You might have recently seen that Bank of America has decided to raise their minimum pay rate to $20/hr over the next two years. Whether this decision is based on the social backlash against pay disparity, record profits, actual benevolence toward their workforce, or the government placing additional scrutiny on the banks, this much is true: they are finding it more and more difficult to find qualified workers. That squeeze is getting passed on to the staffing industry.
Is your staffing company feeling the squeeze? With record-low unemployment (3.8% in March and a 16% increase in open jobs this year) you are most likely facing several challenges.
Challenges Your Staffing Company May Be Facing
1. “Talent Shortages”
Yes, those quotes are there on purpose. There are definitely fewer and fewer people currently unemployed, thus, qualified people who are actively looking for a job are few and far between. The problem is the most qualified people are currently employed and may not be looking for a job. So, how do you reach them?!
2. Margins Are Shrinking
And sometimes they seem non-existent. If you don’t operate as an MSP, you are facing HEAVY competition to find talent almost immediately or you can’t compete with their fees. If you do have an MSP portion of your business, you are still facing stiff competition from other organizations that are actively working to steal your business. Additionally, pay rates have risen 2.9% from 2017-2018, but inflation is digging into those paychecks with gas, rent, and other commodities prices rising as well. Employers are finally raising their rates, but this doesn’t necessarily translate to giving you your margin back. And now, it’s become more and more expensive to source candidates now that Indeed has cut off all organic job postings, making their platform a purely pay-to-play model.
3. Lower (or non-existent) Employee Loyalty
This is a result of low unemployment rates, competition to pull in the best talent and companies willing to cough up more to pay them. Also, people are increasingly using online reviews to make decisions like what staffing company to work with. If a company has poor reviews, individuals searching for a job are less likely to work with that company. If another company seems to treat their contractors better or have put into place a better employee experience, they will jump ship!
4. Poor Employee Experience Process
This directly impacts point #3 and covers the whole process from sending in an application to the interview, communication before, during and after an assignment. With the focus on finding new talent in a shrinking pool of people willing to jump to a new job, it is essential that staffing companies place high importance on providing a pleasant, communicative application and interview process for EVERY applicant. If the applicant is not qualified for the job they applied to, they may still leave a negative review if they are ghosted by your recruiting team. That individual could have been qualified for a future job, but that bridge was burned on their first touch point with your company. Additionally, in the temporary workforce, there is a HUGE percentage of individuals who are never reactivated to go to another job once their first assignment is completed. It costs exponentially less to reengage and retain your best workers, rather than recruit brand new workers.
So, what can you do to get out of the “squeeze”?
How Can I Be Productive and Profitable in this Current Market?
1. Flip your perspective
Instead of a talent-scarcity mindset, identify where the talent is, and pivot your recruiting tactics to find those people. With record-low unemployment, your best potential hires probably already have jobs. Identify your target candidate’s pain points and develop your messaging to attract them. What are your key differentiators? What actually makes working with you different. What’s in it for them (Higher pay, better work environment, benefits, career growth opportunities)?
2. Plug your leaks
Develop a “non-leaky” candidate experience.
You can’t afford (literally) to lose qualified applicants! You are competing with TONS of other companies vying for their attention. You’ve paid in time and money to get them to your website to possibly apply. If they’ve applied, make sure you have a defined processes for staying in touch with that applicant with many little touch points along the way.
Share a blog. Send them a helpful eBook. Send a list of places to go to lunch close to the business, the closest bus routes. ANYTHING to show them you value their attention. Continue to do this throughout their assignment (temp or contract), so that you can easily retain them for the next opportunity.
3. Market effectively :
Did you just notice that Indeed just cut your organic jobs off from appearing on their site? Yikes! Gone are the days of being able to rely on organic traffic to your jobs, only. After making sure your website and job board are primed and optimized for organic search, develop a multi stream distribution approach to get your jobs out in front of both active AND passive job seekers. Here are a few ideas:
- Publish Facebook Jobs
- Share jobs to Facebook and LinkedIn job-search groups
- Send out hot-job emails to your ATS list on a regular basis (even to people that worked for you years ago.)
- Publish regular blogs that are SEO optimized to increase your organic search presence on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo
- Run Remarketing Ads to people who visit your site (just like those Amazon ads that follow you everywhere)
- These are just a few.
- Here are some more…
As you test certain tactics, always keep in mind your larger goals for recruiting and sales to make sure that your marketing activities lead to better ROI for those goals.
4. Create A Candidate-Focused Application Process
So, you’ve spent lots of money to get people to your site through social media, word-of-mouth, Google ads and job fairs and someone clicks on your APPLY NOW button. What kind of application are they faced with? Is it huge? Do they have to create a login and password? Are there multiple pages they must complete just to show they are potentially interested in a job? If your career-site application requires someone to enter their social security number, remove that field immediately! This is one of several items that instantly make someone leery to fill out an application. Here are a few ways you can make sure your application is user-friendly and gives you a chance to pull in better applicants:
- Shorten the initial application to name, email and phone number (you get two ways to reach out).
- If you need a resume, consider this the second touch point, not the first.
- Choose a job board with Easy-Apply options like Apply with Facebook/LinkedIn, Indeed/Twitter/Amazon. This literally allows the person to apply in SECONDS!
- Make sure your jobs and job board is technically able to and formatted for Google Jobs to find them.
- Make sure your application is mobile first (not just mobile friendly). If you look at your website traffic on Google analytics, you will likely see close to 50% of your traffic coming in from phones and tablets (if not more). Make sure your application can be filled out on a phone just as easily on a computer.
- Don’t post vague job descriptions. If a site visitor can’t figure out what the job entails in the first few lines, they won’t apply. Make sure to communicate what’s in it for them (WIIFT)!
Get out of the squeeze!
If you’re feeling the squeeze right now, there are ways to reach the right candidates and generate sales leads. Take the time to reevaluate your processes and let data drive your decisions.
If you’re looking for data on what’s working and what’s not working, reach out to us at Haley Marketing Group. We practice what we preach. Our marketing best practices are tried and true, and we are always looking at the data and new tactics to help our clients reach exactly who they want to.