Recruiting Software Blog Staffing Insights: John Vanderkin, President of Employers Overload (Part 1)

To this day, staffing and recruiting professionals, and the general public, are still feeling the effects of the recession.

The employment market has been steadily, if slowly, improving, yet the lingering taste of a recession is still there. As a result, recruiters are using the latest technological developments, like staffing software and recruiting software solutions, to provide relief and to leverage the current job market.

John Vanderkin, President of Employers Overload, an innovative workforce staffing company, spoke with us about the impact the recession has had on the recruiting industry and what trends we can expect to see in the future.

Staffing and recruiting industry impacted by the recession

It’s undeniable that the recession had an impact on the staffing and recruiting industry. After all, when your business is finding jobs for qualified professionals, and employers are slowing hiring, it’s a tough time. However, not all of the effects of the recession were necessarily negative, according to Vanderkin.

“Yes, the recession had a significant impact, both good and bad, on the staffing industry. As the recession began, companies were forced to reduce their workforce and often the first to go were the contingent employees. This had an obvious effect on the staffing industry as well as those contingent employees,” he said.

Vanderkin went on to say that “on the positive side, it created opportunities for a well-run staffing organization to provide strategic consultative support to those companies that could still benefit from a contingent workforce. A good staffing vendor was able to help their client identify how temporary project employees could improve their bottom line and help them address short-term increases to their business while not creating a significant impact to their ongoing labor costs. In many instances, the staffing industry was able to help companies who have never used temporary employees understand and utilize this resource. While these opportunities did not replace the losses from the recession, they created opportunities to minimize some of the impact and to grow the overall staffing client base.”

Employment trends created by the recession

For the staffing and recruiting industry, some firms found some surprising reoccurring trends. According to Vanderkin, the unusual job market conditions and new attitude prevalent in the nation created a unique situation for staffing professionals.

“The biggest trend that we noticed in 2009 and 2010 was the difficulty in getting job seekers to accept available positions rather than staying on long-term unemployment benefits. Through our sales efforts we were able to secure many short- and long-term temporary positions. but many of the candidates we spoke with decided to remain on their unemployment benefits instead of having to go back to work. We ultimately found the workers that we needed for these positions. but recruiting and placement took much more effort than the high unemployment rate should have generated,” said Vanderkin.

On the other side of the employment equation, many employers decided to reduce the number of full-time opportunities they would make available and instead relied on a part-time workforce. In addition to paring down the number of full-time workers on staff, it wasn’t unusual for companies to begin to demand that professionals have a greater number of skills under their belt so that they could take on more diverse roles.

“With a reduced workforce many companies adopted a multi-position mindset for their existing workforce. This meant that an employee that used to perform 1-2 major roles was now performing 3-4 different roles so the company could still meet their business demands. As business increased, these companies maintained their multi-position approach, making their hiring requirements much more demanding for the job seeker. A job seeker who used to be a multi-metal welder now had to be able to operate milling equipment, learn to program a CNC machine, drive a forklift and/or be able to interact with customers regarding their specific job order. The days of being a 1-2 skill employee were beginning to diminish,” said Vanderkin.

How employment trends impacted the staffing industry

The employment market will always have an impact on the staffing and recruiting industry. However, the recession of the early 2000s had one of the more lasting impacts the industry has ever seen, and the resulting changes are expected to stick around. As the industry has found innovative ways to streamline work, besides utilizing recruiting software for better management, agencies continue to make changes to operations.

“Staffing companies made significant changes. One of the most prevalent was cutting prices. Many staffing companies would approach companies with offers of significant price reductions while promising higher and more costly screening and selection criteria than what the company was currently utilizing. While this seems like a good thing for the consumer, it created two significant challenges; 1) the staffing company increased their supply costs and 2) the staffing company found it much more difficult to find suitable candidates who could meet the new more stringent criteria, which raised their recruiting costs. In the end, the staffing company wasn’t making a reasonable income for the services they provided and what were once qualified candidates now struggle to get back to work because they cannot meet the new hiring criteria.”

Vanderkin went on to say that “we have seen a serious development occur as we meet with many of the customers who accepted these lower rates. Their quality of candidate has gone down which affected their production costs and many of the skills, background, drug screen and E-Verify screening they thought they were being provided, were being skipped by their current staffing vendor. Our organization has been able to find innovative ways to help many of these clients establish reasonable hiring requirements, maintain lower labor costs and have an audit path to ensure that they receive the screening that they are paying for.”

“Many of the trends from the recession were fleeting and have worked their way out of the process. I believe the multi-position mindset adopted by most companies will continue to be the new norm. The aggressive pricing strategies by some staffing companies cannot continue long term and still allow that company to fully meet the clients hiring requirements. I believe this trend will work itself out over the next 1-2 years but pricing that meets the value of service provided by reputable staffing companies might never reach previous levels.”


