As COVID-19 restrictions ease, your company may face high competition from other businesses when hiring new employees. In particular, employer demand for technology professionals is rising dramatically.
In May 2021, companies posted more than 365,000 job openings for IT workers, the largest total since September 2019. Businesses are seeking candidates from what the Wall Street Journal describes as a “chronically low supply of tech talent.”
These challenges may lead you to work with an outside recruitment team. The right staffing agency can help your company differentiate itself, quickly find candidates, and fill positions with high-quality workers.
How can you ensure that the provider you choose will fit your businesses’ needs and deliver on its goals?
Agile, the IT recruiting company, offers the following questions to ask a staffing agency as part of your vetting process.
Clint Hawkins, director of recruiting for Agile, says, “A team that specializes in IT will understand the nuances of different technologies. It will have hired enough people in IT-specific positions to know which candidates are a fit. Also, it will have a bigger pool of tech talent from which to recruit and get referrals.”
Finding candidates that fit a position description is only part of the task.
In a market where employers and agencies are constantly pursuing on developers — even when they aren’t actively looking for jobs — IT recruiting firms need to stand out.
“Employers will see more success when their staffing agency has subject matter expertise,” Hawkins says. “Recruiters need to connect with candidates on a professional and personal level.”
“You can’t do that effectively if you don’t know the technology or if you’re just spamming a bunch of buzzwords to candidates.”
Technology workers have a myriad of opportunities available to them right now.
Your recruiting partner has to be able to explain why your opportunity is special. When weighing how to choose a staffing agency, prioritize its approach to selling your company as much as its ability to find candidates.
“A staffing agency needs to tell your story effectively,” says Hawkins. “It needs to spend time with your business, understand your culture and team, and know where the company is heading.”
Agile learns the employee journey from these stories. The agency finds out the type of candidates a company has hired in the past. Then, it explores the projects on which candidates have worked, the promotions they have received, and other details.
“This information lets us create an outbound story for potential hires,” Hawkins says. “It’s much more compelling than a rundown of salary and benefits, and it differentiates our clients from other employers.”
When employers consider questions to ask a staffing agency, they often focus on specific hiring needs. Instead, Hawkins recommends that they look at the reasons for hiring.
For example, your company may be moving from on-premises servers to cloud services. A migration like this may require an AWS architect, Azure Architect, or generalist that has been through several cloud migrations.
Instead of asking,
“Have you hired an AWS architect before?”
You might say,
“Have you helped another company staff up for an AWS migration? If so, what problems was the company facing with the migration, and how did your approach to hiring resolve these issues?”
Hawkins explains the difference. “A lot of agencies might have recruited someone for a similar position, but did those candidates actually solve the problem your company faces? Can the agency evaluate where your team is, where you want to be, and what type of talent you’ll need to succeed?”
Agencies that specialize in IT recruiting can provide examples from past clients and offer advice about the resources you may require. In many cases, this advice can save your company money — you might not need as many workers as you think, or you might be able to hire a less experienced candidate who can train in the required skills.
Staffing agencies aren’t usually incentivized to strengthen your company’s hiring team. If your business gets better at recruiting, why would it need an agency?
However, Hawkins points out, it’s not a zero-sum situation.
“If I was an employer, I’d expect my staffing firm to improve my company’s skills. If an employer is struggling, it won’t keep candidates for long. However, if an employer is growing, it’ll benefit from a recruiting partner that can support its expansion.”
When companies are thinking about how to choose a staffing agency, they should expect that agency to help them build their capabilities. This might mean training your internal team how to make job postings more attractive and how to source better candidates.
Hawkins suggests his IT staffing firm uses a different approach than many agencies.
“At Agile, we put ourselves in the position of our client. We ask, ‘What would we do to expand? How would we want our partner to support us? How can we ensure accountability?’ That mindset forces you to approach problems in a different and more client-oriented way.”
As your business evaluates prospective recruiting partners, keep these questions — and Agile — in mind. The staffing firm welcomes the opportunity to learn about your company and to help it grow effectively.
September 29, 2021