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How to Work with Your Staffing Firm During the Pandemic

With all the turmoil produced by the pandemic, Human Resources and Talent Acquisition professionals are scrambling to adjust and may not think they need the assistance of a staffing firm. Some industries need to ramp up while others have been hit hard. In a recent survey by the HR Research Institute of over 300 TA specialists, 58% said the “need to adjust to changing business circumstances” was having the biggest impact on staffing. Not surprisingly, 42% reported that their biggest barrier was “not enough certainty about the future.”

Are HR departments up for this challenge? Probably not. The survey found that only 29% of respondents rated their TA function as “advanced” or “topnotch;” 51% said they were “progressing;” but 21% said their staffing function was either “improvisational,” “chaotic,” or “nonexistent.” But what hasn’t changed, according to the report, is the need to hire quality people quickly and efficiently.

Who Needs a Staffing Firm?

With the economic downturn produced by the pandemic, many employers may think hiring good people is easier. But despite the fact that many quality workers have lost their gainful employment in the past months, it’s still a challenge. Using job boards or social media may look like an inexpensive solution but, as one of our clients found, they received 200 resumes, only 10 of which were qualified. Six of the candidates ended up taking other jobs and the remaining four didn’t pan out from a personality perspective. End result? Zero new hires.

A good staffing firm can help you identify what is most important to your company’s success now. They can help you assess what you need, give advice on what is happening in the marketplace and, in the end, help you find qualified candidates and get them prepared to start work more quickly.

Finger on the Pulse

In this ever-changing economic landscape, an experienced recruiting firm can provide up-to-the-minute information on the labor market. Are salaries changing? What was a hot, hard-to-fill position in January may be less needed right now. Which industries are strong, and which are downsizing? HR and TA professionals, as well as line managers and company leaders, want to know what other companies are doing to respond to this crisis from a hiring perspective, or from an HR and organizational perspective. And while the media might provide anecdotal evidence of these changes, a recruiting specialist who spends all day speaking with employers (and candidates) really knows what is happening on the ground.

Because this is new territory for many, a staffing firm can really help. They can take a lot off the shoulders of HR – which is juggling other tasks – by helping clients think through what is needed, doing research into what positions should be paying, and separating the wheat from the chaff.

Reality Check, Please

Another common myth circulating in today’s job market is that with more talent available, that “purple squirrel” might really exist. Don’t count on it. It’s tempting with shrinking budgets to pile a bunch of skills into one job description, but think carefully. How probable is it that a candidate would have just the right experience at the right company in the right industry – and be bilingual and diverse? What would their resume have to look like? A staffing professional can help you think through these challenges. They can also help find solutions that are practical, like training someone you already have in-house to take on new responsibilities.

New Positions and New Expectations

There have been such cataclysmic shifts in our economy that new positions we could have never imagined are suddenly needed, like a temperature screener. What’s the job description? Pay rate? Training? And where do you find these candidates?

An experienced recruiting professional can help create this new reality. For instance, they can find qualified workers who have been laid off in one industry, help them to consider a change, and explain what the new job entails. What’s more, they will guide the process so all you need to do is interview good candidates and hire them.

Today’s workforce has different expectations too. They want to know how the employer will keep them safe and productive. A good staffing firm can, for example, offer personal protective equipment at cost to clients, lease technology and provide computers so new employees can be productive working remotely.

Paying Attention to the Candidate Experience

In the past few years, the labor market has been so competitive that employers have increased focus on the candidate experience. In the HR Research Institute study, 57% reported that they plan to prioritize the candidate experience more over the next three years.

Almost overnight, the supply of qualified workers has increased. It would be a mistake, however, to think that because there are a lot of people looking for work, we can afford to lose sight of the candidate experience. In fact, employers have an opportunity to stand out now more than ever. Candidates want to know if the company cares about their safety in this COVID-19 world. They may ask how the employer has aided remote workers or created a clean workplace. And they will be paying attention to all these details from the moment they read the job description.

If you want to find the right person and hold onto them, how you treat your people from the beginning of the hiring process sets the tone. The candidate experience is still critical for your current employees, new hires, and your future pipeline.

Paving the Way

Who needs a staffing firm? You probably do. Your metrics are the same – time to hire and quality of hire – but the labor market has changed significantly. In this constantly changing economic climate, an expert recruiting specialist can be a resource, a consultant and an expediter, so you have the quality people you need to meet the organization’s challenges.

Photo credit: Canva

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