Staffing companies looking for growth might take a cue from CraigsList, a social-networking (SNS) website that gets triple digit growth, despite an almost religious absence of sales and marketing as we know it. I've written before about how Craigs threatens the business of job boards, but increasingly I see it cutting into the space of traditional temporary staffing as well.
Out of school and looking for a temp job this week? Craigs has dozens posted this weekend alone like here and here, and they pay a lot more than the $7 or $8 per hour that a lot of temp jobs go for. In addition, Craigs has dozens of applicants each day as well, like here and here.
But how can a worker trust a free public job ad? And how could an employer put any faith in those applicant resumes? And isn't Craigs mostly a San Francisco Bay Area phenomenon? These are all good questions.
The New York Times offered answers in this Sunday's paper (free registration required - sorry.) Their conclusion: trust still counts for a lot, but you ignore the triple-digit growth rate social-networks like Craigs at your own peril. The article points out that Craigs has Ebay - whose system (like that of a good staffing company) is based on trust - running scared. "[EBay] now faces sharply declining growth and the awful fate no prodigy is ever prepared for: middle age."
So what's a staffing company to do? Craigs has no lock on social networking, and they have no lock on their viral marketing methods either. There's lots of fun ahead for staffing companies ready to reinvent themselves, and I'll develop practical suggestions in an upcoming post.