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August 2014
Issue: July 1, 2007

RECRUITING: PLAYING MATCHMAKER

By: Randi Altman
NEW YORK - At a job that doesn’t challenge you anymore, or just need a change? Are you a studio owner looking for a talented artist or producer who would fit your company’s culture and creative needs? Pavement Staffing (www.pavementinc.com) says they’ll hit the ground running to find you a situation that works.

This recruitment company, run by post production veteran Rick Cordero, knows this industry and knows what it is studios need from a new hire. “We are industry pros who decided to get into recruiting,” he says. “We aren’t recruiters who decided to get into this business. So when a client calls us, we know exactly what they mean when they say, ‘we need a senior-level designer.’”

The industry has changed, and “you have to be creative in how you hire and retain people,” he says. “I work with clients and get them to be creative in the hiring process.”

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Cordero’s post studio career began at Editel, NY, and eventually led him to Miami, where he was VP/GM of BVI. Recruiting of talent and talent retention was a large part of his job at what is now Manhattan Transfer Miami. “Being in Miami, which is a small post community, for every 10 people you hired, I’d say that almost half were out of state or out of the country. I was hiring employees from receptionist to creative directors, dealing with immigration — 40 percent of the  client base was from Latin America — so there was a lot of relocating people.” (He says after 9/11, it became harder to hire from abroad due to a limited amount of Visas issued a year, among other things.)

But Cordero grew tired with the day-to-day job of running a studio; he had been doing this kind of job for a long time. “I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so I asked myself, ‘What can I do and not throw away 20 years of experience and need a million dollars to start it?’ I knew how difficult it was as a person running post houses to find talent, so I felt there was a market for it.”

And he was right. Seven years ago BVI became his first client. Today, with five full-time employees, his client list includes studios such as Nice Shoes, Bionic, Chemistry, Pure, Guava, 2000 Strong, The Millennium Group and Creative Bubble, for which he has placed over 25 people.

GETTING THE JOB DONE

“Rick Cordero has a knack for matching the right creatives to a particular company’s culture,” says Rob Ortiz, managing director of NYC’s Creative Bubble. “Just about anyone can find high-end talent, but Pavement Staffing brings us professionals that are the right fit and yield a high success rate. He is someone we can trust."

Pavement has a database of about 4,000 applicants, many of whom supply links to demo reels. “We recruit talent from all around the country,” says Cordero, who reports 70 new emails a day from new applicants. They fill anywhere from 10 to 15 positions a month, and the usual timeframe — from getting the order to someone starting the job — is probably 30 days.
Some companies keep Pavement on retainer for all of their hiring needs, but others reach out only when the need arises. These companies end up paying a percentage of the new hire’s first-year salary. This is a one-time fee. The applicant never pays. Cordero says there are also guarantees in place, just in case a hire doesn’t work out.

But Pavement works hard to prevent that from happening often by making sure the studio and the hire are a good fit. “Our interview process is very involved,” he says — they spend as much time interviewing clients as they do interviewing applicants to ensure everyone will be happy with the placement.

“There is a lot that goes into placing someone in a position. We really make sure it’s the perfect match and that everyone benefits,” says Cordero.

They also handle all of the negotiations. “The relationship with Pavement starts after the placement,” he says, adding that they also act as career counselors. “I get calls from applicants two or three years later asking for advice about a new contract.”

NOT JUST STAFFING

Pavement also offers consulting services, which includes career counseling, as well as management and sales management training.

“These services have been very effective to a number of industry professionals thanks to my 20 years of experience, specifically in management and in sales,” says Cordero. “A lot of times owners know they want to grow their business but they are busy with day-to-day work and aren’t sure where to start. Thanks to our research and experience we can make the path a lot clearer for them.”

The company just moved into a new space in November of last year and will start holding seminars — targeted at individuals, business owners and managers in the industry — on staying prepared and competitive.

Whatever it takes to create the perfect match.