The pace of business keeps getting faster. In the staffing industry, we see this daily. Hiring technologies are growing at a rapid clip. Options for online procurement of staffing seem to be expanding exponentially. Plus, the gig economy is giving companies new ways to secure just about any type of talent they need.
Are staffing firms at risk of losing market share? Absolutely! Our industry needs to evolve along with the market and its needs. To help you understand what this means for you and the actions you should take, I turned to one of the industry’s best-known experts—Scott Wintrip.
I’ve known Scott for almost 20 years. He’s always on top of the latest trends in recruiting. He’s also a top innovator in staffing, helping drive important critical improvements to the people business. And Scott has just written a new book, being published by McGraw-Hill in early April. It’s called High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant.
Here’s what I learned from Scott about the impacts of the changing marketplace, how they’ll affect you and what you can do to keep a competitive edge.
What are the most significant issues you’re seeing in the market right now?
There are two issues in particular: shortages and speed. Every year, we hear more news about the ongoing skills shortage. In researching my book, I saw compelling proof that there’s always a skills shortage, even in bad economic times. That was certainly the case in the Great Recession.
What’s been most interesting these past few years is hearing from staffing leaders about the increasing severity of the talent shortage, and how it’s affecting their firms’ ability to fill jobs. They say things like, “the shortage keeps getting worse,” and “I don’t know where we’re going to find enough talent.” Size of firm doesn’t matter—firms of all sizes and in all industries are reporting these issues.
The second issue is speed. This has two parts. First, time-to-fill hit another all-time high this year—29.5 working days. Organizations are taking longer than ever to make hiring decisions on temporary and full-time workers. When they take action, however, they’re doing so with incredible impatience. They’re more frustrated than ever when staffing firms don’t have who they need, when they need them. This is the second part regarding speed. Their impatience is why they’re leaving one staffing firm for another. It’s also why they’re embracing the gig economy and embracing new on-demand staffing models like Wonolo.
Speed is a critical issue, especially because of the contradictory behaviors of buyers. They’re impatient, but they also drag their feet. That’s one reason why the staffing business has become more challenging. You need to have the talent buyers need quickly, but that’s hard to do when there’s a persistent skills shortage.
Let’s stick with speed for a moment, and then we’ll come back to the skills shortage. The title of your upcoming book is High Velocity Hiring. You’ve told me that it’s designed to help companies hire faster and staffing firms deliver more quickly too. What can you share from the book that can immediately help staffing firms deliver faster?
There’s lots of things, enough to fill a book. Sorry, couldn’t resist a shameless plug. Okay, you’ve asked for one and I’ve got a good one. Teach your buyers to do hands-on interviews.
Hands-on interviews aren’t a new idea. They’re a twist on an old one. One that’s quite effective. That idea is the working interview. For those who’ve not set up working interviews with their clients, it goes something like this. You send a worker, such as an administrative assistant or computer programmer. The buyer gets to have them do work for a few hours. If the hiring manager likes what they see, the person stays. If not, they send the worker home and pay the staffing firm nothing (the staffing firm still pays the worker).
Not every hiring manager is immediately willing to do a working interview. Nor is this the right solution for every type of staffing situation. However, the new twist, the hands-on interview, works virtually every single time.
Here’s how you set it up. Suggest to buyers that seeing candidates in action is an easier way to assess their abilities than talking about doing work (the conventional way of interviewing). Then, collaborate with them on coming up with sample work your candidates can do in an interview. For example, programmers can be asked to debug code. Accounting candidates could be asked to trace errors in reports. This sample work should be a realistic simulation of the kind of key things they’d do on the job.
The beauty of the hands-on interview is that it makes it safe for a hiring manager to make a quick decision and a fast hire for their open contract or full-time job. Seeing someone doing quality work is compelling evidence that prompts people into action.
Love it. In fact, that’s something we already do here with our writers and support staff! Let’s change gears now to talent. Specifically, the skills shortage. To be able to deliver people for hands-on interviews, staffing firms will need to address those shortages. What advice do you offer in the book on that?
Some staffing firms have a consistent, strong flow of talent. What differentiates these firms isn’t size or industry. It’s flow. They’re tapping into a more robust flow of top talent.
How have they created a better flow of candidates? By fully tapping into all of the talent streams. There are eight streams of talent. Each one taps into pools of unique candidates. Firms that tap into all eight maintain a strong flow of talent.
These are the eight streams:
This includes print and online ads
Technology options include job boards, applicant tracking systems, tools for finding passive candidates, with more being added every year
- Candidate Mining
You mine your digital and paper files of previous candidates, looking at them as prospective candidates and referral sources
- Market Presence
Drawing in talent using your online and physical presence
Includes the virtual and physical worlds
Still the most potent stream, referrals consistently point you to the right people for a job
- Talent Manufacturing
Education and internships are used to create new talent
- Talent Scouts
Creating talent sharing agreements with other staffing and recruitment firms, including competitors
Two things surprise most staffing leaders. First, is that each talent stream gives you access to a different group of candidates. Some of the talent streams provide overlapping access to the same candidates, but no single stream can secure every qualified individual. That’s why it’s important to tap into all eight. The second thing that surprises these leaders is when they realize their staff are only fully leveraging two or three streams. That, not the skills shortage, is the reason why they don’t have enough talent.
This is great. I can already think of lots of firms that are good with two or three of these streams, but I don’t know anyone using all eight! And many of these firms are actually very good at recruiting. I can only imagine how much business they’ll do once they leverage all eight.
Scott, thank you for sharing these great ideas! I’m sure our readers will love them, but as you know, we are not stopping here!
Scott’s agreed to join me at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on March 9 for a Lunch with Haley webinar where he will share even more insights. His webinar that day is called “High Velocity Hiring, an Interview with Scott Wintrip.” Watch your email for more details.
Until then, I have one request. Scott’s book is available for pre-order right now. Please place your order today. Pre-orders generated on Amazon and other sites will directly determine how well the book does once it comes out in April. The better the book does, the better for the staffing industry.
Also, for every book order made using that link, Scott will make a donation to Hire Our Heroes, a nonprofit bridging the gap for transitioning veterans looking for employment.
Here’s that link to learn more about his book and order yours today: http://bit.ly/HaleyHVH