Your staffing agency should be much more than an order taker. Instead, an effective agency can serve as a partner to your company, creating a relationship that develops over time, similar to those with other professional partners you may have whom you rely on for advice when making a business decision.
As the relationship develops, your recruiter will learn about your business culture and, most importantly, what your hiring managers are looking for regarding their current staff, future projects and even potential layoffs, should that be the case.
“Companies need the best candidates to fill an open position, not just warm bodies,” says Jacque Myers, senior engineering recruiter with The Daniel Group. “When we have the opportunity to develop a partnership with a client, we can understand their challenges and help them resolve these issues with one of our hiring solutions.”
Smart Business spoke with Myers about making the most out of your relationship with your staffing agency by developing a strong partnership for the long term.
Why is it important to form a long-term relationship with one staffing partner?
Companies with a consistent and sizable need for temporary staffing stand to benefit from forming a long-term relationship for several reasons, including having access to a broad, specialized pool of employees who can be qualified to meet the specific needs of your industry or business; having a single point of contact who can handle all of your staffing needs; and realizing the potential cost savings that comes from working with someone who has knowledge of your business and your industry.
From the agency’s perspective, having a long-term relationship helps your recruiters build familiarity and a knowledge base that will help them prepare a cadre of pre-qualified candidates for you to review and consider. Doing this means that when your project begins, your recruiters should be prepared to provide you with better-qualified candidates in a much shorter period of time.
However, failing to establish a long-term relationship with your recruiter can result in a ‘revolving door’ situation with hires that can lead to frustration on the part of the hiring manager and co-workers, as well as a delay in the completion of the project.
Should you be looking for direct hire placement, the staffing partner who, once again, understands your culture, long-term goals and the industry in which you work, will be much better able to find a candidate who fits within your organization.
What should you expect from your staffing partner in addition to resumes?
Your staffing partner can begin finding and earmarking potential contract and direct hire candidates long before your business enters its crunch time. Let your staffing agent know what you are dealing with, both from a budget standpoint and in regard to the long-term goals of the resource they are looking for.
This will put your staffing partner in a position to advise you of the best way of getting the right talent and ultimately realizing staffing success. It will also help to make sure that you do not have any skills gaps by implementing the right mix of direct hires and contract consultants.
The qualification process is equally important. Having a staffing partner who understands your culture and is clear on where your employee or contractor will be spending their time gives you a much better chance of accomplishing your goals through the hires that are made.
To determine if you have a strong relationship with your staffing agent, ask the following questions:
- Does the agent have true ‘partnership’ aptitude? Is the service built around the need to invest sufficient time toward understanding your business, your hiring managers, key drivers, value proposition, and both the hard and soft skills of the candidates?
- Does the agent provide scope, reach or expertise that complements what you are able to do yourself? For example, can the agent identify and penetrate strategic talent populations that are out of your current reach or otherwise not on your radar?
- Will your agent be a true consultative partner who is willing to share constructive feedback and provide recommendations instead of telling you only what you want to hear?
- Is the staffing agency prepared to be your partner in this for the long run and not just the one-time placement?
How soon should you discuss your staffing needs for 2013?
Now is the perfect time to begin meeting and discussing your hiring challenges for the coming year. It is important to share with your staffing agent what you expect your budget for staffing might be, as well as the overall challenges you expect to face so that your staffing consultant can determine how he or she can best accommodate your hiring needs for the upcoming year.
Once all of the information is gathered, the right staffing partner will help you reach your goals by making insightful, timely recommendations and determining the best staffing arrangement that will be most effective for you and your company or department. <<