Our interview with John Vanderkin of Employers Overload continues next week, as he comments on the current state of the staffing and recruiting industry, the impact of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and other government actions.

Have a recruiting or staffing agency employee retention problem? Here are four tips to help solve it.

Reducing your agency employee turnover is a leadership responsibility.

reduce employee turnover with Bond Adapt recruiting softwareEarly in November I had the opportunity to facilitate a roundtable discussion on staffing and recruiting agency salesperson retention and development at the TechServe Alliance Conference in Las Vegas. Needless to say, my inner nerd was pretty stoked about the opportunity considering that my dissertation topic is on salesperson retention and training in the staffing industry. I came ready to discuss four key areas on the topic but the discussion was so vibrant that our table never made it past the first area of discussion. Before we knew it, our table was the last one left in the room and we had to get back to the convention. Given the passionate discussion, I thought it would be a great idea to share the “rest of the story” with you.

When looking at the issue of voluntary turnover (where your people leave your organization), the associated costs are stark. Depending on where you look, the cost of turnover can be two to three times the annual salary of the person you hired. Data from various industry sources indicates that staffing industry show turnover ranges from 30-60%. Those numbers, even on the low end, represent a huge waste of resources. In the face of such high turnover, many staffing and recruiting agencies have implemented initiatives to fix the problem. While implementing these initiatives is a good idea, they must address the following four core areas in order to be effective: managerial/leadership training, proper candidate selection, employee empowerment, and employee development.

First, focus on staffing and recruiting leadership and management.

If your staffing or recruiting agency has a turnover problem, perhaps the most cost effective way to fix it is to focus on the leadership/management tier. As the saying goes, people join companies and leave their managers. That saying is backed up by research which points to managerial issues being ranked as two of the top five reasons an employee leaves a firm. Additionally, research has shown that leadership training pays huge dividends when it comes to employee retention. I’ve been lucky in my career not to have to deal with poor leadership but the vast majority of employees don’t have that luxury. Employees rely on their managers to provide the vision and live the mission and values of the company. A critical component of your turnover mitigation initiatives has to focus on making sure your leadership is armed with the tools to retain your best people. Focusing on training at the leadership level is among the most consequential investments you can make and one of the most likely to dramatically change the direction of your organization.

Second, select staffing and recruiting employees systematically.

A second piece of the “solving turnover” puzzle has to do with employee selection. When it comes to selecting recruiters or staffing and recruiting salespeople, it is critical that companies use a systematic approach to selection. Whether you are looking for a hunter or farmer personality, you must understand the core skills and competencies of each role and evaluate that throughout the interview process. Additionally, incorporating a diagnostic tool like the Predictive Index, LSI, or other personality assessment should be a central element of your selection process. Furthermore, it is crucial that you use a team/panel interview format AND that one person on the team is tasked with putting the candidate on the spot in order to assess how well they perform under pressure. Lastly, there needs to be consensus on the team. Before bringing someone into the team, you should have wide agreement on the panel that the candidate fits your organization from both a competency and cultural standpoint.

Third, empower your employees to solve business problems.

A third and often forgotten element of the “solving turnover” puzzle is the issue of employee empowerment. The level of employee empowerment is directly related to leadership style. The amount of freedom that an employee has on the team depends on the level of control exercised by the leadership. This is where leadership training can play an important role in empowering employees. Team leads should always be looking at how they can get the most out of their people and the best way to get positive results is to get out of the way. If the goal is to retain top talent, leaders must recognize that the team they put together must be given the freedom to reach goals their own way. No top-tier employee will want to stay with a team where there is no freedom to be creative in solving business problems. Similarly, it’s up to leaders to empower employees with the facilities, resources, and tools – such as world-class staffing and recruiting software – necessary to perform their jobs. This reinforces to employees the importance and value of their contributions to solving business problems successfully.

Fourth, don’t neglect employee development.

Lastly, once you have the three other pieces in place, you need to make sure that the people you have within your staffing or recruiting agency are being developed. Employee development isn’t just about having a career path; it’s about creating and giving opportunities to move a person’s career forward. In a very general sense, it means creating the opportunity for the employee to drive the direction of the company. In order to do this effectively, you must first know what the employee is passionate about and then empower them to come up with ideas that improve the company from a systems or processes. In the process of doing this, you’re assessing their ability to influence and lead and preparing them for the next step in their career. Even if you don’t have a defined career path, increasing the responsibilities the employee has goes a long way in developing them for future leadership.

Employee turnover, and more specifically voluntary turnover of your top talent, is a crushing problem to deal with. The most critical element of solving the problem is to be honest about addressing the core issues. When you look at organizations with high turnover, you can almost always find significant challenges at the managerial and leadership levels. Fixing problems at the leadership level and then working down from there provides a workable roadmap for turnaround.


