While there is certainly no shortage of staffing and recruiting professionals IT hiring managers can partner with, not all will necessarily stand out as a long-term partner. In our previous installment, we discussed 5 traits that help define a top-tier staffing partner. In the content to follow, we’ll complete the discussion by defining additional qualifies to look for when in need of a long-term staffing partner.
Although the typical staffing professional certainly receives financial compensation when filling open positions, focusing on the commission side of the transaction should not be the goal. Instead, their aim should be to ensure that they’re placing the most qualified applicants with the right hard and soft skills into each opening. By taking a sincere interest in the needs of candidate and client, it increases the chances that the hire turns out to be a great long-term fit for all involved.
Transparency is critical to keep the process moving efficiently. In some instances, this can mean telling a hopeful job applicant that he or she simply isn’t a good match for a given position. In other situations, it may mean campaigning a position on behalf of the client to the perfect candidate, even if it means they decline to move forward in the process.
The transparency between a staffing partner and a hiring manager is similar, yet deeper. This level of transparency requires that the staffing partner be open and honest about the salary expectations the hiring manager can expect for a given role, the availability of the desired skillset, and how the company fits into the hiring ecosystem. This can include candid conversations about the applicants themselves, in addition to the types of offers and benefits that are becoming commonplace, and therefore driving the candidate market.
Efficient in Identifying Qualified Candidates
Because departmental productivity can be severely hampered with each IT employee gap, an effective staffing partner should know how to expedite the recruitment process in order to fill open positions quickly. Mastery over the interviewing process is important, as well as their ability to perform effective phone screenings and preliminary interviews to weed out unsuitable candidates. A true business partner will understand how to assess and evaluate candidates, and determine whether or not they warrant interview time by the IT hiring manager.
What separates the good staffing professionals from the great ones is their ability to get a true sense of a candidate’s personality and capabilities during initial conversations. In the modern hiring climate, it’s not enough to simply match someone’s expertise to the open positions. Qualified candidates must also have the right personality to easily mesh with the company’s culture, as well as that of the IT department. Without this critical match, it’s unlikely that today’s placement will remain tomorrow’s happy employee.
Unfortunately, not every recruiting process goes smoothly once the offer is made to the final candidate. Even in an employer’s market, it’s still possible for stalemates and disagreements to occur over compensation or benefits. This is where the outstanding communication skills of an effective staffing partner come into play.
When tensions are high, a true partner understands that it’s not just the words they use that will diffuse the situation, but also the tone of voice they choose. In order to do this effectively, it often means hearing both what they’re being told and what’s not being said to ascertain the emotional position of the other party. Negotiating both parties out of a stalemate and into a mutually beneficial agreement requires a great deal of tact, yet at the same time, it also requires the staffing professional to come out and say it plainly when the final and best offer has been made.
In a very real sense, an effective staffing manager must be able to fluidly switch between aspects of their job and shifting priorities at a moment’s notice in order to be successful. Just keeping multiple parties with often competing interests happy can require a great deal of flexibility and creativity.
Since recruiting is a human-focused process, the most effective staffing professionals realize that the needs of the candidate or the client company could shift at any moment. When that occurs, their flexible nature will allow them to look for the new best course of action, communicate this to all parties involved, and efficiently shift to a new approach with minimal impact on the process and timelines.
Maintain Long-Term Relationships
The best staffing partners in the business understand the importance of forging long-term relationships with both the hiring managers they serve and the candidates they place in various positions. Moreover, keeping in touch isn’t a chore for them because they have a genuine love of communicating with others. According to Kevin Wheeler, “every great recruiter has a need to be around and with people.”
The beauty of the long-term relationship trait is really two-fold. First, maintaining an ongoing relationship with IT hiring managers leads to a deeper understanding of where their departmental skills excel, where they lack, and what type of individuals they’re always hoping to add to their team. Second, it creates a larger overall candidate pool when it’s time to fill an open position, because they’ve developed professional relationships and placement histories with IT professionals over time, and in many cases, throughout a large portion of their career. A fantastic byproduct of this long-term relationship with IT professionals is an increase in the potential referral market. While an otherwise qualified candidate is currently working with no intentions of making a change, that person’s personal network may contain a peer or equally-qualified candidate which may have otherwise gone undiscovered.
Remember, no one skill or trait can really make a staffing partner shine above all others. Instead, it’s the cohesive blend of these experiences and qualities that transforms a staffing partner from someone who can fill your open positions into someone who can intuitively manage every aspect of the hiring process to provide your business with the most stress-free and effective process possible.
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