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How to Pick the Right Staffing Partner

When hiring for technology, partnering with the right staffing firm can be tricky. You want to act in the best interest of your business while preserving your reputation within the tech sphere. How do you know if a firm is right for you? What you need to understand:

The firm is representing your company - so if they say something offensive or wrong, they’re not only misrepresenting themselves, but they’re misrepresenting your company and affecting your brand.

So, what can go wrong if you’re not proactive in vetting your staffing partners? Plenty.

Your role or rate could be misrepresented, either promising money they can’t deliver or giving the wrong information about what the role consists of.

  • Someone could be promised remote work when it’s not a viable option.

  • A recruiter could not understand the technology necessary for the role and thus give someone false expectations.

  • There might be no follow up after an interview, regardless of whether the candidate performed well or not.

  • If the company culture of the firm isn’t collaborative, you and your candidates might be left hanging if the person representing you is sick or unavailable.

  • Your candidates might not show up, or they might disappear in the middle of the interview stage.

  • Worst of all, you could hand over your fee, only to have your chosen candidate show up and be nothing like what you were promised.

As the CEO of a staffing firm, I oversee the whole process. There’s hard work behind the scenes to make you look good. Your candidates will interact with recruiters when they’re being screened, when their interviews are scheduled, when the negotiations happen, but your company is the front facing entity.

On that note, because you are the ones trying to make an impression, the way your partners act will reflect on you. Think about the staffing firms you’ve partnered with in the past. Do the recruiters badger candidates during their work days? Do they ask inappropriate questions on initial phone calls (example- in New York City, you legally can’t ask someone how much they make)? Do they send spam emails? Most importantly, are they doing these things on behalf of your company and using your company’s name?

If a candidate talks to a recruiter at an agency about a job at your company, and they have a bad experience, the Glassdoor or Google review they write could likely be about your company, not the recruiting firm itself. Why? Your company is the name they know, the name on their mind, and thus the name they will associate their experience with - good or bad. “Oh, that job at [Your Company]? I interviewed there and never heard back. It’s been six months! I’ll never work there.”

You might think this isn’t a big deal, but believe me- it makes a great deal of difference. The reviews your candidates leave about your company don’t disappear and can’t be deleted. People will Google your company, they’ll find negative reviews, and your ability to hold onto good candidates will suffer for it.

So how do you avoid this? The first step is realizing the magnitude of choosing who you allow to work with you. When you grant someone the authority to work as a direct extension of you, their mistakes become yours. If you partner with the agency who doesn’t respect candidates’ time, sends spam emails, or makes avoidable mistakes, you are now seen as the company who doesn’t respect candidates’ time, sends spam emails, and makes avoidable mistakes. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, because people act off perception, not truth. You need to control that perception.

Think about it: you extensively vet the people you hire directly, but do you extensively vet the agencies you work with? Do you have them present to you? What kinds of clients do they work with? What do their reviews look like? Do they have references? Are they trustworthy? Would you want that person representing you if you were looking for a job? For example, if the staffing firm cancels an interview on you, maybe it was because they didn’t have the right to make the request in the first place, and now you’re badmouthing the company because that’s who you believe canceled on you.

Do your research. Ask other professionals if they’ve heard of the company, and look into their reputation. Look up their reviews online. Do your due diligence to make sure you’re working with the right people for your business.

These are important questions you need to ask yourself when you’re deciding who deserves your business. Anyone who represents your job opportunity is representing you; this can be anyone from a staffing agency, but also a vendor management partner, or a colleague, or human resources. Think: if they cancel, you’re the one cancelling. If they earn you a bad glassdoor review, it’s your review. If it’s bad, it’s bad for you, and there’s no going back.

I always like to say “Control what you can control,” and your branding and reputation is absolutely something you can and should control.

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