In today’s increasingly tight labor market, candidates have more employment options at their disposal. Our research shows that more than half of candidates (55 percent) are dissatisfied with their current employment situation, and nearly the same amount (54 percent) believe they will be at a different company within the next year.
If these findings are any indication, 2018 could be a busy year for the staffing industry, but there may be road bumps ahead. CareerBuilder has partnered with Inavero on the exclusive Staffing Advantage Report to understand and address some of the most prevalent challenges faced by the staffing industry. The report also uncovers ways in which the staffing industry can improve.
One area for improvement is for staffing firms to alleviate common job search pain points so candidates feel more engaged and less confused about where they stand in the process. A major stumbling block is communication — or rather the lack thereof. That means once candidates have applied, they have no idea what you’re doing on their behalf until you communicate it with them.
The lack of communication extends even further. About 1 in 3 staffing firms make no attempt to engage with candidates in the time between accepting the assignment and their start date, and only 16 percent of firms fully automate pre-start communications.
Not only does technology help improve efficiency, it also improves the odds of a successful candidate placement. Our research shows that the shorter the turnaround time on background checks, the more likely candidates are to accept the position (73 percent for those who take 48 hours or less vs. 38 percent for those who take more than two weeks).
“When you look at your process, if it’s slow, inefficient or cumbersome, realize that you are going to lose a significant portion of the candidates you would otherwise capture,” said Kyle Braun, president of the staffing and recruiting group at CareerBuilder. “[Ask yourself:] What are the things we’re doing that are manual that could be automated? Twenty-nine percent of firms reported that pre-hire paperwork is completely manual, and 25 percent of firms have that process completely automated. That type of work can be completely automated and drive incredible efficiency in an organization.”
Our research shows that as many as 3 in 4 candidates (74 percent) keep applying to positions while waiting on background check results. While the ideal window would be no longer than two days, taking more than two weeks to complete a background check is unacceptable, says Eric Gregg, founder and CEO of Inavero.
Consider Your Application Process on Mobile Devices
If you haven’t gone through your staffing firm’s application process on a mobile device recently, you should.
“How long does it take? How many steps are involved? Is it frustrating for you? Start there,” Braun advised. “The less information you’re asking for and the better the technology is optimized to capture a candidate’s information, the better off you are.”
Win More Business for Your Firm With the Help of Technology
About 3 in 4 staffing clients think a staffing firm that uses the most up-to-date technology differentiates them from the competition.
In fact, our research shows both clients and candidates are more likely to work with firms that use technology more proficiently than the industry at-large.
Nearly 2 in 3 staffing firm clients and 3 in 5 staffing firm candidates think it’s important that their staffing firms use the most up-to-date technology. In fact, doing so differentiates them from the competition in the eyes of more than 3 in 4 clients and candidates.
So if you’re looking to grow your reach in 2018, understand how you can win more business while building a strong candidate pipeline so you can stay a step ahead of the competition.
Get Maximum Value Out of Your Technology
Staffing firms need to examine where technology can make the biggest impact.
“[For example, some] firms say their applicant tracking technology is the most significant technology investment that they make, yet a lot of firms report that they don’t get the value that they could get because [perhaps] the candidate records are out of date [or] the system is too slow [or] maybe there’s poor search technology,” Braun said.
Some of the best firms, however, invest in optimizing the technology they have in place. In an ATS, for example, that could mean integration, investing another search tool in the system, automation, job distribution, etc. “They’re taking the system they have and finding ways to optimize that system so they can get a better return out of their most significant technology investment,” Braun said.
Build Trust and Improve Online Reputation
Just as the buying process increasingly takes place online, our research found that half of clients spend 20 percent or more of their time vetting staffing firms online. And if you look at just millennials, that demographic goes online twice as often as older clients when vetting a firm. One in 4 prospective clients read online reviews as part of their vetting process.
That means you need to pay more attention to the online reputation of your overall business and show — not just tell — clients what makes yours a top staffing firm.
“Whatever claim [you’re making], it’s important to be able to back it up with social proof or outside validation — such as an industry award like Best of Staffing [or] recognition on a fastest-growing list [or] case studies and client testimonials — something that supports the claim you’re making can help you differentiate,” Braun said.
Understand the Customer’s Business
There’s a lot of data available to you — what’s most important is how you use that data in conversations to inform and educate customers.
“Some of the best firms leverage workforce analytics to have richer conversations with their customers and candidates,” Braun said. “Firms that do so can demonstrate knowledge of the market, educate their customers on trends, the available talent pool — and that demonstration of knowledge in the marketplace and understanding the customer’s business can set you apart.”
Consider Training Candidates
CareerBuilder’s 2018 Hiring Forecast shows that 2 in 3 employers (66 percent) plan to hire candidates who don’t have all the skills required for a particular job because they intend to invest in training for those workers. That number is up from last year (52 percent) and the year prior (36 percent).
As more employers invest in training for new employees who may not have the skills required for the job, your staffing firm can take advantage, too.
If your staffing firm can offer training opportunities or special programs that could help candidates fill the skills gap, share those stories with potential customers, Braun advised. Since it’s top of mind for employers today, it can help you truly stand out from the crowd if you can help in any way.