What I learned from Peter Sheahan at the SIA Executive Forum

161725848At the 2014 Staffing Analysts Executive Forum last month in San Diego, the spotlight was the future, with many parts of the program devoted to helping staffing and recruiting companies define themselves going forward. For me what stood out was keynote speaker Peter Sheahan’s views on how staffing firms can operate differently moving forward.

There are some essential components of business that every staffing and recruiting exec should examine with that goal in mind:

  • The role assumptions play in blinding professionals to new opportunities;
  • The importance of clarity and alignment;
  • The need to take manageable risks;
  • Actively re-positioning in the marketplace as a staffing firm evolves its value proposition;
  • Collaborating across the value chain to exploit new opportunities; and
  • Analyze the firm’s history of commoditization

It’s obvious that firms that have commoditized themselves have painted themselves a bit into a corner. If a staffing and recruiting company is determined to use lower price points than their competition to bring in business, they’d better be good at it. On the other hand, firms that discover and develop niche markets within the hiring industry have a better chance at carving out a part of the staffing and recruiting business pie in the future.

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Branding. This is where corporate branding comes into play. Once a firm has created a niche, all strategies moving forward have to connect to the brand they hope to communicate. With both clients and candidates, firms need to use internal corporate culture and external marketing to establish how they are different from — and better than — the competition.

In effect, success entails showing current and future clients that your company has superior services, intellect and knowledge-based value.

Talent. So too, must companies take into account the talent revolution: finding and assessing talent in the new world of flexible staffing and how that will affect company structures. No longer do we look in offices for talent, now we need to look beyond walls for highly qualified candidates through spaces and platforms such as Elance.

And companies running global operations have to evaluate performance differently. Because employees are spread around the world – and have both flexible and fixed job locations – employers have to adjust their structure to accommodate the technical and management challenges.

Nimble recruiting firms will figure out how to best deliver top talent to hungry clients. With the dearth of qualified talent in the U.S. and abroad, creating a brand presence in the industry can help attract candidates who might not necessarily be looking aggressively.

Remember that the best talent most likely are already employed, which makes it harder for recruitment professionals to find the candidates who would be likely to explore a new position if approached in the right manner. But automation such as recruiting software that my firm offers takes center stage. Those firms that have the latest technology will be able to sniff out the talent that can both perform recognized skills but also offer the nuanced deliverables that are expected of top performers.

At the end of the day, it’s your calculated tactics that will determine your success in the marketplace. Make sure that you approach it right, getting help from all quarters – including relying on Sheahan’s words of wisdom along the way.

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Phil McCutchen

Phil McCutchen
Phil McCutchen is marketing manager at Bond US.

Phil McCutchen

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