Staffing and recruiting sales growing faster than the economy

The staffing and recruiting industry is in the midst of many changes.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act and relatively steady, but slow, economic growth over the past few years is creating an interesting landscape on which recruiters are having to traverse. As a result, professionals are having to count on more operationally efficient tools like recruiting software and staffing software to appropriately deal with increases in contingent hiring and employment ups and downs.

The negative hiring effects of the recession are decreasing

Economic indicators are showing that the negative effects of the recession are slowly receding. The unemployment rate has declined about 2.5 percentage points since its peak during 2009 and other economic cycles are showing signs of a jobs recovery, according to Monster. While there is still political gridlock and economic conditions keeping hiring at low rate of growth, productivity games have been made.

“The huge productivity gains we were seeing a year or two ago have pretty much evaporated,” said Bernard Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business in Dallas, according to the source. “If we can’t squeeze much more productivity out of current workers, then we have to hire more workers.”

Changes in the marketplace will have a positive impact on the economy in the future. Current conditions are indicating to economists that hiring will pick up soon and recent interviews of large employers in the U.S. confer. According to a Yoh survey, four out of five large organizations plan to hire as many or more new workers in 2013 as they did in 2012. Out of those who reported that they would be hiring in 2013, 50 percent expect to increase their workforce between 3 and 5 percent. Another 22 percent of companies are planning to increase the number of workers they have on the payroll between 6 and 9 percent.

“The economy was depressed for a long time, so the potential is there for hiring,” said Farrokh Hormozi, an economist and chair of the Public Administration Department at Pace University in New York City.

Changing sales picture in the staffing industry

The recession seemed to have had one positive outcome – sales in the staffing industry picked up. According to the American Staffing Association, the industry’s sales losses in 2009 were the largest ever – despite increases in temporary and contract employment in some sectors. However, this quickly turned around in 2010, when companies begun implementing more strategic hiring plans to deal with the effects of the recession, instead of simply reacting and using mass layoffs to control the budget.

In 2010, sales increased 21.3 percent to $87.4 billion and by 2011 sales rose another 12.4 percent – bringing industry sales to $98.3 billion. Just a year later, staffing and recruiting professionals were able to celebrate a good year once again when sales in 2012 increased by 6.6 percent in a year-over-year comparison to $104.8 billion.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts, growth did slow down in some sectors, yet search and placement peaked and continued to grow. U.S. staffing industry sales reached $117 billion in 2012 – a 6.5 percent increase in a year-over-year comparison. As the economy has improved , the staffing and recruiting industry has met each positive movement two-fold. Temporary and contract positions are being offered at increased rates, which is leading many staffing professionals scrambling to implement new procedures to deal with the workflow. This trend is expected to continue in the next few years, which is why it’s crucial for professionals to invest in the staffing software made to handle the influx.

Part-time hiring increases

Staffing and recruiting professionals who are examining the job market may want to consider the various factors impacting the nation’s economy before becoming disheartened.

There has been a lot of news lately about the negative or lackluster jobs report that was released just last week. Yet, it’s important to consider the various conditions that are slowing the hiring market. After all, simply paying attention to the symptoms and ignoring the causes will hardly allow a staffing professional to remain ahead of the curve, invest in proper systems like staffing software and recruiting software and stay aware of the factors that could impact their job.

Part-time work increases

Many people are unaware that businesses are hiring at a robust rate. Unfortunately, 75 percent of the nearly 1 million hires made this year are for part-time jobs and many of these jobs are low paying, reported NBS News. This lack of robust hiring often makes workers question whether the market will ever recover or if this is the new market they will have to traverse to find work.

Industries that traditionally pay their workers less or rely on part-time employees, like retail and food services, are driving most of the hiring. Some employers, regardless of industry, believe that the reliance on part-time workers is the new trend because it offers greater flexibility. If the economy picks up, then employers are able to increase the number of full-time workers on the payroll. However, if the economy remains sluggish, then keeping a staff comprised of mostly part-time workers will decrease operational costs.

“Us and other people are hiring part-time because we don’t know what the costs are going to be to hire full-time,” said Steven Raz, founder of Cornerstone Search Group, a staffing firm in Parsippany, New Jersey, according to the news source. “We are being cautious.”

One of the major operational costs that has employers concerned is healthcare. The Affordable Healthcare Act has many employers waiting to see what costs are going to be added to their budgets before hiring anymore employees. Many staffing firms serving a wide range of industries have seen this trend. Raz told NBC News that his company started seeing a rise in the number of part-time positions it was filling in late 2012. Over the past year, his firm has seen an increase between 10 and 15 percent in a year-over-year comparison.

