Professional staffing and the leaky roof
As I write this, a swarm of workers are systematically tearing shingles off my roof and installing new ones. Due to damage, a subsequent leak, and the overall age of my house, I had the pleasure of selecting a roofing company to replace my entire roof.
I don’t know if you caught the sarcasm when I wrote pleasure, but if you’ve ever had work done on your house, you probably know what I’m talking about.
The process I went through to choose a roofing company immediately reminded me of what it’s like for some organizations to choose a professional staffing company. You really don’t know how good a company is until it shows up and does the work. Or, in the case of staffing, until it provides you with the right person.
When I was selecting a roofing company, there were certain things that I was looking for. I spoke with the person who would be supervising the job, not a salesperson. I also researched the company’s reputation, how many years it’s been in business, and the jobs it has completed.
I consider all of these things the basics for selection. But if all the roofing companies I spoke to had good marks in most or all of these areas, what really sets them apart?
We get asked this quite often in the staffing business. For many staffing buyers, there are a whole bunch of professional staffing companies out there, and there’s very little difference between them. So how do you choose?
Here are a few suggestions, straight from my recent roofing experience.
Does the company specialize in the types of work you need? There are commercial roofers and residential roofers and contractors who do any type of work on a house. Similarly, staffing companies have areas and industries that they regularly serve. A staffing company with strengths in clerical or light industrial staffing is not the best choice to fill your IT positions and vice versa. Make sure you understand where the company has been successful in the past and where it is likely to have the most candidates today.
What’s behind the company? I chose a reputable roofer with a certification from a shingle manufacturer. That means that others stand behind the roofer’s work. A professional staffing company should be financially stable and have a good back office to make sure employees get paid and your invoices are accurate.
Will the company use six nails instead of four? I learned that not everyone uses the same number of nails when attaching shingles. (Who knew?) For staffing, this equates to the number of recruiters and resources a company will put on a job and how far the team will go to find you the right people. This includes social media recruiting and creating a talent community in your industry and critical skill areas, not just a database of resumes.
Will the company take the time to get to know your house? The roofer was on my roof a long time and asked a lot of questions before pricing the job and negotiating with me. Your staffing company should take the time to understand your business and your environment before telling you that it can staff your jobs. It should also be able to tell you about other clients with similar needs and how it helped them.
If I chose the wrong roofing company, I’ll find out on a rainy day when the roof starts to leak. Similarly, if you choose the wrong professional staffing company, you might be OK for most of your positions day to day. But you might find that the partner can’t provide the right talent, or that the talent isn’t up to the job, when it comes to the hard-to-fill positions or resources for an important project.
Whether you need a new roof or a professional staffing company, do your homework. That way you can handle your next rainy day. And if you want some advice on choosing a roofer or a professional staffing company, let me know. I’d be happy to talk shingles or staffing with you.