How Candidate-Centric Recruiting Is Changing Staffing

178601726Across today’s staffing landscape, leading recruiters and delivery groups are transitioning away from traditional, client-centric recruiting and instead embracing candidate-centric recruiting as a means to continue delivering the industry’s most qualified talent. Attracting top talent in IT staffing means fierce competition for talent in a pool with a historically low 2.2 percent unemployment average. Compelling candidate offers must include more than opportunity and salary discussions; and offer a true value proposition for an overall favorable candidate experience from the first phone call to contract redeployment. Firms that have made this shift know this approach offers benefits clients are accustomed to but also offers benefits previously unavailable to candidates. Since transitioning to candidate-centric recruiting, DISYS has seen an increased number of vacancies filled while continuing to fill them with the best candidates available. The approach has proven to be a true win-win.

Six Steps to Becoming Candidate-Centric

Becoming candidate-centric involves a considerable culture shift for recruiters ― all aspects of the recruitment process now revolve around the candidate. Just as every candidate isn’t a perfect match for every job opening, staffing firms that want to become candidate-centric must consider how to implement these new changes into their unique environments. By engaging in candidate-centric discovery of wants, needs and skills, recruiters can dedicate their time to finding an engagement that fits their candidates instead of attempting to shoehorn candidates into less-than-ideal client vacancies. This simple reversal allows recruiters to build pre-qualified pools of top candidates ready for deployment.

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When changing your model to be more candidate-centric consider the following six steps necessary for success.

  1. Determine Your Ideal Model. During the switch, include the entire sales and delivery team in implementation and rollout activities. Activity will increase and all staff, from reception to recruiters, will find their workload increasing in response. Make sure to establish meaningful incentives and performance metrics to offset any perceived negatives from the additional work. Make your teams understand the greater good!
  1. Increase the Number of Qualified Candidates. With a candidate-centric business model, the focus is on the candidates. While this new concept may be met with some initial resistance from recruiters comfortable with a client-based structure, it is imperative to drive the importance of candidate quality, of which quantity will become a welcomed byproduct. Under this new model, DISYS Recruiters consistently carry at least five pre-qualified candidates for each area and client they specialize in. This means recruiter discussions become more productive since familiarity with candidate goals is already known so candidates can be better matched to open opportunities.
  1. Keep the Correct Mind Set. Screening candidates is only the beginning. Consistent, regular contact is invaluable in the candidate-centric recruiting model. Not only is it valuable to keep abreast of candidate projects and new skills, each candidate can be a potential resource for future roles as well as offer access to their valuable networks of contact in the form of referrals
  1. Keep the Right Focus. All employees ― recruiters especially ― must remain focused and committed to a new course of action. Adjusting incentive plans and implementing candidate-focused daily and weekly performance goals will reinforce your new direction and help develop new, improved delivery habits.
  1. Offer Training. Making the switch from a client-centric delivery model to a candidate-centric one will require training. Determine whether you have the current assets to provide this training in-house or whether you will need to secure outside support. Training will help determine what data needs to be tracked, how to track the data and understanding what outcomes you are trying to create with your front-end recruiting inputs (i.e. candidate intakes, networking calls, submittals, and interviews).
  1. Find the Commitment. This change in focus will not be an easy one, and there may be times that you doubt your decision. It is critical that you define short-term success milestones to maintain positive momentum. Once your recruiters have developed candidate-centric, value-driven relationships with the top talent in your markets, you will recognize the ease with which you can fulfill your clients’ needs more quickly and with the right fit more consistently.

Bullhorn studies report that available skilled candidates have fallen 5 percent in the past year. While implementing this new system will be challenging at times, it is a worthwhile investment of your company’s resources in order to maintain a qualified talent pipeline. The competition for top talent is driving all of us to change the “staffing equation” and if you can become a champion of the candidate experience, you will see an increase in productivity and a healthier bottom line.

MORE: How the candidate experience affects your bottom line

Matt Chamberlain
Matt Chamberlain is executive director, delivery/recruiting operations of Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS).

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