4 ways staffing firms can grow in this job market

staffing firms thrive in job market

“Now hiring” is starting to sound like the summer anthem. And it’s not as though job seekers aren’t applying; we’ve heard from many of you that workers will apply, but getting them in the door is a struggle. This supply-and-demand imbalance is basically asking staffing firms to have the strength and agility of Team USA.

What's more, the latest ClearlyRated survey of staffing professionals and buyers, conducted in partnership with CareerBuilder, found that an overwhelming majority of clients are open to exploring other staffing firm options.



Here are four ways staffing professionals can get ahead right now – at all stages of the hiring process.

Employ skills-based hiring.

The survey found that strong candidate matches was the leading cause of satisfaction among clients of staffing firms, and poor matches was one of the top detractors, with more than half of respondents naming that as a top reason for satisfaction or dissatisfaction. 

Among satisfied clients, 90% say the firm provides candidates that meet specifications. 

77% say access to candidates with the right skills is a top pain point. 

Ask clients: How are you defining a strong match? What is a true job requirement? From there, you can use skills data to help clients identify and acquire talent based on the exact skills needed, which means strong candidate matches.  

A recruiter at one firm reassessed their use of the CareerBuilder Talent Discovery Platform and began plugging more skills to identify top matches. And guess what? They started attracting more relevant applicants. Other firms provide detailed descriptions of skills in job postings to get the right talent. 

“Several clients are of the mindset that this is where recruitment is headed,” said Halla Karaman, a customer success manager at CareerBuilder. 

Raise the pay rate.

And don’t just pick a number out of the sky. Provide clients with data-backed compensation information and other market insights to ensure positions are posted with attractive compensation rates. 

“Use this (Supply and Demand) data to set those right expectations and to support the claim that we’re too low for market value to acquire this level of talent,” said Steven Cerny, VP of sales for staffing and recruiting groups at CareerBuilder. “We’re seeing a lot more sign-on bonuses. That’s good; it’s not going to work across the board. For every success story I see where the sign-on bonus does work, you see other cases where the clients are saying, ‘Hey, even with a $500 sign-on bonus, I'm elevating the hourly rate to $15, it’s still not enough to attract the worker.’” 

“Companies are quickly changing strategy, and the number one thing candidates care about today is pay,” said Tom Harney, a sales manager at CareerBuilder. “We worked with a client to show their pay was in the bottom 25% for receptionists, which was 30% lower than average pay in the area. By understanding the gap, the client worked with their C-Levels to raise the rates so they were competitive in the market.” 

Host hiring events.

Virtual interviewing has changed the hiring landscape, with 88% of survey respondents having implemented the practice. 

“I’ve definitely seen a rise in virtual career fairs and hiring events,” said Cerny. “When you’re trying to get roles filled quickly and get the word out, this is a great opportunity to engage with a large number of candidates and also keep them in your pipeline moving forward.” 

“Hiring events allowed my client to focus on interviewing and placing candidates instead of time-consuming top-of-the-funnel activities,” said Harney. “We delivered five times the expected amount of candidates, and the client was able to hire three people, plus build a pipeline for their future roles.” 

Give more, get more.

Perhaps the most consequential move companies can make is offering remote work – and doing it well.  

According to the survey, 64% of clients in the professional sector believe handling a remote workforce has become much more important. 

86% have invested in technologies to enable remote work. 

“Remote work is clearly here to stay," said Cerny. “That flexibility is a great retention strategy in general. These are the things we have to look at: Are we servicing in the same way as when we were going on site to meet our customers? Are we missing something that we could be doing? Do we have to build in more weekly cadence or weekly meetings?” 

Overall, company culture and workplace flexibility are among the top incentives to attain and retain workers.  

Career growth potential, company leadership, and company culture were the top three reasons employees were attracted to their firm, according to the survey. 

And it goes both ways: Of satisfied clients, 90% say the firm provides candidates that are a fit with the company’s culture.  

“Clients are beginning to offer better benefit packages, additional PTO, etc.,” said Harney. “A client advised that they haven’t had this much negotiation when extending offers (to both recruiters and candidates), so they’ve had to brainstorm to offer additional incentives.” 

It may seem like a heavy lift, but taking the time to identify and implement new hiring practices can set firms up for success in the short and long term. 

For more tips and advice, watch the full webinar, “How to Thrive in a Tight Post-Pandemic Labor Market," hosted by Steven Cerny, VP of sales for staffing and recruiting groups at CareerBuilder, and Eric Gregg, ClearlyRated CEO.

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