Prioritizing Orders and Candidates

Over the past 5 years, I have visited over 100 staffing companies and talked with even more of them over the phone. The one missed opportunity common among most of these firms is that they do not prioritize their open orders and qualify candidates properly. The result of this missed opportunity is that the operation is highly inefficient, the cost to fill orders too high, and client and employee satisfaction suffers.

The best-in-class staffing companies I have seen spend a considerable amount of time first defining their overall company strategy. One of the key strategy decisions should revolve around what segment(s) to serve. Once the segment(s) has been determined, the second step is to understand and define what a solid client, solid order, and solid candidate should look like within each segment. Then a rating system is created, usually on an A, B, and C, scale — “A” orders being the most desirable based upon fulfilling the company strategy, profitability, ability to fill, best match to the recruitment strategy, and database. An identical process occurs for “A” candidates using the same ranking A, B And C scale. The object is to match the “A” candidates with the “A” orders.

As the unemployment rates continue to decline — especially in skilled areas of IT, healthcare, construction trades, manufacturing trades, accounting and others — it is becoming more critical to spend the vast majority of your time and valuable resources on “A” orders and “A “candidates. Working on “B” and “C” orders with “B” and “C” candidates is often a waste of time and resources with an added detriment of not filling enough of the “A” orders and losing too many of the “A” candidates.

Contained within the “A” order, the “A” candidate approach is a strategy that has three key components on both sides of the fulfillment equation. The three most useful criteria are typically gaining agreement from both the clients and candidates regarding commitment (ability to interview and start assignments); bill/pay rate compatibly (the spread between what candidates will work for and what clients can afford to pay and at the same time yielding a reasonable margin to the staffing firm); and finally, qualifications (matching the skills of the candidates with the order requirement). Theses three key components are at the heart of the process and if acted upon can yield incredible results for staffing firms, their candidates, and their clients.

Greg Palmer

Greg Palmer
Greg Palmer is the former CEO of Remedy Temp Inc. and founder of GPalmer and Associates, a management-consulting firm focused on the staffing industry. You can find published GPalmer temp labor forecasts and related material on the GPalmer website

Greg Palmer

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