Starfish Partners Acquires INNOVA People

PLANO, Texas – Starfish Partners, an international investment and ownership platform for niched professional and mid- to upper-management search specialists, announced the acquisition of INNOVA People, an Oregon-based firm that works across North America placing supplemental talent in the Healthcare and Technology industries. CEO Joel Slenning, with his over two decades of experience and the INNOVA People team will expand Starfish Partners’ reach into the Healthcare and Technology industry by continuing to utilize their unique technology stack and artificial Intelligence platform that has allowed the firm to be recognized as an essential staffing partner for the Healthcare and Technology industry.

Joel Slenning, founder of INNOVA People shared, “For so many years now, the team that drives Starfish Partners has been coveted advisors to the businesses that I have built and managed. The opportunity to partner directly with this team, as well as bring a whole new dimension and business offering to Starfish Partners in Healthcare Staffing, is incredibly exciting and a long time coming.”

Joel is one of those rare combinations of superior capabilities and production as a search professional while also establishing himself as an extraordinary leader, having built several firms in the industry. Joel is a visionary but also one who can execute and implement with excellence. We are very fortunate to welcome Joel as an owner and are thrilled his team has joined as well,” shared Jeff Kaye.

Starfish Partners provides capital for recruiting firms looking to scale, as well as exit strategies for owners seeking to secure value for their firm in cash and/or stock. It also provides liquidity and the ability to monetize some value while simultaneously providing equity opportunities for key producers and leaders. The collective revenues of Starfish Partners will exceed $300 million annually while continuing to pursue aggressive growth through a variety of mergers, acquisitions, and capital infusion activities.

Learn more at www.starfishpartners.com.

September Jobs Report: Strong Hiring Defies Economic Challenges

In a surprising turn of events, job growth in September exceeded expectations, signaling the resilience of the U.S. economy in the face of rising interest rates. According to the most recent employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, payroll employment surged by 336,000 during the month, surpassing the Dow Jones consensus estimate of 170,000 and exceeding the previous month’s figures by over 100,000. Simultaneously, the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent, in contrast to the projected 3.7%.


This payroll increase marked the most robust monthly performance since January. However, wage growth proved to be more modest than anticipated, with average hourly earnings rising by 0.2% for the month and 4.2% year-on-year, falling slightly short of estimates of 0.3% and 4.3%, respectively.


Regarding industry sectors, leisure and hospitality led the charge by adding 96,000 new jobs. Other notable gainers included the government sector (73,000 jobs), healthcare (41,000 jobs), and professional, scientific, and technical services (29,000 jobs). Conversely, motion picture and sound recording positions decreased by 5,000, reflecting a 45,000-job decline since May due to labor disputes in Hollywood.


The service-related industries played a significant role in the overall job growth, contributing 234,000 jobs, while goods-producing industries added 29,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings within the leisure and hospitality sector remained unchanged for the month but showed a robust increase of 4.7% compared to the previous year.


The private sector outperformed earlier predictions, with an impressive gain of 263,000 jobs, far exceeding the earlier estimate of just 89,000.


The September employment report underscores the positive momentum in the United States job market, with notable growth in the leisure, hospitality, government, and healthcare sectors. This resilience in employment numbers is particularly noteworthy in light of ongoing economic challenges. Although slightly below expectations, wage growth continues to exhibit positive trends in average hourly earnings.

10 Steps to Hiring the Best Candidate for Your Team

Hiring the best candidate for your team is crucial for the success and growth of your organization. The process of finding the right fit can be challenging, but with a well-structured strategy, you can significantly increase your chances of making a successful hire.

1. Define the Job Role Clearly

The first step in the hiring process is creating a clear, candidate-focused job description. Outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for the role. Be specific about the skills and experience required, as well as the cultural fit and values that are important for your organization.


2. Use a Recruiting Firm

Don’t limit your search to a single job board or your internal recruiting team. Use multiple sourcing channels, including recruiting firms specializing in the roles. Our AI platform sources highly qualified, diverse talent faster and more accurately because of our vast experience and deep tech stack. Partnering with a firm like INNOVA People allows you to cast a wider net and reach a diverse pool of candidates.

3. Screen Resumes and Applications

If using a recruiting firm, we only bring you the most qualified candidates, so you don’t have to screen countless resumes. Review resumes and applications carefully to identify candidates who meet the basic qualifications outlined in your job description. Look for relevant experience, skills, and a demonstrated interest in the position.


4. Assess Cultural Fit

During the interview process, assessing cultural fit is as important as evaluating skills and experience. Consider the values, beliefs, and work ethic that are important to your organization, and ask questions that help you gauge whether the candidate aligns with your company culture.


5. Test Technical Skills

For roles that require specific technical skills, consider using skills assessments or practical tests to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency. This step can help you identify candidates with the hands-on experience needed for the job.


