The Ties That Bind

The Mason Group’s president and founder, Mitch Goldstein, has built a successful search firm on a foundation of relational and family-first ideals

Mitch GoldsteinThe meaning behind The Mason Group’s name is twofold and a model for the financial recruitment and placement firm as a whole: On one level, company founder and president Mitch Goldstein liked the word mason because of its connotations of strength and connection. On another level, the word is an amalgam of his children’s names: Matthew, Sarah, and Ben.

Goldstein doesn’t want to elevate himself above his staff, so he has worked instead to build a company cemented by the bonds between its people, by its focus on collaboration, and by its relationships with clients. It’s also a company that puts family above work. Here, Goldstein reveals in his own words the considerate approach his firm takes to find new talent and serve its clients—all while encouraging a proper work-life balance.

“There are four factors that we can attribute our success to—the first being the tenure of our consultants, with the understanding that this is a relationship-driven business. Our industry unfortunately has a lot of turnover, and because of that, many become disappointed when they have to continually build new relationships. There’s a term called the ‘falloff,’ where someone goes into a job and doesn’t last. Our falloff ratio is extremely low because we recognize that no one wants to start a new job and then have it not work out—both from the client’s and the candidate’s perspectives.

Second is that most of us have accounting and finance backgrounds. A lot of people recruiting for financing and accounting talent don’t have the proper experience. At The Mason Group, you get a different perspective. By being former accountants, we are able to accurately assess talent, the needs of our clients, and how the two match up.

Thirdly is our size. Most of our competitors are very small, but we have more than 30 people on our team. We can cast a very wide net. When someone says, ‘I’m going to scour the marketplace,’ there’s only so much one or two people can do. You know your own network, but when you have 30 networks to tap into, the experience is richer and the success that much higher. It’s very difficult for someone to find the best talent when they’re that small, especially if you want to do it quickly.

The last thing is that we’re concerned with and take an interest in our candidates. We take an in-depth approach when we meet with our candidates, keeping the lines of communication open at all times, assisting them with their career options, and creating tailored solutions for each. The same goes with our clients. It’s not just ‘find me the best accountant in the marketplace.’ Sometimes it’s ‘find someone who merely is strong analytically and just wants to sit behind their desk and crunch numbers.’ It’s our job to understand those nuances and find the appropriate fit.

OUTSIDE THE OFFICE

“So much of my time now revolves around my kids’ activities that I’m like, ‘What personal hobbies?’ But we’re very much into sports. I coach my son’s basketball team, and my other son plays hockey. I also try to do three or four charitable company initiatives each year, and my wife sits on the board of Colon Cancer Canada.”

I spoke to someone the other day who was sent on an interview, and the recruitment firm didn’t even meet her. They got her résumé and sent her out on an interview. How did they know that she was a good match for the client without even meeting her? It doesn’t always work out, but you need to do your due diligence.

We meet with everybody we consider for a new opportunity, and we meet with our clients whenever possible to understand what they are about and what might be attractive about them to prospective candidates.

What drew me to the business is that it was an interesting way to marry my accounting background, which I didn’t necessarily enjoy, with helping people. My parents were both teachers, which was more altruistic than being an accountant. Talking and meeting with new people, learning about different companies, and then helping them find solutions—it seemed like an interesting way to spend your day.

My family is very important to me, and I encourage my team to spend time with theirs. If your child is in a play and you need to leave at 1 p.m., then you leave. You don’t take a vacation day; you just go. I’m very much focused on being as involved as I possibly can be with my kids.”

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THE BOTTOM LINE

Job title
President & founder

Industry
Recruiting for finance and accounting

Years in the business
18

Where did you start your career?
Richter Usher & Vineberg.

Describe yourself in three words
Driven, unassuming, generous.

Advice to those just starting in finance
Think through your career with short-term and long-term plans. Rather than just wanting a new job, think what kind of job and where it’s going to lead.