Ultimately, everybody should seek to learn more from their mistakes. It’s how we grow and develop professionally and personally. This is especially true in complicated fields like staffing.
In the first few years as a staffing professional, you’re likely to make the most mistakes of your career. But the knowledge you gain in these early stages helps you better find and evaluate candidates as you grow in experience. You’ll refine your communication skills to better engage with clients. And you could even develop a trick or two no one else has tried. Overall, starting your career as a staffing professional is an exciting time.
It’s nice to learn the lessons of some common staffing mistakes without committing them. Knowing how others have failed will put you ahead of the learning curve. Here are four lessons staffing experts had to learn the hard way, but you can use to improve your staffing process now:
1. Sometimes, it’s better to veer off the traditional path.
I wish I had been encouraged to explore my creativity more, especially in terms of advertising positions. Thinking back on it, I wasted a lot of time on passive techniques that did not yield much quality return. If I had been thinking more creatively, I would have been better able to focus on attracting quality candidates. I actually ended up losing my first client because my chosen candidate did not last very long and the client was not impressed with my approach.
For the next client, I decided to host a speed-interviewing event, similar to speed dating. I partnered with local professional organizations and a bar to find a pool of candidates and a venue. I set up 15-minute appointments and met with people for four hours. The face-to-face connection with candidates really helped build trust and give me a sense of whether or not the candidate should come in for a full interview. With just a little bit of creative marketing, I found a lot more quality candidates than my wait-and-see approach.
Matt Dodgson, Director of Market Recruitment
2. The fastest way to make poor decisions is lacking balance.
Any outreach to attract applicants needs to strike the appropriate balance to capture qualified individuals’ attention without listing every single desirable trait. Most applicants won’t possess everything and if there’s too much detail, it may actually prevent strong candidates from applying. Conversely, too little detail will result in a deluge of unqualified hopefuls. Each communication should be thoughtfully crafted and appropriate for the position and target audience.
The same can be said of how wide you cast your net. Some new staffing professionals get caught in a trap of using the same recruitment methods regardless of whether their ideal candidates are likely to be identified via these sources. Seasoned staffing professionals utilize a wide variety of communications to put their vacancies in front of large groups of people. Successful hiring comes from choosing the best-qualified applicant from a large pool of candidates, not lowering your standard by selecting the best of the worst from a small response.
Susan Hosage, senior consultant at OneSource HR Solution
3. Thinking you know best will cause you to falter.
In my first year staffing, I had a candidate — a very bright software engineer — interviewing with a client of mine who was struggling to find someone to fill a very senior-level need. I truly believed this candidate was the right fit for the role, he had all the skills and work history. The client expressed some reservations about the candidate’s fit in the environment. The candidate voiced similar opinions, but I knew the technical match was there. I convinced both to move forward.
Low-and-behold, a couple of months later they both agreed that it wasn’t the right fit and they both had to start their search over. I’ve learned since then that regardless of what I think, it’s not about me. The company culture, and the candidate’s emotional state and desires are equally, if not more important, than simply making a match.
Mike “Batman” Cohen, founder of Wayne Technologies, Inc.
4. Staffing isn’t the place for banking on instant success.
Many underestimate the amount of work that goes into making that placement: the numbers of candidates you have to source and screen, the long call sheet. This is not a “one and done” industry. You have to be patient, tenacious, and pragmatic. You get what you put into it. You have to hunker down and be in it for the long haul.
I know I pushed candidates to hiring managers that weren’t stellar. They might have had most of the “must haves” but there was just a little something that was off. When you do that, you run the risk of poisoning your reputation with a hiring manager.
If you are looking for instant gratification, find another career. The highs are great when you seal the deal. But the lows can be a real bummer when you get a turndown or your candidate bails before your guarantee period closes.
Jan Hudson, Partner at Surf Search