6. Check References

Contact the candidate’s references to gather insights about their past performance, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. This step can help you verify the candidate’s information and better understand their potential fit within your organization.

7. Evaluate Soft Skills

Soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are often just as essential as technical skills. Pay attention to how candidates interact during interviews and their ability to adapt to different situations.

8. Consider Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are essential for building a solid and innovative team. Make a conscious effort to consider candidates from diverse backgrounds and create an inclusive hiring process that minimizes bias.

9. Make a Data-Driven Decision

Compile all the information you’ve gathered about each candidate and make a data-driven decision. Consider the candidate’s qualifications, interview performance, cultural fit, and feedback from references and assessments.

10. Let INNOVA People do all the heavy lifting

We also consider the seniority of the position and candidates’ skills that aren’t evident from their CVs. As a people-first company, we know how to connect to candidates, screen them, and only present top talent.


11. Onboarding and Support

Find hiring tools that meet your needs; once you’ve successfully found and placed talent within your organization, the recruitment process isn’t quite finished. An effective onboarding strategy and ongoing support can improve employee retention and reduce the costs of needing to hire again in the future.


Hiring the best candidate is a critical task requiring careful planning and a systematic approach. Don’t be afraid to hire a recruiting firm specializing in the role you’re trying to fill. Remember that the hiring process is not just about finding someone with the right skills; it’s about finding the right fit for your team and your organization’s long-term success.



Resume Red Flags

When reviewing resumes, it’s essential to look for red flags that could indicate issues with a candidate’s qualifications, experience, or fit for the role.

Here are some typical resume red flags to watch out for:

  1. Unexplained Employment Gaps: Frequent or unexplained gaps in a candidate’s employment history might raise questions about their consistency or reliability.
  2. Frequent Job Changes: While job changes are expected, excessive short-term positions could indicate a lack of commitment or difficulty working within teams or organizations.
  3. Lack of Relevant Experience: If a candidate’s experience doesn’t align with the job requirements or is heavily skewed towards unrelated roles, they might not be well-suited for the position.
  4. Inconsistent Dates: Mismatched dates for education, employment, or other sections could indicate inaccuracies or potential dishonesty.
  5. Overemphasis on Soft Skills: While soft skills are important, an overly vague or excessive focus on them might be an attempt to compensate for a lack of relevant technical or job-specific skills.
  6. Exaggerated Responsibilities and Achievements: If a candidate’s accomplishments seem too grandiose or lack context, they could stretch the truth or inflate their contributions.
  7. Lack of Quantifiable Achievements: Vague statements without specific accomplishments or quantifiable results can indicate a lack of impact in previous roles.
  8. Mismatched Job Titles: If a candidate’s job titles don’t align with their level of responsibility or the roles they are applying for, it could be an attempt to appear more qualified.
  9. Unprofessional Email Address: A non-professional or inappropriate email address might indicate a lack of attention to detail or professionalism.
  10. Spelling and Grammar Errors: Multiple errors in spelling and grammar can indicate a lack of attention to detail and communication skills.
  11. Incomplete Information: Missing information or incomplete sections on the resume could suggest laziness or a lack of thoroughness.
  12. Unrelated Hobbies and Interests: While personal interests can provide insight into a candidate’s personality, including irrelevant or controversial hobbies might distract from their professional qualifications.
  13. Lack of Customization: A generic resume not tailored to the specific job or company might indicate a lack of genuine interest or effort that could translate to job performance.
  14. Suspicious References: Listing references that seem too familiar or overly enthusiastic might indicate a lack of objectivity or honesty.
  15. Excessive Personal Information: Personal information such as age, marital status, or a photo isn’t relevant to job qualifications and could lead to biases in the hiring process.
  16. Technology Resumes that List Every Code Language Under the Sun: Software Engineers that display so many technologies that they are supposedly skilled at is a huge red flag. Software Engineers who are truly skilled in a certain tech stack display their tech chops in that tech stack. They don’t need to list every single technology they may have been exposed to in their educational and professional career.
  17. Job Description Resumes: Resumes that just list the job title and then proceed to rattle off the job description of the role that the professional had held can be a yellow flag when looking to hire this person. Resumes should not only be a place where experience, education, and skills are displayed, but most importantly, it is where candidates should list accomplishments. If these are missing, you will want to explore whether they can articulate what they are proud of or what they feel are accomplishments in their past experience.


Sometimes, there might be reasonable explanations for certain discrepancies or issues. If you notice any red flags, consider addressing them during the interview to understand the candidate’s background and qualifications better. Our recruiters can screen for these red flags using our technology, so you’re not wasting time sifting through countless resumes. We only bring you the most qualified candidates to fit your needs.


Five Tools to Improve Productivity

If you want to spend less time on daily tasks, we’re bringing you five productivity hacks to help you work smarter and faster. 


Stop Over checking your email. 

The average
 professional spends 28% of the workday reading and answering emails. For the average full-time worker in America, that amounts to a staggering 2.6 hours spent and 120 messages received per day. 


