Peter Joniec and Gene Nussbaum
A niche-focused recruiting firm fulfilling the staffing needs of the insurance industry
Gene Nussbaum and Peter Joniec are the founders of The Jonus Group. Based in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Jonus Group specializes in recruiting for the insurance industry, connecting carriers, agencies, brokers, wholesalers, and other kinds of insurance companies with qualified, motivated candidates when they need them. Gene is seasoned insurance and recruiting expert with close to 30 years in the industry. Peter is United States Navy veteran who began his career as an insurance recruiter in 2007. The company’s name is a portmanteau of the two men’s last names.
EDWIN WARFIELD: How does technology aid you in recruiting, and how has it changed what you do?
PETER JONIEC: What we like to do at The Jonus Group is continue to go forward looking at new technologies such as LinkedIn and various other resources. Every day, we’re looking at different things, talking to different companies and firms that are either in recruiting or recruiting support—or even sales support—to see what kind of technologies are out there that allow us to reach out to track candidates to stay ahead of our competition. But with that, we also keep an eye on the past and always push that our people continue to make phone calls, and reach out, and build relationships in that manner. As far as The Jonus Group goes, we are very technology-forward. We always aim for all our recruiters to have as many resources as possible and to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, just like they are in the office.
GENE NUSSBAUM: It’s interesting because I started in 1987, and think about it: no internet, no computers on your desk—I don’t even think there was a fax machine back then. So I’ve seen the industry change over 30 years in many different ways and we’ve got to keep up. We’ve got to make ourselves viable in this marketplace, and we want to give our people those tools to continue to grow and be successful.
I remember one time I got off the phone with candidate and they gave me 20 names. This was before there was LinkedIn—and LinkedIn makes it easier to call people—so I went to somebody and said, “I just got 20 names!” He said, “Okay, now you’re going to call them.” And that’s the problem: if you don’t call them and build the relationships and have those conversations, you have nothing—you don’t gather information. And that’s what we try to teach our people and train our people because, in this marketplace, the technology has taken over and people avoid the phone in some cases.
Q. How do you make sure you stand apart from your competitors?
PETER JONIEC: The things that separate us we feel from our competitors are the fact that we are engaged with our employees. We’re very personal with our employees as far as knowing them. We joke around with them, they’re free to come into our office. We work with them hand in hand. We know each and every one of our employees, from the newest employee who started this week all the way to the people who have been here all along the way; we know them quite well. I think we build very strong bonds in a sense. Now, can that continue as we go to 50 or 100 employees? We hope so. We know there is only so much time in the day, but at the same time, we feel that that is one thing that has allowed us to stand apart from our competition.
GENE NUSSBAUM: And as far as our competitive nature in the industry, we believe that between the technological growth and our expenditures in technology, and always looking into the next best thing and keeping up with what’s going on and changes in the industry, we want to be ahead of the curve, and we feel that has helped us grow into one of the largest insurance recruiting firms that we know of. We’ve noticed that we’re filling more jobs than our competition, because a candidate will tell you that they’re ready to take a job, and then they turn it down at the last second to take our job, so I guess we’re doing something possibly better than our competition at that point.
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ABOUT NEWMARK GRUBB KNIGHT FRANK
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently-owned offices, NGKF's 14,100 professionals operate from more than 400 offices in established and emerging property markets on six continents.
With roots dating back to 1929, NGKF's strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. NGKF's full-service platform comprises BGC's real estate services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, landlords, investors and developers a wide range of services including leasing; capital markets services, including investment sales, debt placement, appraisal, and valuation services; commercial mortgage brokerage services; as well as corporate advisory services, consulting, project and development management, and property and corporate facilities management services. For further information, visit www.ngkf.com.
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