Finding top talent is becoming a growing challenge for staffing agencies to meet the demands of clients. Despite the slow decrease in the unemployment rate and seemingly surplus of workers, many companies are hard-pressed in filling their staffing needs. Is this phenomenon because there are more unskilled workers, or because some employers are too stringent on their requirements?
Many staffing professionals are not finding an either/or answer to these questions. There are some positions with specific skill sets that really are hard to fill. However, there are an equal number of employers who could relax some of their requirements and still hire the best candidates.
For certain, this would make the job of staffing agency recruiters a little easier. In the meantime, today’s staffing agencies must become innovative in overcoming the talent shortage – whether it is a perception or reality – and helping their find the right people with the right mix of skills and work experience. Below are a few of those innovative solutions that staffing agencies can embrace.
Despite the economic turmoil that damaged the labor market, staffing agencies must prepare to meet a prerequisite in addressing their clients’ need for qualified talent. When the country experiences high unemployment, agency representatives must convince clients that it is very difficult to source and recruit the right workers for some positions.
More often than not, this is manifested through the firm insistence of some clients that agencies find candidates who meet the list of must-have requirements. Attempts to satisfy the client without compromising something on the list usually results in a hiring process where they do not appreciate the skills gap reality. Staffing agencies must communicate to clients that balancing their long list of must-have job requirements is important to filling essential positions.
Before staffing agencies can begin to provide staffing solutions that address clients’ talent gaps, they must educate clients on the complexities of the current labor market. This requires having a keen sense about the labor market broadly and specifically to the clients’ niche.
Some clients are willing to relax some of their requirements when staffing agencies can present factual data to prove their point. When a representative takes time to drill down into a specific field such as information technology – which has the lowest percentage of unemployment – those clients might accept the need for change.
Other clients might have to learn by going through the disappointing experience of missing out on a top candidate. Indecision or unrealistic expectations may discourage some candidates from wanting to work for a company. Seeing that the most qualified candidates who do not fit their job requirements list are hired elsewhere could be the wakeup call that clients need. This can make it easier for staffing agencies to explain that the recruiting process has to be done differently.
As the economy continues to show a steady pace of recovery, these conversations with clients can become easier.
It is imperative that staffing agencies offer their clients solutions that illustrate need. Clients need and deserve a realistic picture of the labor market. For some clients, this could mean looking within to fill certain positions. Investing in training and development programs for current employees might be a more cost-effective staffing solution than hiring outside talent.
The value of incumbent employees is often underestimated by hiring managers. They are presented with a staffing need and immediately contact a recruiter before looking within. Current employees have insider knowledge about organizational procedures and culture that will take time for a new hire to learn. By demonstrating this value to clients, staffing agencies could offer expanded services through a training program to bring proven employees up to speed with the desired skill set.
Staffing agencies could offer solutions that address the talent shortage by boosting the effectiveness of clients’ recruitment networking campaigns. Job candidates are beginning to use social media and mobile apps at a rapid pace to find new employment opportunities. For clients that have only begun to dabble into this area, staffing agencies can step in and identify potential candidates.
Forward thinking staffing agencies are making huge investments into all types of networking solutions. They recognize that it is incumbent upon them to do so for a competitive advantage. Additionally, this is the direction in which the labor and recruiting industry are going. It takes a sustained effort for clients to make social networking pay off; staffing agencies are already getting practice with multiple clients.
Facilitating effective growth strategies is part of the role that staffing agencies have with their clients. Therefore, an essential staffing service is to anticipate what clients need before they call. For this, staffing agencies must have an in-depth understanding of their clients’ industry and what it takes for short-term and long-term growth.
With a bug picture view of their clients’ workforce, staffing agencies can uncover future needs for services. Whether it is for temporary workers, contract workers or direct hires, staffing agencies can begin recruiting to meet those needs effectively.
The days of finding the best candidates through a simple job posting are in the past. Many of the best candidates are not actively looking for a new opportunity. However, as the economy continues to improve, high performers might be tempted to move on to something better. Staffing agencies must find effective ways to connect with passive candidates.
Central to this being a successful sourcing tool is linking innovative ways of building talent communities. Referral networks and social recruiting technologies are connecting staffing agencies with high performers. Strong talent communities, referral networks and social channels become a winning combination for any recruiting strategy in the current labor market.
Identifying key areas of growth for clients strengthens the agency’s position in presenting a diverse pool of highly skilled talent. Ultimately, this can simplify the process of finding the right talent needed to support clients’ growth efforts. Many staffing agencies view their referral strategies as one of the best ways to overcome the talent shortage.
Finally, staffing agencies can persuade their clients that recruitment process outsourcing can help to narrow the talent shortage. Many of the toughest recruitment challenges could be resolved if clients transfer all aspects of recruiting and hiring to the staffing agency. Not only does this process involve recruiting and hiring the right talent, but the staffing agency will manage ongoing staffing solutions.
While recruitment process outsourcing can involve many tasks, it does not need to be a behemoth program. It is not uncommon for clients to request this for a specific part of the recruitment process. Typically, this type of recruitment outsourcing works best for clients who primarily want direct hire service. Targeted implementation might work best based on the client’s need.
Staffing agencies must develop a sustained effort to recruit, engage and hire the best talent available. Success is contingent upon the ability to communicate realities of the current labor market – along with innovative solutions that help clients reach their goals.
More than ever, business results and holding a competitive advantage require retaining the best talent. How clients choose to define who the best talent are begins with who they need and ends with staffing agencies reshaping that definition. That does not negate the requirements that clients want; it simply requires a higher level of innovation from staffing agencies.
The talent shortage is one of the biggest threats facing the staffing industry. Add to this threat is the challenge of staying ahead in the war for the best talent. In order to remain relevant in the current labor market, staffing agencies must anticipate skill gap areas and begin proactive recruiting efforts for their clients. Strategic staffing agencies have already begun taking the necessary steps toward overcoming the talent shortage.