5 reasons you could be losing staffing clients

The news that the American economy added 528,000 jobs in July seemed to surprise many, but not the staffing firms who have been scrambling to fill all those empty slots. The reality is that there are still 2x more job openings than there are candidates. So, how do you manage your client's expectations amid this tight labor market?

We surveyed more than 600 hiring managers to expose the dealbreakers that could make your once-happy clients look elsewhere. Survey says....

The right stuff: Cultural fit

A good cultural fit ranks high in importance for hiring managers. They want employees who will share their organization's beliefs, be conducive to its growth, and thrive in their work culture. Sending over a candidate who is not a good culture fit sends a signal that you don't understand their company or its needs. This is one mistake that can cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your client. 

A series of thoughtful, culture-based questions at the get-go will help everyone–you, the hiring manager, and the candidate–make the best connections. Screening questions you can ask an applicant to see if they're a good culture fit include:

  • Where/when/how do you do your best work?
  • What did you like most/least about your last company?
  • What does a successful company culture look like to you?
  • What most appeals to you about this role?
  • What's the biggest problem in most offices today?

Message received: Communication

Are you listening? Our survey reveals that communication is a top concern among hiring managers working with staffing firms, with customer service/experience coming in at 89%, responsiveness to inquiries/questions also at 89%, and communication from contacts at the firm at 88%.                         

What can you do to assure your client that you're all ears? In addition to being readily available to answer their questions, it's also important to take a consultative approach at the beginning of the process by asking and answering any questions and setting realistic expectations about compensation, remote work, flexibility, and work culture. This is also a great time to discover what's truly unique about the client's company to help evangelize their brand and drive the most highly qualified candidates to their door. Finally, show, don't tell: arm your client with data that supports the state of the market.

Tech talk: Service-related issues

Of the clients actively looking at competing staffing firms, 63% said they had issues with their current firm's technology. 

A well-oiled tech stack (the set of software platforms you use in your business) can improve your speed to market, automate your referral tracking and management to grow your referral pool, assess a candidate's soft skills through video interviews, and even provide cultural fit assessments that quantify corporate culture. 

Take your tech stack to the next level today to prepare for success tomorrow.

DEI initiatives

Staffing firms that help their clients implement DEI programs and policies also help them become more attractive to candidates who value diversity and inclusion in their workplace. 

The good news is we seem to be heading in the right direction. Of the hiring managers surveyed, 34% felt their primary staffing firm's DEI initiatives were ahead of other firms, and 86% felt their staffing firm provided their organization with diverse candidates. 

Many firms that are ahead of the curve have enlisted the help of their partners. For example, CareerBuilder recently partnered with the Black Information Network. Together, we're committed to bringing over 100,000 jobs across the country to the Black community. 

Turnover turmoil

Most staffing firm clients who have switched primary firms within the last five years (74%) have been because of high turnover. Staffing firms that can keep their candidate turnover low will greatly boost client satisfaction. 

To stem the turnover, recruiters should set realistic expectations with clients regarding competitive wages and benefits. Work with them to define their brand, so they attract the best of the candidates. Define the company culture up front and communicate it clearly with applicants; a worker who doesn’t fit in culturally can become a toxic presence in a company. 

While these past two years have presented unprecedented challenges, staffing firms that leverage the right techniques and solutions will continue to thrive and grow with consistent and measurable success.


Watch our exclusive webinar “What Staffing Clients Want - 2022 Staffing Buyer Trends” here. And check back for future webinars from CareerBuilder and ClearlyRated, along with additional insights staffing firms can use to grow their client bases this year and beyond. 

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