How staffing firms can grow in 2021

Last year turned traditional hiring on its head. While some businesses nearly shut down, others needed to scale up immediately, and typical processes within staffing firms evolved along with the market. 

What lessons were learned in 2020, and what can you prepare for in 2021? These three takeaways shed light on hiring manager priorities and how employers are shifting hiring strategies. (Then, join us on January 27 for our webinar “Hiring Manager Sentiments and Preferences: How 2020 Transformed Staffing Sales and Client Service” in partnership with ClearlyRated and American Staffing Association.) 

What was important to hiring managers in 2020? 

These top concerns impacted hiring strategies and business needs during throughout the economic uncertainty of last year: 

  1. Having the right skillset on teams that are leaner than usual 
  2. Flexibility to size up or down quickly 
  3. Multiple sources of quality candidates tied with making good use of existing budget 

The impact of remote work continues to be top-of-mind, as the workforce closes in on a full year of a forced, mass move to working from home in response to the pandemic. Hiring managers are likely to remain remote, with 76% already doing it or planning to implement it. Their preference for it is also strong – 78% want some, most or full-time remote work.  

Keep these issues at the forefront of your strategy to build strong relationships with clients and recruit the best candidates. 

What's the process for choosing a staffing firm? 

Knowing what hiring managers prioritize throughout the selection process can help you position your recruiters and business to win more requisitions.  

The top two reasons in 2020 and 2019: the firm’s ability to find high-quality candidates and its reputation. But last year, amid changing markets, a new third place emerged – your firm’s ability to find a specific or niche skillset among candidates. This increased from fourth place in 2019, likely due to the growing preference for leaner teams with certain skills. 

The type of candidate placement also determined how the firm was found: 

  • 20% asked people in their professional network for temporary staffing 
  • 23% relied on the firm’s reputation in their industry for permanent placements, and 20% said the same thing for evaluation-to-hire candidates 
  • 18% used firms from their own personal experience for professional/executive searches 

How are firms found and vetted? 

The top reason a company becomes aware of its (future) staffing firm was based on that firm’s reputation. Coming in second place was the hiring manager receiving a referral within their professional network, and tied for third and fourth place were searching online and a connection proactively recommending that firm. 

Once an employer is aware of the firm, the vast majority of assessing is done online. From web searches, the firm’s website and reviews, to social media, your firm’s digital presence plays a huge role. Industry reputation accounted for the top spot, at 78% of hiring managers using this tactic to vet a firm, but close on its heels was firm website, with 76% of employers relying on that tool. Online searching and reviews came in next, at 75%. 

In 2021, consider where you need to invest your resources to meet the needs of hiring managers and candidates. For more insights and tips, join us Wednesday, January 27 for our webinar “Hiring Manager Sentiments and Preferences: How 2020 Transformed Staffing Sales and Client Service” in partnership with ClearlyRated and the American Staffing Association.  

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