Wise Temple Partners with JVS Career Services: Ups Talent Game, Lets Staff Focus on Big Picture

“We had ample reason to trust, from the quality resumes we got, that JVS Career Services worked well on our behalf. It was a robust effort with good strong vetting, all in a timely fashion. Their response was good at every step.” —Rabbi Lewis Kamrass

When Rabbi Lewis Kamrass and the Wise Temple Board of Trustees were looking to fill a senior position—a role “critical to all that we do,” says Rabbi Kamrass—they considered multiple options.

At Wise, staffing numbers aren’t necessarily increasing, but needs are constantly evolving, says Rabbi Kamrass. “Every time we need to find new staff, we don’t just go back and dust off the old job description; it’s an opportunity to expand the role and to think in new ways.”

In the past, the synagogue had conducted most searches internally, listing openings in various places including with JVS Career Services. In more recent years, when critical talent and specials skills were needed, they had sometimes used search firms to broaden the candidate pool beyond local and regional talent. For this position, says the rabbi, “we knew we wanted a national search.”

In the meantime however, JVS Career Services had developed into a full-service search firm, so the synagogue met with the team there as one of their options for filling this critical position.

“We were impressed with the new platform they had established for high-level talent search and recruitment,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “We asked carefully about how they would reach beyond the local and regional level, and were satisfied and pleased with their answers.” The Wise Temple search team included people with extensive experience in the for-profit world, he adds, where engaging search firms has long been routine.

Wise Temple chose JVS Career Services. “It wasn’t simply because we met them and liked them,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “This was a decision we made thoughtfully, from our earliest design of the position through our strategy for filling it.”

It was a good decision. First, reports the rabbi, the team at Wise appreciated the fact that the staff at JVS Career Services are accustomed to dealing with the unique needs of not-for-profits—in the Jewish world specifically, as well as in not-for-profit Cincinnati. “But their reach for talent wasn’t just in those worlds,” he adds; “They were in conversation with talented people regionally and nationally whose skills had been honed in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, and could be put to use in ours.”

As resumes came in, the team at Wise was even more encouraged. “We had ample reason to trust, from the quality resumes we got, that JVS Career Services worked well on our behalf,” says Rabbi Kamrass. “It was a robust effort with good strong vetting, all in a timely fashion. Their response was good at every step.”

The search went more quickly and smoothly than expected. The position has been filled for more than a year now, and Wise Temple has since turned to JVS Career Services to help fill two more positions, one a department head position with responsibility at the synagogue’s Amberly location as well as downtown at Plum Street Temple.

The other position filled was an administrative role, requiring important skills but the kind of position for which Wise Temple hadn’t considered enlisting a search firm until recently.

These most recent successes underscore how the synagogue’s learning has evolved when it comes to recruitment.

For any nonprofit, hiring an outside firm can, at a glance, seem like too great a cost. But that doesn’t consider what Rabbi Kamrass calls the “opportunity cost,” the potential detrimental effects of conducting a search internally. These effects might not be measured in a budget, he points out. “But distracting staff people whose primary skill isn’t recruitment from their important daily work driving the larger mission can take a toll.”

As Wise Temple has solidified its partnership with JVS Career Services, that problem appears to be in the the past.

For more information about JVS Career Services recruiting capabilities, please contact Senior Business Development Manager, Peter Landesman by phone (513) 745-2905, or email plandesman@jvscareers.org.

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager and Career Coach, comes to JVS Career Services after 40 years as a marketing and marketing communications professional. Peter has worked in a wide variety of industries that include consumer packaged goods, retail, publishing, healthcare, information technology, private aviation, professional services, and employee benefits. He has worked for well-known companies such as World Book Encyclopedia, JCPenney, American Heart Association, NCR, and NetJets.

Peter has passionately pursued and welcomed opportunities to assist individuals with their careers and share connections that lead to the next step in their journey.  In addition to fulfilling a volunteer role with many JVS Career Services clients, Peter co-facilitates the American Marketing Association’s Career Transition Group. Among his other non-profit activities, Peter served on the Governing Board of the WE Lead Athena Program and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the Greater Cincinnati HR Collaborative.