How to Build Relationships in a Candidate-Driven Market: Insights from Jamie Stansfield | Staffing Speaks Out
How can you improve your communication methods in a candidate-driven market? I had the opportunity to talk with Jamie Stansfield, Director of Operational Excellence at PEAK Technical Staffing, on the subject as part of our Staffing Speaks Out conversation series. I spoke with Jamie about her experience working in the staffing industry, her insights on how firms can better engage candidates, and how to prevent the dreaded ‘ghosting’. Read on or watch the interview below.
Katie Tierney [KT]: Hey Jamie, thanks for joining me today. Tell me a little about your role and what you do at PEAK Technical Staffing.
Jamie Stansfield [JS]: My role is focused on continuous improvement. We’re in charge of training, we’re always evaluating new software to make our recruiters and salespeople more effective, and we implement those softwares.
KT: When it comes to evaluating different software for your business, what are some of the top priorities you keep in mind?
JS: We really want to make sure that it’s a functional piece of software for our recruiters. We want to make sure we’re putting ourselves into that recruiting mindset and in that role—just kind of walking ourselves through the process as if we were recruiters.
Sometimes when you’re in the back office, you get a little bit far removed from the day-to-day, so we actually include our recruiters and salespeople in demos and things like that, just to make sure that we’re seeing everything that we need to be seeing through their eyes.
KT: What are some of the particular challenges you face in the evaluation process?
JS: You have to make sure you’re asking the right questions because otherwise, you purchase it and then you end up not having what you expected you would have. It’s tough because you might go through three demos and buy a big software that will be a big commitment for a year or more, so we really want to make sure we’re asking the right questions and trying it out first.
KT: It’s no secret that we’re in a candidate-driven market right now and it seems like everyone is in such high demand. What are some of the obstacles your firm faces on this front and how are you handling them?
JS: A big one lately has been ghosting. We’ll have candidates who will just totally disappear. They won’t show up for an interview and they won’t call you back or they won’t show up on their first day of the job.
We’ll call you back and you can’t get a hold of them because it’s easy to hit “block number” these days.
We really try to re-qualify them before we send them in to be submitted or in for an interview or even for the first day of the job. It’s really incredible because they do have to go through a lot of paperwork to be hired and then they’ll often just not show up because they got another job or —there’s a lot of different reasons for it.
KT: How do you think technology is helping to transform the way recruiters and salespeople build relationships and engage with candidates and clients?
JS: I’m changing the communication in our business. We’re doing a lot more texting. We’ll send reminders and back-and-forth messages with them. Sometimes people can’t get on the phone, so that’s made communication better. And we have a chatbot that we’ve implemented. We’re focused on getting people involved, instead of aiming for large conversations or emails. We’re getting them involved through small snippets back and forth.
KT: What excites you most about what’s in store for the year ahead?
JS: We’ve got a couple of implementations planned. We’re going to be switching over to Bullhorn Novo, which I’m very excited about. We also have new training that we’re rolling out, which I’m really excited about. And there are a lot of candidate engagement platforms out there, so we’re looking into some of those right now. We really need to just keep us top-of-mind for people, so that when the time comes that they’re ready for a new opportunity, they think of us.
KT: I’d love to hear about your experience with Bullhorn. How’s it helping you?
JS: Bullhorn has been really great for us. We can see so much more than we could before. We had a proprietary system in place before that and when we switched to Bullhorn, it was like the skies parted. It was like the greatest thing ever. So we brought everyone in. We did our subject matter expert training. We actually brought our lead staffing managers together, which we had never done before. That helped us create a sense of camaraderie in the recruiting side. Typically, we were only bringing the sales team and managers together. So that’s been great. And just the ability to connect everything front to back has been really great.
KT: What do you love most about the staffing industry? What keeps you in this profession?
JS: That’s so interesting. Well, besides the fact that it’s a family-owned and operated business and I’m in the family, I just think it’s really great that we’re able to connect people with these opportunities that they might not have had previously.
I do really like it. You know, going to college—I have an accounting degree—I never saw myself in staffing. I didn’t really even know what it was, to be honest, because I just never really paid attention to the family business, but I do, I really like it. You’re building relationships with people every day and that’s the most important thing in business in general.
KT: There’s often a stigma that’s associated with the recruiting profession, mainly because many people just don’t truly understand what it is that recruiting pros do and the importance of that work. Why do you think someone should be proud to be a recruiting professional?
JS: It has a lot to do with why I stay in the staffing industry. I think just building those relationships and really being able to understand all these different jobs—whether it’s the company that you’re working for or positions you’re recruiting for that are focused on administrative or clerical or accounting or engineering or IT—it’s really important to be able to understand what you’re putting them in a job for, what they’re going to be doing on-site, etc. To be able to build those relationships with both the client and the candidates is great.
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