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It’s something I remember my father saying. He said it with a gleam in his eye though, it wasn’t a lament; it was a statement. It was his version of “you get what you pay for” and “caveat emptor.” He taught me to recognize value and to understand that often, paying more for better quality meant your purchase was less likely to break and would last and look good for a longer period of time. It was a valuable lesson for a boy saving for a bike.

But his words of wisdom have served me well as a businessman too. Quality matters, no matter what business you are in. If you can find the very best copier at a bargain basement price, go for it! But too often, you pay the price in the long run by buying cheap. I was reminded of this recently. Our web site experienced serious technical difficulties and exposed our service provider as less than capable. Fortunately, we were able to get up and running again with what we feel is an improved site. But it didn’t happen overnight. We took our time, carefully evaluated our options and focused on quality and results as well as price. It was a challenge keeping the pressure to fix it quickly at bay. It’s easy to sacrifice quality with the best of intentions.

This is especially true in the staffing business. The pressure to cut costs and save time seems never ending, with everyone wanting things faster and for less money. Competition is tough and there is a sense that the window of opportunity closes very quickly and that can cause both hiring companies and suppliers to react in counterproductive ways. In an effort to submit resumes quickly, there can be a great temptation for suppliers to put off critical screening requirements. This kind of shortcut though can lead to problems later; at best a simply embarrassing recall when education credentials don’t check out, and at worst possible serious security risks.

Taking time is important for both the client and the vendor. Clients who thoughtfully prepare requisitions and are clear about their expectations and requirements will receive better candidates and find the right one more quickly. Everyone is pressed for time these days but the upfront investment can save you on the other end. Likewise, suppliers need to take the time to carefully screen candidates and match them accurately to the position. Submitting numerous resumes hoping that one will stick is unproductive and wastes everyone’s time. My operating principle has always been that it is better to submit fewer, good candidates and it’s always best to admit when you don’t have the right person. Don’t waste your own or the client’s time.

If we all adopt the “too poor to buy cheap” mantra in our business dealings, we can help improve quality everywhere!

Jerry Brenholz,
President and CEO
ATR International


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