Did your staffing firm overpromise?
It’s a common complaint that we hear. What they said they could do and the reality of what they actually could do turned out to be very different things. Maybe the quality of the candidates isn’t what you expected or maybe they aren’t able to find the 10 quality assurance contractors that you need to start next month. Whatever it is, it’s a problem for you. You don’t have the contract personnel you need to get the job done.
So, what can you do?
Here are three things that you can do as you evaluate potential staffing firms to help avoid the problem and get at what a company really can do:
- Ask about their recruiting process. Make sure that you ask them about their process for finding and evaluating candidates. If they don’t have one or can’t adequately describe how it works and how they ensure their recruiters are following it, that’s a red flag. You don’t want to find out that their process is simply searching Monster or that they’re submitting resumes without vetting the candidate first. Their process should be clearly described, repeatable by any and all recruiters, and tested for quality. Without a process, any promise is in danger of being an empty one.
- Get details about the type and number of people they have found and placed before. A company can say that they have experience finding great software developers but that’s a broad category. Have they found Java, C++, Ruby or Python developers? And have they found more than one or two at a time? Have they found developers with experience in your industry? Tech needs in the Financial Services and Pharmaceutical industries are often different. Think about your specific needs in terms of skills, experience, cultural fit, and volume, and ask if they’ve done that before.
- Ask for references. It sounds simple but it’s oh so important. Ask for references and call them. And ask for references that really give you a chance at getting useful information. Ask for a reference from a company of a similar size and/or one that they have placed a similar number of people at. Again, think about what you need and ask their references questions that will show you they can fulfill your requirements. What makes a firm right for you is whether they can do that, not whether they are a prestigious global firm or a small firm that promises lots of personal attention.
Most companies these days have processes for evaluating and hiring staffing firms and they may include these kinds of questions. Your company probably does too. Just make sure that you are thinking carefully and asking the right questions and for the right references. Sometimes, no matter how thoughtful and rigorous a process you have, things still don’t work out. But making sure you do these three things can help make it a lot less likely.
Be thoughtful and proactive and avoid the problem of overpromising!