“They have put some of the full-time positions on hold and are hiring part-time employees so they won’t have to pay out the benefits,” said Client Staffing Solutions’ Darin Hovendick, according to the news source. “There is so much uncertainty. It’s really tough to design a budget when you don’t know the final cost involved.”

Employers use caution in hiring

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working part-time involuntarily – because their hours were cut or they can’t find full-time jobs – is 7.9 million. That is an increase of 75 percent from 4.5 million in August of 2007. Employers are cautious about increasing the number of full-time workers they have on staff. Recent research suggests that by creatively using a combination of full-time and part-time staff, a business can thrive and even the part-time workers may be able to succeed. The difference between successful part-time worker implementation and an unhappy staff is the creation of flexible scheduling that allows for the hours on the clock to work within a person’s other jobs. The Daily Beast reported that capacity is still required to conduct business, which is why many offices are relying on a patchwork of part-time workers.

“As organizations and companies reduce the hours of part-time workers, they still have to replace the capacity, so they go out and hire additional part-time workers,” said Philip Noftsinger, president of CBIZ Payroll in Roanoke, Virginia, which manages payroll for more than 5,000 small businesses, according to NBC News.

Employers who have been focused on supporting employee financial health, yet are not hiring full-time workers, are often using creative scheduling to allow individuals the ability to hold second jobs. After all, it’s difficult to support a family on a single part-time paycheck.

“The difference between 30 and 40 hours can be the difference between being able to make ends meet month-to-month,” Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, told the news source. “That contributes to reduced living standards for American families and translates into having less income to spend on goods and services, which holds back the economy.”

Weak economy hinders hiring

Many employers report that when the nation’s economy returns to pre-recession levels they will increase hiring and switch back to a greater full-time staff, according to The Daily Beast. But until that happens, staffing professionals will be increasingly working to fill part-time or contract work roles. To manage the different scheduling and placement of part-time workers, the right recruiting software will need to be utilized while uncertainty remains.

Business owners like Jason Holstine, who owns a building supply store in Baltimore, Maryland, are reluctant to take on full-time staff when the economy is so uncertain.

“We are still working in an environment that is very hard to forecast the near future and remains very cash-constrained,” said Holstine, according to the news source. “We were always nimble, but we had to become more reactive. Using part-timers gives us more flexibility.”

Employers learned during the recession that those companies with lean operations were the ones that were better able to withstand the perils of a weak economy. By creating a workforce comprised of part-time workers, companies are better able to increase and decrease staff numbers depending on their needs during a given quarter. A nimble staffing and recruiting software solution will allow recruiters to adjust to client needs.

“Private employers are either able to make more money with fewer employees or have been able to make more money without hiring additional employees,” said Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman. “The lesson learned for businesses during the recession was to have lean operations.”

Staffing Insights: Bruce Steinberg, Employment and Staffing Industry Analyst, Sees Dramatic Changes Ahead Particularly With The ACA

A number of trends are impacting the staffing sector, so much so that industry experts are using data and observations from previous years to try and predict what employment is going to look like next year and in the next 10 years. Some trends are making technology adoptions like recruiting software necessary, while others are changing the face of the staffing sector and how it interacts with clients.

To weigh in on the evolution of the staffing industry, we have Bruce Steinberg, Employment & Economic Consultant. With more than 20 years of corporate communications experience specializing in the staffing industry, Steinberg has worked with Staffing Industry Analysts and the American Staffing Association as a director of research.

Let’s take a look into how he views the current state of the industry and what direction it may take to remain competitive.

The aging population and how it is impacting staffing
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly population is expected to more than double between now and 2050. As a result, the number of people over the age of 65, the typical age of retirement, will reach about 80 million or approximately one out of five adults in the nation.

Steinberg believes that this will have a drastic impact on the nation’s economy, the employment sector and the staffing industry.

“I think that one of the key trends that is impacting employment and jobs in general – and ultimately affecting staffing – is how the bell curve of the demographic profile is shifting to older people,” Steinberg said. “The high point of the bell curve indicating the population’s age is getting older, which is changing the nature of jobs and services needed for the economy. The recession may have slowed the percentage of people [leaving jobs] by delaying many people’s retirement, but that is soon going to change.”

Steinberg added that “the number of new workers coming down the pipeline is not as many [as previous decades], which means there will continue to be a shortage of workers, but at the same time, productivity has increased very fast because of computerization. In addition, business models in manufacturing and service industries have changed, and now people can produce a lot more products and services aided by technology… it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds, if the increase in productivity will manage with less workers.”

The state of the economy is impacting employment trends
Recently released employment numbers have everyone talking because according to one report, 77 percent of the jobs created in 2013 were part-time positions, reported The Boston Globe. For some, this figure was highly worrisome, and for others, it indicated a growing trend toward hiring contingent or part-time workers instead of full-time, salaried professionals.

