Here's how automation can help staffing agencies do less paperwork and more of the people-oriented work that recruiters do best.
With the unemployment rate at a near 50-year low (3.7%), companies continue to hire new employees at a rapid pace—filling current positions and creating new ones as their departments expand.
The fruitful job market, however, has caused a massive talent shortage, and companies’ increased digital transformation has led to a significant skills shortage, causing an increased reliance on third-party staffing agencies.
For staffing agencies themselves, identifying top candidates, moving them through the pipeline and placing them in the right assignment can be an unwieldy task. Managing a database, scheduling interviews and staying on top of endless paperwork are just a few of the time-consuming responsibilities.
Simply put, staffing agency processes aren’t built for the tough market realities they operate within today—too much administrative burden and not enough time for the relationship-building and personal touch that makes staffing companies most effective.
To give local branch staff and recruiters back that time needed to connect with candidates and clients, their processes must be seamless, streamlined and intuitive. Let’s talk through some common staffing responsibilities that can be addressed with automation.
Recruiting/pre-hire of candidates
Your clients want a qualified candidate for a new or backfilled role in their organization, but the manual effort of wading through an ocean of resumes on LinkedIn or in your personal database can be massively time-consuming—not to mention increases the likelihood of choosing the wrong candidate to phone screen and interview.
Staffing agencies can optimize their search processes using pre-populated filters to identify experience level, certain skills or expertise, which brings the most appropriate resumes to the surface. Then, you can automatically schedule interviews, and your recruiters can spend their time identifying the best fit for the role instead of on relentless resume searches.
Since staffing firms have two different types of customers—candidates and end clients—that means double the administrative burden when it comes to contract management. The paperwork involved in getting these contracts signed, as well as the emails, phone calls and other necessary communication can be a full-time job—and one that has very little to do with the actual recruiting process.
More and more, companies are putting automations in place to streamline these workflows from initial engagement through contract execution and communication. For example, a contract signed triggers an email confirming it, notifying the right person so they can check the box and move to the next step within their systems.
Once you’ve identified and interviewed the appropriate candidate, extended an offer and they’ve accepted the assignment, you want to get them on board as quickly as possible.
For the sake of both the candidate and client experience, it’s vital that the candidate is prepared for their first day on site. This includes filling out their I-9, tax forms and direct payment information, and completing all on-boarding activity like background checks, drug screens, etc.—not to mention addressing any number of questions the candidate may have before they begin their assignment.
Likewise, at the end of a contract or termination of their assignment , you need to communicate the end-of-employment process, alert IT to retrieve company equipment and cut off access to sensitive data and shore up any legal red tape, if necessary.
The manual back-and-forth through phone calls, text, email, form fills and paperwork can be exhausting, not to mention prone to error and omission. Automating these workflows can increase the accuracy of your agency’s efforts, better prepare both the candidate and client for onboarding and offboarding, and speeds up the process overall.
Candidate turnover and retention
Once a candidate is placed in an assignment, they’re still your employee, not your client’s, and maintaining communication is a vital part of the success of your business.
Automation is an effective way to engage with your candidate during their normal workday, and over the course of their contract. This can include ensuring the role continues to be a good fit, surveying job sentiment, and managing HR-type issues that may arise throughout the course of their tenure.
Building and nurturing relationships with your candidate pool creates a better experience for both them and your client base, and enables you to maintain a loyal pool of top talent.
Recruiter turnover and retention
Recruitment can be a challenging and competitive job, with many agencies operating with the same “people first” approach and trying to attract the same pool of top candidates. There tends to be high turnover in the staffing world—particularly among junior staff—given the large workload, high expectations from clients and an often undefined career path forward.
Operating within the volatile hiring market right now is extremely challenging, and the added burden of tedious administrative tasks doesn’t make it easier. In fact, recruiters spend as much as a full day on administrative tasks. Automation can streamline much of this and enable recruiters to focus on the “people side” of their strategy.
Maximizing profit, minimizing operating expenses
With staffing companies managing a similar client base, similar client contacts and taking a near identical approach, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself from other firms in the market.
And with freelance opportunities available along with the booming gig economy, candidates have other avenues to pursue other than staffing agencies.
For many firms, this is forcing a heavier focus on generating profit and cutting costs wherever possible, and time and effort is taken away from a more strategic and tactical approach that can help you stand out. By deploying automation into your business, you can lower your operation costs, improve your profit margin and increase your bottom line.