Currently, the staffing industry is riding one of its biggest waves in history, but for many, it still somehow manages to fly under the radar. A new "documentary film" about the staffing profession serves to combat that phenomenon, functioning as both an informative gaze-behind-the-curtain for those outside the profession and a pulse-check for ambitious staffing professionals.
Recently released by Mez Media Films, "Real World Staffing" has already been called "required viewing" for all recruiters," (by Danny Cahill, owner/president of Hobson Associates and According to Danny). The film takes the approach of a "day in the life" of one staffing professional, who happens to be Jenifer Lambert, VP of sales and marketing at Seattle-based Terra Staffing Group. A full day of meetings gets compressed into a 28-minute bracket, but it's a pretty thorough glimpse, aided by Lambert's narration.
Some aspects of the film will look familiar to you, and some may not. (I'm guessing you don't start off your day with a 6 a.m. Crossfit workout). But Lambert is clearly savvy about how the industry is changing and how that's affecting the day-to-day work of staffing professionals. Some of her mantras I've heard time and again, while others are new to me. How many of her observations about the staffing industry do you agree with?
1. Staffing Has Become Metrics-Driven (And That's A Good Thing!)
Lambert says one of the ways Terra Staffing Group differentiates itself is by measuring what kind of impact they're having on their clients' business. Are they reducing turnover? Are they filling jobs quickly? Are they getting the right people into the jobs? She also takes the time to regularly share those metrics -- the good and the bad -- because identifying areas of improvement together is a good way to build trust, transparency, and a long-term partnership. Another important thing to measure, says Lambert, is the gap between what the client expected to happen and what was actually delivered.
2. A Gulf Is Emerging Between Those Who Invest In Technology And Those Who Don't
Lambert says she was met with "blank stares" when she delivered this news to a conference audience recently. "It concerned me... I don't think this industry is keeping up with technology, and that's a problem," she said. Do you think this is still the case? For whom? What barriers prevent this particular industry (or particular players in the industry) from forging ahead?
3. Staffing Has Morphed From An Art To A Science
Lambert could have easily said "staffing is both an art and a science," but I love that she doesn't dodge the question. She takes a realistic look at the business and concludes that it has evolved from a personality-driven endeavor to something that is increasingly process-driven. In other words, she jokes, staffing has gone from "big hair to big data." Does that mean people who enter the industry as recruiters today are fundamentally different (more analytical, more data- and science- and tech-driven) than those who hopped on board decades ago?
4. The Candidate Experience Helps Firms Distinguish Themselves
As competition increases, so do the number of choices candidates have. And vice versa. Delivering a great experience isn't just about one placement. Instead, one placement paves the way for multiple placements and a reliable relationship, which is critical to winning and keeping business. How does Lambert suggest recruiters approach candidate relationships? Through honesty. Don't sugarcoat the duties; instead focus on how exciting the company is or on how great the potential for advancement.
5. Staffing Firms Need To Pause And Reflect On Success
Lambert says staffing firms "metabolize" their successes too quickly. In other words, instead of taking the time to sit back and "digest" successes by sharing and celebrating them, they are quickly forgotten. And that makes sense, in a business that is driven by quick turnaround. But taking the time to "boast" a bit, especially through a company blog, is important for two reasons. It drives both internal pride (employees!) and external interest (i.e. potential clients/candidates). And having regular blog content prevents the ever-important social media presence from getting stale.
6. Going Back To Basics Is Valuable
If certain core fundamentals never change, why do we have to revisit and relearn them? Because despite our best efforts, we're capable of losing knowledge. That's why it's called "going back to the basics." Going to a refresher training course is like rereading a classic novel that reveals itself to you anew. Lambert recalls being impressed by a 14-year veteran that she saw attending the "rookie retreat" at a staffing conference. These fundamentals are the yin to technology's yang; both need investment and maintenance.
7. The More Corporate America Learns About HR/Recruiting/Sourcing, The Better
Despite appearances, Jenifer Lambert appreciates consultants who teach corporate America about HR and recruiting because it causes her to think differently about the value her own firm can bring. "If your value proposition is your client's incompetence, it's going to be hard for you," she said. Instead, help develop that talent pool alongside your client so you can capitalize on each other's growth.