“[Businesses could be using contingent and part-time workers as] a strategy to cope with the ACA. If that’s true or not, we don’t know. It’s what everyone has been saying, and I am certain that some businesses are using that as a strategy, but others are just finding that part-time workers are more efficient,” Steinberg said. “We are in a recovery, and the work and economy has not come back with any great magnitude – businesses at this stage may only need or can only create part-time employees, because of the relative weakness of the economic growth.”

The importance of staffing professionals using recruiting software to help keep desirable, comprehensive services
The changing face of the industry is resulting in a number of trends that professionals will have to learn to adapt to in order to remain current. The creation and implementation of the Affordable Care Act is just one way that staffing professionals can remain current and a vital part of the employment process for clients. Of course, the right recruiting software is also vital.

“Staffing companies have to be very aware of what the job trends are in the markets they serve and look to diversify in the sector they serve as well the variety of the services they offer to employers and businesses,” Steinberg said.

While some people are against the implementation of the ACA and the increasing presence of federal regulations in business, it could lead to a positive situation developing for staffing professionals.

“There are a lot of folks who disdain from heavy regulation on the employer/employee relationship – it’s an additional burden that they have to learn and it can gum up the works. That’s a very strong mindset within the staffing industry and with staffing industry executives. I have a very contrarian view that the more regulation and the more complicated the relationship is, the more reason there is to use a staffing agency,” Steinberg said.

He went on to say that the ACA and other regulations being implemented in the business world, especially concerning employment, could boost the desirability of hiring a staffing firm for many organizations.

“Small, medium and even large businesses are in business, not in the world of employment. For example, if a business is in the business of making widgets, they are experts in that. They are not necessarily experts at being employers. The ACA and regulations could be good for the staffing industry and increase organizations’ reliance on staffing firms because we are the experts in employment.”

How staffing professionals can benefit from the ACA
The ACA might just be a blessing in disguise for some staffing agencies if they can become experts in the act and market a consultation service as part of their brand.

“[While it may be very hard to become an expert in the ACA], it is very important for those in the staffing industry, to become very well versed in it and know how to implement it. Somewhere along the line the ACA will create a variety of new types of jobs and professions for staffing companies to fill,” Steinberg said. “If a staffing company can develop ACA experts, then they can provide those services to businesses, possibly creating a whole new service line.”

Based on these and other trends in employment and staffing, it is increasingly important that staffing and recruiting agencies update their staffing software to enable them to effectively handle changing demographics, job requisitions, and government regulations and reporting.

Bruce Steinberg offers a range of products, services, and analysis of economic and employment data and can be reached at

Three Ways to Build Staffing and Recruiting Agency Value by Doing More with Less

You feel like a one-man band.

It’s time to take stock. Right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a front-line recruiter, a sales representative, a staffing manager or the owner of a recruitment agency — it seems like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. All of which contributes to a level of anxiety and pressure to ‘get it done’ that you know has a negative impact on the quality of your work. Despite the many external pressures you face, the truth is that your attitude, preparation and actions will determine your ability to succeed.

While attitude arguably plays the most important role in your success, here I’ll focus on three areas you can take action on that should enable you to do more with less. They are almost sure to help your recuiting and staffing business regardless of what direction the economy takes. In Bond’s forty years of providing the staffing and recruiting industry with software tools, we have seen these axioms – consistently applied – lead to exceptional profitability.

ONE: Build Efficiency into Your Operations

When times are good it’s easy to tolerate business practices and workflows that deliver only marginal profitability. But when job orders slow, you must reduce or eliminate those practices so that you can get more done with less effort. Building efficiency into your staffing and recruitment organization is an ongoing process. A regular re-appraisal of your operations focused on how you might be able to tighten up your practices can help wring more profit out of every transaction.

You should make it a practice to get your team together on a recurring basis to review the steps of successful sales and order transactions.

Believe it or not, your sales process is probably the first place to look for inefficiencies. Dave Stein, CEO and Founder, ES Research Group, Inc., which specializes in sales training selection, says that his research indicates that many firms have as many sales methodologies in place as the number of sales people in their organization. If your staffing and recruiting firm has similar inefficiencies, figure out how to streamline the process in such a way that it is consistently followed. That means you will close more deals.

Another area where saving time equals profits is in your recruitment processes. For example, Tom Porter, CEO and Founder of Marquee Staffing was able to reduce the time it took his recruiters to qualify candidates by 75 percent by having every candidate apply through a Web portal integrated to their staffing and recruitment software. The time saved goes to revenue generation, not data entry.

Similarly, a staffing-specific integrated payroll/billing system will reduce or eliminate back office workflow inefficiencies saving you both time and money. John Porrello, CEO of Priority Business Services, found such a system would; “…enable us to double our growth without having to hire a new back office employee.”

