Candidate and Client Services in the Forecast

463729373Snow is not the only thing dominating landscapes. I’ve recently had the opportunity to speak with leaders from more than 30 different staffing solutions providers. From small to large and public to private I noticed one major trend snow-balling across the industry: A focus on beefing up candidate and client services programs.

One of the most critical business lessons I learned in my 10 years in the industry is not how to maintain EBIT or drive profitable revenue, but the importance of a simple follow-up call. It’s as easy as picking up the phone to check in or just say hi. No matter which direction the conversation went from that point, I was making myself more relevant and memorable than any other recruiter. Unfortunately the importance of this simple action is often overshadowed by the demands of increased daily activity and hitting weekly metrics. Whether intentional or not, as firm-wide goals of growth are formalized and passed down from the C-suite to the front lines, the message is sometimes narrowed or interpreted as: “Do anything possible to bring in more job orders and grow revenue.”

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The result, more often than not, is that sales managers and their teams focus more on growing business fast and closing deals now than on caring for the relationships they have already worked hard to build. In the staffing industry, where candidates become clients and clients become candidates again and again over the length of entire careers, this approach can be somewhat fruitful in the short-term but always detrimental in the long-term. The leaders I spoke with are recognizing they are letting good relationships and referrals slip through their hands. And, in today’s economic climate, where demand for talented professionals and contingent workers has steadily increased to an all-time high, staffing firms cannot afford to leave any relationship behind.

The expansion of the US economy since 2010 and resulting increase in demand for staff has created, what many are referring to as, a “War for Talent.” Growing demand for skilled workers coupled with healthier corporate balance sheets and relaxed interest rates has led to significant new job creation. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2009 the country has added approximately 6 million jobs to the economy. When unemployment decreases a fundamental shift in power takes place: The upper-hand swings from employers to employees and available candidates, who as a result gain power of negotiation and even selection between several job opportunities.

In a recent study of turnover among those temporarily employed by staffing firms, it wasn’t pay or position at the root of turnover but a lack of follow-up or consistent communication. I’m not sure what’s more shocking: The fact that people desire to be treated as though they are valuable employees more than they desire higher pay rates, or the fact that staffing firms place people but never follow up? Either way, I’m proud of my industry and optimistic about its future after learning that so many firms are now proactively following up with candidates because they value the work they do rather than simply because there’s a seat to fill at a client.

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Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown
Nicholas Brown is a 10-year staffing solutions leader with expertise driving recruiting and client relationship strategy nationally. He was most recently a national vice president with a large publicly traded staffing solutions firm.

Nicholas Brown

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