is a network of networks where job seekers and jobs are matched, recruiters mingle with candidates, and referrals of friends who get hired earn rewards.

BountyJobs is a network of pre-qualified headhunters and independent recruiters, and companies with reqs. Employers set fees and post jobs that interested recruiters can then bid on. It’s three-year growth of 881 percent, took it from $1.6 million in 2007 to $16.2 million last year, not only placing it high on the HR list, but 389th out of all 5,000 firms.

CEO Mike Hard, who piloted BountyJobs though the most turbulent economic years since the 1930s, emailed to say, “Fifth place is an eye-opener, but no HR department that regularly uses headhunters is going to be shocked at the emergence of BountyJobs and the category in general. When people hear about what BountyJobs does they say, ‘What took you so long?’.”

Hard attributed a big part of the growth to existing customers, many of whom, he noted, are among the Fortune 500. BountyJobs, he said, handles the contingent search jobs of more than a third of the Fortune 500 employers in the U.S.

I also pinged McGovern, but haven’t heard back. However, the Inc. report placed Jobfox at 352 on the 5000 list. The company grew from $1.2 million in 2007 to $12.9 million last year, a 963 percent increase.

Besides the companies that described themselves as HR, the Inc. 5000 has others with extensive HR business and clients. Jobs2Web, the SEO firm that optimizes job postings and enhances their online visibility, is listed among the software firms. It’s $9.9 million in revenue last year was 824 percent ahead of 2007, ranking it 419 overall.

About the author: John Zappe was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. Never a recruiter, he instead built online employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. As VP of one large media operation, his employment revenue alone approached $2.5 million. Besides writing for ERE, John consults with digital content operations, focusing on the advertising side. And when he’s not doing either, he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility events.


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