Make sure your Staffing Firms know more than just Staffing
I've written about Staffing firms throughout the years. I've talked about how important they are, how they often get a bad rap (particularly within the IT world) and what firms should look for when they are choosing a Staffing firm for their IT needs. This month, I want to talk about that a bit more. Really, Andy? More about IT staffing? Absolutely, especially since I am a bit biased on the topic (I oversee an IT Staffing organization as part of my responsibilities) but I also believe that organizations that use staffing firms can receive more value if they truly understand the firms they work with. That's what I want to talk about (or some that know me would say, lament on) this month as I believe it's very relevant and just as important as ever. I actually believe it's more important know than ever before.
As I've said in the past, Staffing firms can provide a lot of value, especially within the IT world. What's unfortunate though is that that the staffing industry and Staffing firms in general have been labeled as commodity type entities and providers. "Everyone provides staffing", or that's the common perception with customers. This isn't me speculating here, this is what customers tell me all the time. They feel that many of the staffing firms that they work with are "body shops". And yes, this is the term that they use—their words, not mine.
Well, if everyone provides staffing, how can they all possibly do it well? They can't. I believe that this perception from the organizations we work with is driven by working with staffing firms that provide staffing services in many different areas and not just IT. They provide clerical people, accounting people, HR people, oh, and IT people as well. I believe that this drives the commodity perception. These companies do things very well (many have been around for decades) but what many of them do not do is specialize only in IT. And that is a key point in changing that commodity perception with customers—specialization.
A good staffing firm should bring value in the staffing services they provide that you couldn't receive internally either through your efforts, your hiring managers, or your HR personnel performing the services. It sounds so simplistic, but it's so powerful. A good staffing firm needs to become an extension of you, your team, your HR department, and your firm. If they don't they why use them? This is something I've been declaring for years. They also need to know much more than just staffing. Of course they need to know how to staff people and the staffing business overall—that's their job. Without that they wouldn't be talking to and working with you. But how well do they know IT and IT staffing? That's my point here.
Our firm, Vicom, has been working within the IT world for over 34 years. Or only focus is and has been the within IT. So when it comes to staffing, where do you think we specialize? That's right, only IT. To illustrate how that drives value: when it comes to our staffing division, I have a Staffing Practice Manager that has been staffing IT positions for decades and a team of IT specific recruiters. He has a worldwide reputation in working with and in his ability to provide CCIE's and Cisco certified technical resources. He is well known within these circles. In fact, CCIE's come to him so that they can be placed by him because he knows the industry and their world so well. If you had a choice between picking a firm a staffing firm that provides "bodies" and one that focuses on IT and has candidates seeking them out to be placed which would you choose? That's why specialization works.
I say this not necessarily to impress you (words are just that, words; I believe in actions to prove it), but to impress upon you how important it is to work with firms that specialize in what are you looking for, which, if you are reading this blog is solutions, services and staffing for IT. That specialization will give you what you need in terms of resources and, most importantly, value.
So make sure that your staffing firms know more than just staffing. If it's IT competence that you need, make sure that they have a long history, experience and personnel that focus on and specialize in IT. Due your diligence with them to ensure you are getting the value you need. And you know what? They will step up to the task and prove to you why a great staffing firm knows much more than just staffing.
I'll step off of my soapbox, but only until next month.