Staffing World 2008 was quite a success! I was able to participate in a lot of great conversations, hear a lot of great speakers, and get a real feeling for what staffing companies are seeing in the market right now. The best way that I could think of to share my experience was to give some quick hitting, tactical ideas that I picked up at the conference:
- For recruiters, when you call a company to check a reference for a candidate, always make it a sales call! Remind the contact that the reason you are making the call is that XYZ Staffing is committed to finding the best employees for their clients. Follow up with a thank you card and include your business card.
- Incentivize qualified lead generation within your organization. This makes lead generation a part of the process and culture.
- Resist the urge to cut margins. If you allow significant margin creep it will be harder to get your margins back up when the market turns around. Think of low-cost value adds that you can provide instead of cutting margins.
- Managers, have your recruiters present three great candidates to you every week. They can skill market these three candidates and use them as an excuse to talk to clients.
At the “Build Your Income in a Slow Economy” Knowledge Network Roundtable I was asked to share a few ideas and these were the recommendations I gave to the participants:
- Concentrate on your highest margin clients. Offer to meet with them and write a strategic staffing plan for 2009 to help them weather the economy and still have access to the talent that they need to thrive as a business. In this way you become a partner who is helping them with a business solution rather than just a staffing provider.
- Commit to growing your talent base. When there are fewer orders coming in you need to fill each and every order that you get.
- Have a renewed focus on candidate marketing. By directly marketing talent you can “create” job orders.
- Retrain your sales staff to strategically sell the value of staffing. Since 2001 too many sales reps have gotten into the habit of order taking and asking “Are you hiring?” rather than being able to demonstrate the cost savings and lower risk that a comprehensive staffing plan can provide.
I hope to see you at Staffing World 2009 in Orlando, and if not you can always look for my post-conference thoughts again!