Seventeen million. 17,000,000: for perspective.
That is the number of temporary and contract employees staffing firms place in a year, according to the American Staffing Association. It’s safe to say staffing firms play a crucial part of many employers’ and HR pros’ talent acquisition processes.
When you combine forces with external talent sourcing teams, breakdowns in communication have the potential to create challenges for your hiring process. It’s the responsibility of all parties involved to communicate their needs and ensure the best hiring outcomes.
Rest assured, your staffing firm is going to touch base to get on the same page about role requirements, expectations, timelines, and more. The metrics you track internally, however, say a lot about the state of your hiring process.
Making these details available can set a baseline for your staffing firm’s talent sourcing process. While it may seem logical to keep your hiring data close to the vest, it’s an invaluable tool that empowers your staffing firm to bring you the best possible candidates.
Effective communication is the key element to getting the most out of using a staffing firm. Here are three tips to improve communication with your staffing firm and ensure all efforts contribute to a successful staffing experience:
Make them an extension of your team
Although the staffing firm is technically an external consultant, think of them more as a full-fledged member of your team. The communications you have with your internal hiring team and those you have with your staffing firm should never be completely separate.
Keep them in the loop on your team communications. They shouldn’t be the last to know when job details change or when you’ve decided a candidate isn’t right for the position.
It’s especially important for them to see the effectiveness of their predictive metrics. Share data from ongoing productivity assessments of their previous referrals so they know if they are screening candidates for your roles effectively.
Giving your staffing firm regular insight into your team’s evolving preferences and needs allows staffing pros to be proactive and change their strategy when necessary. And when your hiring team and staffing firm communicate directly, they can work together on solutions in real-time.
Give feedback early and often
Your staffing firm is not made up of mind-readers — they only know you have a problem with their process if you tell them. Radio silence allows them to assume everything is running smoothly and they can continue with business as usual.
Your staffing firm will undoubtedly ask for feedback as part of their regular check-ins. But you can take a more proactive stance with your communication. Alert your staffing firm of any issues as soon as they pop up. Don’t wait until the position is filled (or worse, sits empty draining more of your hiring budget) to deliver feedback.
Don’t just filter your staffing firm’s referrals into yes and no piles. Measure where candidates are missing the mark in skills or culture fit. Let them know if the process needs to pick up to reduce time-to-hire costs or if you need them to take more time screening candidates to fill skills gaps. In the same vein, be sure to let them know when they’re hitting the nail on the head.
Make the best use of communication tools
Don’t restrict your communications to traditional emails and phone calls. Sometimes questions are addressed more quickly via text or instant message.
In addition, video is a great tool to get to know your staffing firm better and collaborate more efficiently. For example, instead of outlining your company culture in an email, give them a virtual tour. This will allow the staffing firm to get a real sense of your office and culture so they can easily identify the right candidates.
If you have questions about their process, request a conference call with the staffing team. They’ll have an easier time explaining the nitty-gritty details over the phone versus a long-winded email, and you can request to record their responses to refer to later. Just be sure to update this information when changes in the process occur over time.
Don’t forget. This isn’t your staffing firm’s first rodeo. If you’re unsure what metrics to measure to help them help you find the best talent, just ask. As long as you keep communication flowing both ways, your external talent sourcing and internal hiring teams will be an unstoppable duo.