SI Review: April 2013

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The Buzz

A Different ‘PRSONA’

Online and traditional staffing models ‘become one’

By Andrew Karpie

The Landscape 

Recently, we have been calling attention to online staffing platforms, pointing to companies like NextCrew, WorkMarket and OnForce to argue that digital platform models open up new forms of work arrangements that can mean market opportunities as well as ways to innovate traditional staffing operational models. Still, the majority of companies we have profiled tend to skirt around the edges of actually being staffing firms in the “time-honored” sense

Improving the Old

But recently, we have begun to see some new firms that aim to provide the same basic services and outcomes to clients as traditional staffing firms do (direct perm hire, temporary workers), but more economically and faster by leveraging a redesigned model that is digital platform-based, highly self-service, and less labor intensive.

The Mission

One of these firms is a start-up called PRSONA, which is taking shape in the Los Angeles area. PRSONA was bootstrapped by brothers Branson Bollinger and Brendon Bollinger, who have now built a compliant staffing company that runs almost completely on an automated, digital platform. The business was officially launched last December after about a year of beta testing, and it is now ramping up to provide recruiting and temporary worker services primarily to businesses in the IT/software space.

Seeing the Gaps

“We saw the gaps in the staffing business, and understood the areas that needed to change,” says Branson Bollinger. “By making it possible for companies to lower their traditional hiring costs significantly, we can help usher in a new wave of job growth, transform an industry and make a difference in people’s lives. That’s what we set out to do.”

Radically Different

It puts pricing in the hands of the hiring manager by making markups dependent on the duration set for the contractor. There are also no buy-out fees, so when a contract is up, employers may choose to end it or extend it at a better rate. Further, hiring companies don’t pay anything until the candidate is hired for the job.

PRSONA also utilizes skill tests, allowing hiring managers to find talent quickly without having to wade through hundreds of unqualified applicants. Employers can also search directly for candidates that scored well in any skill and click to interview or hire without ever uploading a posting.

The Buzz

It is still early days for PRSONA, but it has emerged — three years in the making — as perhaps a new breed of staffing firm for the future.

Andrew Karpie, a research analyst at Staffing Industry Analysts, can be reached at akarpie@staffingindustry.com

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