Adam Hoffarber, partner, SkyWater Search Partners

Adam Hoffarber leads all operations, strategy and growth initiatives after his promotion to partner at SkyWater Search Partners, the Minnetonka-based executive recruiting firm.

Hoffarber, 34, a SkyWater co-founder and previously managing director, earned the promotion largely based on his success in using new communication and collaboration processes to launch and build the firm's information technology (IT) recruiting practice into the company's largest division, partner and co-founder Kurt Rakos said.

"We're looking to take the things that have made myself and that [IT] team successful and implement those across the firm," Hoffarber said.

Revenue has grown from $1.5 million in 2013, SkyWater's first year, to more than $7 million this year, Rakos said. SkyWater, the top-ranked Minnesota executive search firm and No. 146 nationally in a 2017 Forbes magazine ranking, is looking to add to its 26 recruiters and is considering acquiring smaller firms or expanding to two or three other cities.

SkyWater is seeking other "best athletes" like Hoffarber, even if they are new to recruiting, and will train them extensively in the business, Rakos said.

Hoffarber began his career as he was finishing his law degree at Mitchell Hamline School of Law with the former McKinley Group. He joined Rakos and fellow partners and founders Paul Beard and Tony Fornetti in forming SkyWater.

SkyWater, offering both contingent and retained search, places up to 240 candidates a year in full-time positions across the firm's accounting and finance, engineering and operations, digital marketing, sales, consumer packaged goods, human resources and IT divisions, Hoffarber said.

Q: How is your approach to running SkyWater different as a millennial?

Hoffarber: Less than a quarter of managers are millennials but by 2024 66 percent of management will be. How they communicate, how they work with their vendors and their partners is very different from what was traditionally the case. Adapting to that and recognizing the changing dynamic of that market is important.

Q: What differentiates SkyWater in the industry?

Hoffarber: We're one of the few firms in town that can legitimately say we have success at both contingent and retained search. We place more [contingent] people in the state than any other Minnesota-based firm. We're one of the few firms that can deliver at the $80,000 to $120,000 as well as the $500,000 to $1 million a year positions.

Q: What's the advantage of hiring recruiters who are new to the business?

Rakos: Hiring the "best athlete" is not always related to sports. It's having the character, the drive, the values and a willingness to learn. That's what Adam and many of our successful people have been. We don't have to change bad habits when we hire people like that.

Todd Nelson