Finally, run your business ‘by the numbers.’ Your key performance indicators for your operations and your staff members should be measurable and actionable. This is the difference between so-so and stellar performance. As one CEO of a multi-office staffing firm once told me, “Instead of seeing a report of the business metrics which are a week old due to a manual, time-intensive process, we see what is happening right now.”

TWO: Build Long-Term Value

Building a staffing or recruiting company is somewhat like building a well-performing stock portfolio for your retirement. Strategically, you don’t focus on next month; you focus on consistent performance over a long period. By making your portfolio choices based on that, odds are that you can rest easy in its long-term performance.

Likewise, your staffing and recruiting “portfolio” should focus on delivering similar long-term performance and value. Jim Childs, Partner of Childs Company, a long-term veteran of the staffing industry as a CEO and investment banker, has five strategies for value building:

  1. Develop niche leadership. “Niche staffing and recruiting companies are always more valuable than generalist companies,” Childs says. Niche leadership means that your business is the “go-to” business in its service area or specialty.
  2. Focus on specialties and higher gross margins. Childs points out that, “The specialty players can have gross margins well over 30 percent due to their specialty focus and their mix of permanent placement revenue.”
  3. Avoid customer concentration. Childs notes that having a big account can be “a high-class problem to have. The trick is to create urgency in the organization to build around this anchor account.”
  4. Build a deep management team. Drive customer decisions as far down the chain-of-command as possible. Childs says, “It’s vital to build a deep management team that can drive the business so that it is not overly dependent on one or two people, including the owner.”
  5. Keep building real client relationships. Childs suggests that you avoid indirect business such as being a second-source supplier. “Over time, your model needs to have deep, long-term client relationships to really get a premium in the marketplace.”

THREE: Stick to Your Business and Invest in Your Staff

What, exactly, is your business? Nothing is more important than how you clearly define the very specific core competencies that are at the heart of why you are in the staffing and recruiting business. Yes, you can say with pride that your core business is ‘finding and putting people to work.’ But there should be more specificity to it.

If you haven’t done so already, write down your business purpose – your mission. Analyze what it means and what it takes to support your staffing and recruitment mission successfully. Let’s say that your mission statement is “We find and place financially trained and skilled employees into temporary contract assignments and direct-hire placements with Fortune 1000-level businesses.”

You would then list everything you must do to support your mission. Things like recruiting financial talent through the best college and university accounting programs and networking with local financial associations. Then make a second list that includes everything else you have to do that doesn’t really support the mission; like cleaning the office or doing data backups.

The point is that you must focus yourself and your team on your core competencies. That means that everything not central to the success of your business – that second list – are things that you should eliminate, streamline or outsource.

For example, you can outsource areas of your business operations such as your information technology infrastructure — your staffing or recruiting software. This is gaining growing acceptance with Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription-based services or Managed Services Programs (MSP). Pam Plasky, Vice President of Operations for Ryan Alternative Staffing, observed that, “Traditionally, we’re ‘old school’ in that we wanted complete control over our data. Now, in retrospect, I’d say that MSP is the only way to go. It cuts IT costs and many of the headaches of IT management for us – while handing over accountability for our bread-and-butter software and servers to a trusted partner, Bond. Most importantly, MSP gives us more freedom to do what we do best, helping our customers and putting people to work.”

Similarly, you could also outsource staffing operational activities such as payroll and W2 forms processing. While not every such strategic initiative may be right for your business, it pays to look at the potential opportunities to reduce your operating costs while maintaining or improving service delivery.

Finally, recognize that your own staff members are looking to you for leadership.

That’s right, your staffing and recruiting team is looking to YOU for reasons to out-perform the competition. According to surveys by the American Staffing Association, the average turnover of staffing firm staff personnel is nearly 50 percent. Yet reducing your own internal staff turnover and increasing their level of satisfaction can generate big returns.

How much of a return? One survey conducted by the Gallup organization found that business organizations where employees have high satisfaction rates delivered 38% higher customer satisfaction scores, 22% higher productivity, and 27% higher profits.

What can you do to improve your own staff’s satisfaction-based performance?

First, develop a strong staff employee retention program around continuous training and other tactics that generate one response from your employees, “The pay ain’t bad, and they treat me great!”

In many workplace surveys done the past several decades, it was shown that employees placed a higher value on appreciation for their work and feeling that their work and role was important than on real wages. Thus, the training and retention program you put into practice reveals the value you place on your own staff. Your investment in their careers and development creates a sense of appreciation, motivation, loyalty, and understanding of their importance to the success of the firm that delivers huge paybacks.


Continuous improvement at both the organizational and personal level is the key to efficient profitability in your staffing and recruitment businss. To building value by doing more with less. So that you and your team members aren’t each feeling like a one man band.

W. Edwards Deming, the statistician credited for helping Japanese businesses become world leaders in quality, performance and profitability, once said, “Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.” (READ MORE>)

Perceptive staffing and recruiting agency business owners and managers will take those words to heart and reap both financial and satisfaction rewards.


