The goal of any business is simple — to drive revenue. How do we reach that goal? We sell more products and services, bring on more clients, and — in the staffing industry — we get more people hired. It seems pretty straightforward. But staffing professionals know that it’s not as easy as all that. In fact, focusing on placing more bodies into our clients’ companies to the exclusion of all else is a pretty serious mistake.
The difference between a recruiter and Olympian?
An Olympic athlete doesn’t spend all of their time thinking about the gold medal. They spend their time thinking about their fitness, their next best time, their next heaviest weight or next highest score. For an Olympic-level athlete, it’s about the journey, not the outcome.
The same holds true for the staffing industry. If we focus only on moving as many bodies through the door as possible, we’ll ultimately fail to reach an ideal outcome. If we focus on the journey instead, on how to make the candidate experience as pain-free as possible, then the rest will follow.
But shifting our focus away from the outcome and toward the recruiting process might take some getting used to. It can seem paradoxical to de-emphasize quantitative, revenue-generating activities in favor of more qualitative, experiential ones.
It’s important to remember that the people that the staffing industry help get hired are already in a difficult position. They’re experiencing the stress of being unemployed or underemployed, they’re being placed in businesses they’ve never seen nor heard of before and they’re putting their faith into a staffing firm to help them out.
If we don’t have empathy for our candidates as they go through the hiring and onboarding process, then their experience with us and with their next job will naturally sour. It’s no wonder that the net promoter score (NPS) for the staffing industry sits at a dismal score of 4.
Why recruiters are artists at heart
I do believe that recruiting is an art. I think that at its core, the ability to understand humans and understand them in a way that we can make matches that are healthy and actually drive the potential of everything forward, that to me is truly an art. I believe that … a very [small] percentage of people who work in our industry really are true artists in what they do.
For Grossman, applying this focus on artistry in the recruiting process has paid dividends. TalentLaunch, a nationwide network of recruiting and staffing firms that offers integrated technology solutions to its members, enjoys a whopping 60 NPS compared to the low 4 NPS seen by the staffing industry at large.
It makes sense; the staffing and recruiting process is fundamentally about people, their talents and skills, their personalities, the environments that they work best in and the workplaces that need them. People aren’t easy to quantify and handle in a rigid, logic-based way. Dealing with people well requires empathy, interpersonal skills and artistry.
A lot of staffing professionals probably understand this point. So, what’s stopping them from exercising their artistry? Grossman argues that it’s the amount of procedural tasks that a recruiter needs to do. “I think there’s a lot of that non-artistic process components to the industry that technology can help [the industry] solve for,” said Grossman on You Own the Experience.
“We need technology to come in and solve for the processes that don’t require an artist to be involved in so we can manage expectations appropriately and really provide the right service of matching talent with opportunity.”
Conducting background checks, credentialing, documentation for auditability — these tasks are time-consuming, but they don’t require the uniquely human touch of a recruiter. When recruiters spend too much time carry out procedural tasks, it adversely affects the journey. Giving staffing professionals an integrated tech stack that takes care of these procedural elements allows them to focus on being artists and delivering an exceptional experience to their candidates and their customers. And crucially, your technologies need to be integrated; otherwise, switching between tools and performing redundant workflows will take up as much time as using these technologies would save.
As an example of this, Grossman shared the tech stack that TalentLaunch uses.
Because integrability is key, TalentLaunch uses Bullhorn as their ATS. Bullhorn boasts open-ended APIs that make it easy to connect the different components of TalentLaunch’s tech stack.
One of EmployStream’s greatest strengths is how it streamlines compliance. Doing compliance right is tedious and bureaucratic, which means that humans are prone to making mistakes or cutting corners. However, these tasks have to be done right, even though they’re tedious to do. Because EmployStream automates much of this process and does so in a mobile-first fashion, TalentLaunch incorporated it into their stack.
Using Sense, TalentLaunch automates their communication workflows. This ensures that they’re keeping their candidate experience healthy and moving their candidates along their journey at a speedy pace.
Mya is an artificial intelligence platform that helps staffing firms source talent. TalentLaunch has a database of 4 million candidates, which Mya works on 24/7. Mya evaluates resumes and automatically communicates with good-fit candidates to get them re-engaged and placed in their ideal workplace.
CloudCall links into Bullhorn to document phone calls and texts. Since compliance is such an important aspect of the staffing industry, recruiters need to make a record of all of their communications with clients, which, if done manually, can take up a considerable amount of time. CloudCall does so automatically.
Using these tools, TalentLaunch and other companies like it are able to spend their time focusing on the candidate journey and exercising the artistry that is so unique to the staffing industry. Of course, this isn’t the only characteristic that makes for a successful recruiter and staffing firm. If you’d like to hear more of the insight’s Grossman had to share, check out episode 1 of You Own the Experience here.