That’s a lot of time spent in your inbox. 


Professionals check their email on average 15 times per day, roughly every 37 minutes. Considering most people do not expect a response within that time frame: Only 11% of customers/clients and 8% of coworkers expect a response in less than an hour. At the same time, about 40% of people expect a response in about an hour. If people checked their email hourly rather than every 37 minutes, they could cut six email checks from their day and save 21 minutes. 


Turn off notifications and instead check your email hourly. We know you can do it. 


Calendars aren’t just for meetings.

study out of the University of California Irvine found that employees are interrupted, on average, once every three minutes. After an interruption, it may take people 23 minutes to refocus.


Use your calendar to time block to finish specific projects, work on strategic initiatives, or take a break. Fewer interruptions in your productivity flow can lead to more profound focus work.

Turn on the Do Not Disturb or Focus mode on your phone and laptop to pause notifications. 



Consolidate your work apps.

Overwhelmed by the number of apps you have to handle every day? And the number of tabs you have open? Reduce toggling time between apps and bring all your work into one centralized hub. You can also use app integrations to connect all your most-used apps for a seamless workflow like 
Shift. This small hack will open up more time for essential and deep work and clear your way to productivity land. 


Eat breakfast.

We know we aren’t your mom, but research shows skipping breakfast can lead to difficulty concentrating. How are you supposed to be productive if you can’t focus? According to the Harvard Business Review, food, or lack thereof, affects our cognitive performance and decision-making. 


“Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert,” psychologist Ron Friedman said. “When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused, and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach.”


Short on time in the morning, plan your meals the night before. 


Stop multitasking; it’s a myth. 

Our brains aren’t wired to do more than one thing at a time. Even when it feels like you’re getting two tasks done simultaneously, you’re switching between two tasks at lightning speed. This process—called task switching—takes precious brainpower, even if you don’t realize it. 
Research showed that even these brief mental blocks due to context switching cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time. Because it takes mental effort to switch between cognitive tasks, multitasking affects your ability to get work done efficiently and effectively. 


It’s almost always more efficient to monotask: Focus on one thing and move on when you’re done, so you don’t pay unnecessary switching taxes.

How Taking 5 to Meditate Can Improve Your Leadership Skills

From the moment the alarm goes off, you’re inundated with distractions. The pull to respond to the notifications on your phone, emails fill your inbox, and requests pile up. Within moments your attention is scattered.

As our lives have become filled with technology, the distractions we face have increased exponentially. With it, our ability to focus has diminished, but our need to think clearly to make complex decisions has not. More than ever, leaders need to train themselves to be fully present.

How can mindfulness meditation help?

Incorporating meditation into daily practice can help reduce stress, improve decision-making, increase focus, enhance creativity, and boost emotional resilience. Avoid burnout and reduce negative thinking.

The fundamental concept underlying meditation is the intentional act of being still. This can prove to be challenging in a society that values busyness, but its benefits have been scientifically proven.

Now it’s more convenient than ever to learn how to meditate on your own. Popular apps such as Headspace, Sattva, Buddhify, Calm, Healthy Minds Program, and the Mindfulness App, help those discover the benefits of this ancient old practice and guide you along the way. Its benefits have also caught the eye of the business world, as companies like Apple, Google, Ford Motor Company, Nike, McKesson, and American Express offer employees training in meditation programs to enhance leadership skills. Cloud computing giant, Salesforce created “mindfulness zones,” or quiet areas, on every floor of its building in San Francisco.


According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report, 75% of Americans believe that workers today have more on-the-job stress than people did a generation ago. Constant anxiety increases the risk of mental and health ailments ranging from mood and sleep disorders to cardiovascular disease to musculoskeletal problems to having a negative impact on your relationships and productivity. The estimated $300 billion each year costs U.S. businesses due to absenteeism, turnover, disabilities, and reduced productivity.


David Gelles explains in his book, “Mindful Work,” that a highly stressed employee requires more healthcare spending by the company as compared to a less stressed employee. However, the implementation of mindfulness programs by companies has resulted in decreased healthcare costs.


Pause and take a breath.


Mindfulness meditation, at its origin, is a style of meditation that involves paying attention to sensations, feelings, and thoughts in a non-judgmental way. Research shows that 15 minutes of mindfulness-based meditation results in more rational thinking when making business decisions.

Leaders who focus on mindfulness at work tend to have happier employees and improved morale, according to the results found in this study. Mind training, of which meditation is one form, can change the composition of your mind. Research by Wisconsin’s Richard Davidson demonstrated a direct correlation between mindfulness and changes in the brain – away from anger and anxiety and toward a sense of

calm and well-being. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center found meditation can improve executive functions (sustaining attention, diminishing distractibility) better than medication in many cases.


What are ways you’re incorporating mindfulness meditation into your business? We’d love to hear what kind of results you are seeing.