You don’t often, if ever, hear those two words together. Staffing is a very competitive industry, often seen as a zero sum game – if another company gets the candidate, you don’t. Competition even can exist within a company – if your colleague finds and lands the candidate you don’t.
The goal of staffing is simply to help your clients find the best talent and help candidates find opportunities that are the right fit for them. These pieces are what grow your business. Both of these goals can be better accomplished through collaboration among staffing companies. This is not the norm, but is where staffing needs to head to better serve clients and candidates.
I recently attended two different events where I realized we’re making progress, but still not where we need to be. A recruiting conference was held where 200 recruiters from both staffing and corporate HR functions attended to learn more about the latest in recruiting and also network.
This was the first event I attended and the 13th in the history of the event, held quarterly. Recruiters who would normally never talk to each other because “you’re the competition” meet each other and build relationships. These relationships help both sides to grow as recruiters and gain new ideas for their business.
At a recent career fair, I walked around to other companies, both staffing and non-staffing, to see who they were looking for as a candidate. Most companies are very receptive and enjoy talking about what they do and who they are looking for.
One company, however, said right away to me, “We don’t really partner with others – it’s a low margin already.” I told them I understood, but wasn’t looking for a partner; I was simply looking to understand what they do so if I had candidates I couldn’t help, I could refer them to this other company.
The company then was very receptive of course – they would get a free qualified candidate! On our side, we would gain a great relationship with the candidate as we would have their best interest in mind in referring them to another company that could better help them in their area. Being open to learning about your competition can help both sides.
Collaborating with companies can also help you better serve your clients. If your loyal client has a need that you can’t fill, why not have trusted partners that you can ask to fill that role. Your client will appreciate you being able to fill more roles, the other company can get an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise had and place a candidate they otherwise couldn’t, and you will have filled a role you otherwise couldn’t.
Collaboration, in this highly competitive industry, is a needed next step to improve everyone’s game.