Staffing industry more equipped than ever to fill labor needs

Technology enables the staffing industry to fill client needs with pinpoint accuracy, says Heath Luikart, Vice President of Operations at Nesco Resource. As demand continues to grow for temporary skilled labor, these tools that make it easier to match the client with the right worker will become even more critical.

“Contracting companies are not passively waiting for applicants to walk through the door in hopes of stumbling upon a candidate that may fit a client of theirs,” Luikart says. “Systems are in place to actively seek that candidate. It allows these firms to be proactive in their approach and build a database around client needs. And it allows clients to be part of the process.”

Just as you can track the shipment of a product from a manufacturer, companies can check in on how the search is going to identify the right person to fill their specific needs.

“They have access into the system to see where job candidates are in the process,” Luikart says. “It really keeps them in the loop and helps them feel like they are part of the process rather than standing on the outside and being left to wonder what’s happening.”

Smart Business spoke with Luikart about how technology is making life easier for both contracting companies and the people who utilize their services.

How is technology supporting the staffing industry?

There are multiple types of technology used today, including vendor management systems, customer relationship management systems and applicant tracking systems. These tools enable contracting companies to manage client information, distribute jobs, track hours and consolidate and track invoices. Most importantly, they store and organize valuable data, including applicant resumes, that streamlines the process to connect a client with the right person for a particular job.

The reporting capabilities, the analytics, the automation of reaching out to customers and having touchpoints is all done through these systems. It creates something akin to an artificial intelligence that is constantly working in the background to bring candidates into the database that can solve client needs.

How does this system function?

Technology enables job candidates to get real-time alerts and notifications across multiple forums to let them know about opportunities in their market. If they are interested in an opportunity, they can receive paperwork electronically and then complete, sign and email it back or upload it to the system directly. They can also access their portal at any given time to review these documents. Once they are on the job, assessments can be completed online and they can enter hours via computer, tablet or mobile device. They can also receive surveys that allow them to provide feedback about their work experience. Technology provides workers with a stronger voice to communicate at any time, or least in set increments.

What value do these tools provide?

Turnaround time is one of the biggest pain points for customers in the staffing industry. When the need for help arises, the customer expects a quality solution to be found quickly. Technology helps make this happen, creating a more streamlined approach to get the most qualified candidate in the fastest time. Systems are developed to follow a particular business and its needs and continually build a database based off of that information. Data for a specific client can be pulled within a minute’s notice. Reporting is a big piece, whether it be turnover, attrition rates, supply and demand, total spend by departments or certain fluxes that have been identified. The goal is to provide answers at every level and leave little, if anything, to chance.

How will technology continue to evolve?

Like all technology, not all features are used or needed. The important thing is to have options. Social media will continue to drive processes and create new ones. Big data will continue to impact the market and the technology used in the staffing industry. It provides a lot of analytics from multiple locations in open-sourced format, to drill down and pull that information back for both candidates and clients, which will continue to shape how the staffing industry does business.

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Contractors see vast opportunity working in the IT infrastructure space

As technology continues to evolve, there is a growing need for qualified individuals who can help businesses build and manage their IT infrastructure, says Grant A. Derner, Executive Vice President at Nesco Resource. The challenge is matching the right people with the right skills with a growing need across the country.

“We tend to think of the IT industry focusing on the coasts and within cities,” Derner says. “But when you drive down any highway, look to your left or to your right and you see a building. That building has IT needs inside of it, infrastructure that needs to be installed, maintained, changed and/or upgraded. As more and more companies continue to invest in new technologies, the demand is only going to go up. Getting qualified workers into the space is a priority, but with the current shortage, there is also a challenge.”

To meet this challenge, companies are increasingly turning to the contract recruiting industry for help.

“Contracting companies that focus on that particular niche can identify individuals with the needed skill set,” Derner says. “This eliminates the challenge of recruiting for the business and enables these companies to maintain flexibility in their hiring which can provide a cost savings and also free up budgets to focus on other areas of potential growth.”

Smart Business spoke with Derner about the usage of contingent staffing for IT infrastructure work.

What is IT infrastructure?

When most people think of IT, they think of people programming software. But there is a whole wired infrastructure in every business that continuously needs to be monitored. This includes the company’s entire collection of hardware, software, networks and data centers. When you go beyond that, the equipment that is used to develop, test, operate and manage all of that is a wide, very broad spectrum. Everything that you look at and touch has some piece of infrastructure related to it.

How difficult is it for someone outside the company to step in and do this work?

This type of work is very task-specific and well defined — here is the project, here are the number of installs or moves you need to complete. The job for the contracting company is to go out and find somebody who specifically understands that task or has done it in the past. When it’s done right, the contractor can hit the ground running on day two. Day one is more like orientation to go over the outlay of the project and any special instructions for that location. Day two, it’s time to get to work. It’s actually easier work than would face a full-time IT person who has to wear multiple hats in the organization.

What is the key to success for working with a contractor recruiter?

If you work with a contracting company that is trying to be all things to all people, it’s going to be more difficult for that company to provide someone with the specific expertise you are looking for. You want to find a company that has the processes and talent to understand the intrinsic differences related to the contract and the skill to make a match with the right contractor.

How do people working in this space keep up with the latest technological advances?

Contractors that work in this space tend to look at what’s hot and then go out and obtain certificates or additional training that gives them skills they can put to use right away. If you’re an IT contractor, you can demonstrate, ‘I received this training and now I’m doing that work.’ There are a lot of growth opportunities as infrastructure needs continue to change.

In a lot of cases, the growth of knowledge stems from a desire to learn. If you’re in this field, you’re likely very interested in managing databases or ensuring that a configuration is set up properly or upgrading a server. You are always working to stay ahead of the curve. As a contractor who works in the contingent staffing industry, you don’t have to go out on your own in search of new opportunities. You can work with the staffing provider to find opportunities where your expertise is needed and focus on doing that work rather than trying to simultaneously manage your own business.

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