Staffing Firms: Finding “The One”
Three Common Approaches that Should Send You Running
It’s a Tuesday afternoon in the office. You’re leaning forward in your office chair finishing off your luke-warm morning coffee as you scan your mounting Outlook emails; carefully deciding which messages warrant an immediate response. Ten emails in, you notice Human Resource’s latest update that your company’s Java Software Engineer position hasn’t seen movement in three weeks. You cringe thinking about the development work piling up. You interviewed that one candidate last week, but his “I don’t work well on teams” comment left you running for the hills. For the first time, you think, “maybe I should consider calling one of those staffing companies? But where do I start?”
There are over 500 IT Staffing companies in Atlanta alone competing for your business. That’s good news; it means you can be selective. So, how do you find “the one” for you amongst the hundreds out there? Approaching this question the right way can save you a tremendous amount of time, energy and money. How you qualify your chosen staffing firm(s) can impact your reputation, culture, time and turnover.
Interestingly, it’s actually best to look at “What Not to Do” when selecting a staffing firm since, fortunately for you, many others have made some common mistakes you can learn from – and avoid when choosing YOUR staffing partner. Here are a few that rise to the top of the triggers to be aware of:
“DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!”
1. The “Save my Time” Approach: “Find the firm who asks the least amount of questions to get started.”
- The Problem: Though it’s tempting to copy and paste a job description into Outlook, label it “need to hire ASAP,” and cross your fingers as you send to the first company who came to mind, this approach has proven to do exactly the opposite of what was intended; save time.
- If Staffing Firm XYZ isn’t asking questions, they do not understand your culture, the key technologies in your job description, or even the skill “level” you expect. This means well-intentioned Firm XYZ will flood you with resumes (a problem in itself) and hope that one “sticks.” Unfortunately, this guess work rarely ends in a successful hire and takes an enormous amount of everyone’s time.
REMEMBER: Firms you’ll want to work with will value your time by doing their due diligence on the front-end. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean hours of your time. But, you should expect your staffing partner to go over relevant questions around your technical environment, team size, culture, typical career progression and the like. Your answers to these questions will save you time by helping your staffing partner target the “right” group of candidates.
2. “Great! They do Everything” Approach:
- The problem: When you’re looking for a technical person to add to your team, it’s incredibly beneficial to work with a staffing agency that specializes in recruiting that specific skill set. The firm knows the questions to ask, where to find those unique skills, and they’ve already built pipelines in that specific niche industry.
- Don’t hesitate to vet their knowledge in that field by asking questions like: How and where they recruit IT-specific talent, the demand they’re seeing in the market for the skill-set you need, and what the average tenure is of their recruiting team.
3. “They Can Find Me Someone for Less/Cheaper!” Approach.
- The problem: We’re all inclined to try and find a “good deal.” It can be smart, rewarding and savvy to find a “steal,” but remember; a well-run, reliable, financially stable, staffing company with quality recruiters, well-built partnerships, good community involvement, and a solid benefits offering is like any other good product; the best ones aren’t known for being “the cheapest around.”
- While you do not want to find the firm with the “cheapest deal in town”, you should still expect the firm you choose to be competitively priced in the market. Be leery of those “too good to be true” agreements.
When the time is right for you to research a high-quality staffing firm partner, here are a few questions we suggest you consider to save you time, energy and money. Plus, you’ll have a much more enjoyable time scanning your Tuesday morning emails when you open the resume from Staffing Firm XYZ and ta-daah! …the perfect candidate is attached.
Getting to know your staffing vendor, qualifying them, and making sure they have the information they need to be successful is so important for long-term success. Yes, it will take a little more time on the front-end, but when a staffing firm “gets you” and your environment, it’s such a rewarding partnership.
Screening Questions to Find the Right Firm for You:
- Are you a “full service” firm? (This means the staffing company supports finding full-time, contract or contract-to-hire candidates for their clients; a quality you’ll definitely want long-term in a vendor since it gives you more hiring flexibility.)
- Can you send me references from other clients you’ve worked with?
- What is your screening process?
- If I hire a contractor from your company, will you invest in their on-going career development and training, as long as it’s beneficial for the work they’re doing for me?
- Do you check candidate’s references? If so, how many and when should I expect to see them in the interview process?
- Do you offer benefits and a vacation package to your contractors?
- When should I expect an update if I work with you?
- What is your quality control process to ensure I am satisfied?
Lastly, always remember that every time you give a staffing company permission to search for your talent, you’re giving Staffing Firm XYZ permission to represent you. The experience they give candidates will be a reflection of your company. Therefore, try to determine early on if the staffing firm shares your culture, values and ethics (asking for references is a quick way to see if they’ve built trust with others in the community.) Good luck!!
Please share any experiences you’ve had in your search for a staffing partner by posting a comment. And for more information on how Thompson Technologies can partner with you for your staffing needs, visit www.thompsontechnologies.com.