If you would like to talk to Bond about how our solutions can improve your business value, CLICK or give us a call at 800-318-4983 today. We’re here to help you succeed.

10 Tips to Writing Powerful Blog Posts

Susan Young on blogging for staffing and recruiting companiesBy Guest Blogger: Susan Young

According to, there are 133 million blogs. I’ll take their word on that. In fact, the number has probably jumped since you read this!

It’s amazing to think so many people have so much to say. One of the greatest challenges I hear from professionals in recruiting, staffing, and HR is that they don’t know what to write, so they do nothing. It’s not much fun being stuck or afraid.

Blogs are vital to growing your name recognition, brand, and revenues online.

Merely having a blog is very different than proactively using it as a key marketing vehicle that drives traffic to your website. Share relevant and timely content and people will begin to pay attention.

Here are 10 tips to writing powerful blog posts:

  1. Stick to what you know.

    When you write about topics and issues that you are interested in and enjoy, the task becomes less burdensome. It also helps to stay focused. Readers will come to know that your blog is about staffing and recruiting. They won’t find cooking tips or vacation ideas from you. This is essential as you build your brand.

  2. Be transparent.

    Avoid hidden agendas and negativity. Your name is on every post. Be proud of what you share.

  3. Write in short, punchy and easy-to understand sentences.

    My theory is that we should write to express, not to impress. This is a “crazy busy” world we live in. People appreciate concise and succinct communication.

  4. Weave in your personality.

    Blogs are not typically written in a dry and formal business style. A more casual approach allows you to inject your personality into your writing. This helps connect with your reader.

  5. Avoid “JAR”

    – Jargon, Adjectives, and Rhetoric. Your readers are not looking for a stuffy sales pitch. They want something that’s compelling and thoughtful. Deliver it and you’ll develop a loyal following.

  6. Connect your posts with timely news stories.

    The news provides us with plenty to blog about. By mentioning current events (and reacting to them as you desire), you show people that you’re interested in what’s happening in our world. You can also tie in the news to your business, customers, and prospects. This helps to create attention-grabbing and timely posts. Using fresh information helps drive traffic to your website and shows you’re paying attention.

  7. Speak directly to the reader.

    Use active verbs and first-person language. Ask them a question or write a statement such as, “Consider this”, or “How about you?” By keeping people engaged, you can build rapport through your writing.

  8. Solve their problem.

    Providing useful tips to help ease a pain is important. Think of it this way: Your reader has a pain (challenge) and you have the pill to ease their discomfort. This tip sheet-style approach is effective because it’s reader-friendly. The bullet points allow readers to skim the content and glean nuggets and key information.

  9. Forget about the length.

    There is no right or wrong when it comes to writing blogs. Some people post only a few lines a day while others have several paragraphs or a tip sheet. Longer doesn’t mean better, it just means longer (see No. 3)

  10. Use interesting visuals.

    Grab a free image from sites like and insert it into your post. It breaks up the text and shows your creative side. Video is also extremely powerful and engaging. Remember, just as you may not love to write, a lot of people don’t like to read. Video blogs, or vlogs, allow people to get to know you by seeing your body language, and hearing your voice. It’s building rapport on a deeper level.

The bottom line: Your presence affects your prosperity.

To learn more, I invite you to this upcoming webinar, “The Nuts and Bolts of Blogging to Grow Your Staffing Company” on Wednesday, December 12, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST. I’ll share a special discounted offer that will only be available to participants! A fabulous way to begin 2013!

Webinar Attendees will learn:

• The #1 benefit a blog brings to your business
• 5 ways to get started…and keep going
• Secrets of successful content and blog writing
• Tips on developing your online voice and persona
• How to market your blog and generate new leads

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Susan Young is an award-winning news, social media, PR, and communications professional with 26 years of experience. Her company, Get in Front Communications, works with businesses and associations to increase their visibility, credibility, and revenues. Susan has worked as Managing Editor of HR Communication, a daily e-newsletter for HR and recruiting executives. She currently works with NAPS and blogs on Her latest accomplishment: Being named one of the ‘75 Badass Women on Twitter.’

6 Steps to Grow Your Staffing Agency with Content Marketing

With all the competition in the staffing and recruiting industry today, it’s more important than ever to have a competitive advantage.  So how does a staffing agency rise above the crowd and noise of every other marketer in their space? One good answer is “content marketing” which refers to the development and distribution of content for the purpose of capturing the attention of your target market and positioning your company/brand as credible, authoritative, and useful.

This list of six “content marketing” methods that can help your staffing agency develop engaging and relevant content that gets found, read and shared by your target market and ultimately drives sales.

