Have you ever had a question you wanted to ask your customers, but were too afraid to do so? Or have you ever felt you could better service a client if they would just be upfront about what they expect?
Here is what a few companies using staffing company services had to say when asked about the current job market, how it’s impacting their business, what makes for a valued partnership, how to build trust, and things they’d like staffing companies to stop doing.
Getting the Right Talent in the Door is Still Proving Difficult
In today’s candidate-driven job market, finding your client the right talent can prove to be more challenging than ever. In addition to new challenges (e.g. candidate ghosting) plaguing staffing agencies and their clients, the age-old issues still exist. For example, one staffing services client said while there are “tons of people” applying for jobs, they are still having a hard time finding the right people with the appropriate experience (e.g. engineers with 4-5 years of experience).
What’s more, clients agreed that they not only expect candidates to meet the baseline for experience, but that they also need to be able to work with a variety of skillsets. Specifically, another staffing services client explained that candidates with broader work experience (i.e. less niche or technical) are more desirable—given higher-ups in organizations need deliverables that provide a bigger picture, and do not just focus on the day-to-day grunt work. It was also noted that finding candidates with soft skills, in addition to hard skills, give staffing agencies a leg up in creating successful client-staffing agency relationships.
Building Trusting, Valued Partnerships Takes Time
Just like with any personal or collegial connections you have made in your life, building a professional relationship and trust with clients take time, consistency, and commitment. Noting the importance trust and experience, one client called attention to how challenging a customer-staffing services relationship can be when each other’s wants and needs are not fully understood; while another staffing agency client said that if you don’t have a solid relationship, you will not “get anything out of the partnership.”
However, the great thing about strong relationships though is once they’re established, you have that connection for years—often extending beyond the company (e.g. one customer mentioned having a 20-year relationship with one of his staffing firms). But how do you get there? Here’s what the interviewed clients had to say about what makes for a successful partnership:
- Talking to/understanding what it is your staffing company can offer the client
- Communicating and responding in a timely manner
- Delivering results
- Anticipating going into next stages (from immediate to next level of work)
- Getting to know your clients in person
- Doing your research before picking up the phone
- Using phone over email to communicate (if you do use email, find a way to be more specific and tuned into their industry)
Pressuring Clients, While Possibly Unintentional, Will Get You Nowhere
While it’s clear that solid relationships take time to build, pressuring your clients to grow the relationship faster could end things before they ever have a chance to begin. For example, if a client has asked you to fill four roles but you’re pushing for fifty (one client’s example), you come off as being more concerned about growing your business than listening to what the client wants. While it’s important to anticipate a client’s future needs, prove that you can deliver on what they’re asking first.
Another thing clients mentioned they wanted staffing companies to stop doing? Pressuring them to bring on temp-to-hire roles. Promising a candidate that there’s a potential to receive a full-time job upon assignment completion, just to get good talent in the door, puts both the client and the candidate in an uncomfortable position, and can severely damage your relationship with both! Further, clients expressed the need for staffing companies to better explain the differences between role-types (temps vs. contractors vs. consultants) to candidates, so expectations are clear from the beginning.
Remember: your clients’ successes are your successes! Finding ways to maintain and enhance relationships with your clients, knowing their business, and integrating with other good partners will all help you demonstrate continual value, and lead to long-lasting partnerships!
Source: Interviews conducted by Nick Schichtle (VP, national perm practice, Adecco Staffing) at Staffing World 2018 via a “Voice of the Client” workshop.