What You Should and Should Not Expect from Your IT Staffing Firm
When I originally decided to commit to publishing a weekly blog, my goal was to try and alter the negative press that the IT staffing industry receives.
Over the past nine months since joining Vector Technical Resources, I have met with nearly 175 prospects that I believed to be valuable resources for my business. Maybe I am being a little cynical here, but in many cases, I can understand the frustrations many of these people felt with our industry. I began hearing the same stories over and over again. For example, several clients complained that resumes would be submitted for a position that required a US government-issued security clearance, and the candidate was not even a US citizen. The good news is that we are becoming a valuable resource to many new clients because of the key processes we follow while trying to maintain successful relationships.
Needless to say, IT staffing firms are literally a “dime a dozen,” so I implore you and your team to separate yourselves from the pack by following some of these suggestions and comments I am about to provide:
1. Be a team player. Do not walk in asking for orders without providing a valuable asset in return. Augment your prospect’s recruiting team by helping to find personnel for their proposals. This is by no means a moneymaker, but I assure you that most companies would appreciate the assistance, and particularly so during this season when capture and sales teams are writing proposals 24/7 trying to capture a piece of the ever-shrinking government spending dollars.
2. Be creative in your pricing model. As sure as I am sitting here writing this blog, one of your competitors is offering their service at a better rate than you are. Know your market and be flexible in conforming to your client’s needs.
3. The biggest complaint I hear is “so many recruiters do not listen or read my requirements.” I often hear that recruiters are not paying attention to the requirements and are more interested in keeping their submittal numbers up. Don’t abide by this practice! Make it a point to vet, screen and interview your candidates. If they claim they have a clearance, verify it and be sure it is current. The best way for a hiring manager to stop reviewing your submittals is to continually send over candidates that do not meet or exceed their criteria.
4. Be honest and upfront, and do not over-promise. Over the past year, we have all witnessed our customers sending us job descriptions that are nearly impossible to fill. This is where you need to ask for help from a senior member of your team. More times than not, these descriptions are coming directly from the government and because of budget cuts, sequestration, etc., they are trying to squeeze two people into one to reduce expenses. We in the business call these “purple squirrels.” I suggest that you get your client on the phone and discuss the requirements in detail so that you are not wasting your or their time. In many instances, the description can be artfully dissected into a viable position that you can fill.
5. Remember: We are in the business of delivering human capital, not widgets. The one thing we cannot control is another person’s behavior. However, we can mitigate risk by asking the right questions and performing a thorough and effective screening process. We have all experienced the dreaded “no show,” and nothing is more embarrassing when that happens to our clients. Since we cannot control this, just make sure that you ask all of the right questions the day of the interview, and if you are so lucky as to be in the same area as your client, walk them in and provide a formal introduction. If not, at least confirm the interview shortly before it takes place so this no-show phenomenon happens less frequently.
6. When submitting a resume, highlight the skills and experience on your email so that your customer has an immediate sense if the resume is a fit for the position. This also instills a confidence level that you have actually interviewed the applicant and that you are not just submitting a resume of an individual who you have not screened thoroughly.
Many of these suggestions will become routine over time with experience, but if you want to help change the “used car” perception that so many think of us as, try a few of these processes and before long, you will become a huge value add to your firm as well as your clients.