  1. Start a WordPress blog

    It’s free via WordPress, and it’s a great way to show that you’re in tune with the industry. Blog at least twice per month and each post should be between 250 – 400 words – Google likes fresh content that’s substantial.

  2. Do keyword research

    It’s free and easy via Google’s free tool. It will show you how many people are searching for words related to your product or service. You can use that information to make your website, blog posts, newsletters – in short, all of your content – more likely to be read by potential customers. Specifically, this means using priority keywords in titles (especially), subtitles, tags, and throughout your text.

  3. Give away great advice for free

    Offer relevant, useful information like “5 tips on how to find your next job” or “5 tips for finding your next great candidate.” This helps build trust and respect for your company and brand.

  4. Make your content easy to share

    Add social sharing buttons for social media venues like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. The more your are shared, the more likely you are to be found via Google and other search engines.

  5. Share every post you write.

    Post some text and a link to the rest on your company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts.

  6. Add your content to social sharing/bookmarking sites

    Add content to sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Reddit.

Content marketing is the hottest marketing strategy on the planet, and there’s no reason that staffing companies shouldn’t be using it.  The most important things to keep in mind are focus your content on what is important to your target audience and develop a content calendar and stick with it.

To learn more about recruiting software, staffing software, talent management, and other HR-related topics, bookmark this blog and check out the other blogs from Bond US.

5 Ways Talent Acquisition Professionals Can Improve in 2012

You probably don’t need another new year’s resolution, much less five (the number I have for you below). But all of us in the world of talent acquisition can do our jobs better, so I thought I would share how I plan to improve in 2012. (which was, all in all, very good):

  • Resolution #1: Help hiring managers stay ahead of the curve.

    It’s very, very easy to get frustrated with executives (at all levels) who think that hiring a high-quality candidate for a reasonable price is relatively quick and painless. Instead of getting frustrated, though, I (and other talent acquisition professionals) can think of myself as an educator of sorts. This means talking with hiring managers on a regular basis and making them think about the needs they will have in two months, six months, even a year.

  • Resolution #2: Make the talent acquisition process more efficient for and transparent to all involved

    . I want to make sure that efforts aren’t being unnecessarily duplicated, and I want to make sure that everyone involved in the process knows 1) Their place in the process and 2) How to quickly move the process along. If they already know, my efforts will reinforce their knowledge.

  • Resolution #3: Improve my candidate pool via social media

    . I’ve written a lot about the power of social media in the talent acquisition process, and I’ve followed my own advice – for the most part. I need to reevaluate my social media efforts and see how new technology and new social media venues open up ways to reach even more candidates.

  • Resolution #4: Make more frequent contact with candidates.

    I’ve lost some good opportunities because I hadn’t contacted a candidate for over six months. In other words, when the first response of a candidate is, “So who are you again?” I know I haven’t been proactive enough.

  • Resolution #5: Be more flexible.

    That is, with interviews. For the sake of efficiency and sanity, I want to get better about accommodating the complicated schedules and unforeseen obstacles (and subsequent cancellations) of potential candidates. We’re all busy, and a little understanding of that will go a long way for everyone.

Feel free to share any of your own resolutions or areas you plan to improve on in the comments below.

Don’t be shy about contacting us about talent acquisition, recruiting software, staffing software, and other HR-related products.


Can Your Back Office Staffing Software Talk To Social Media?

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m big on staffing software, social media, and staffing software that maximizes social media.

So of course I want to ask, “Does your back office staffing software talk to social media?” By which I mean,

  • Does it seamlessly integrate with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – the three most important social media outlets for staffing professionals? You need to be able to easily import search results from these social media channels into various databases. You also need to easily move text – usually, some form of marketing text – to these outlets.
  • Does it allow you to set up automatic social media tracking and reports? Do you know, for example, how many people searched for a particular kind of job? Do you know how often people are talking about a particular company and what they are saying about it? Do you know how your competition is using social media? If not, you need better staffing software.
  • Does it allow you to easily use other social media outlets? No one knows how big Google+ is going to get, and no one knows what the next short-lived or long-lived social media phenomenon will look like. But you need to be ready to jump at social media opportunities as they arise, and that requires staffing software that’s social media friendly.

I’m still surprised that a lot of staffing professionals don’t really use social media. Maybe they have a Facebook and LinkedIn account, and maybe they tweet on a regular basis. But they don’t take advantage of the tremendous information gathering, information sharing, and networking opportunities afforded by it.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Old habits die hard, and some of those old habits still pay good dividends in the staffing world. And it really is just a matter of time. Staffing professionals (including the “older generation” of people like me) use the internet and email today better than they did five years ago, so they’ll catch up with the social media revolution eventually – or retire before they have to. Speaking for myself, I prefer revolution over retirement any day!

Have questions about staffing software, recruiting software, and other tools for the staffing industry? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you.