Six Questions to Ask Your IT Staffing Partner

You understand the benefits of working with an IT staffing firm to help you fill critical jobs as quickly as IT talentpossible so that you can focus on your company’s objectives rather than dealing with the minutia involved in seeking out, qualifying and lining up candidates for technical positions that you don’t even fully understand.

Staffing firms can ease much of the recruiting pressure on you, saving time and money. Finding the right candidates is their job and it’s what they do. Because IT staffing firms are specialists within their niche, they are able to find exceptional, specialized talent for any technical need you have. So when seeking out an IT staffing partner, make sure the firm you land on lives, eats and breathes IT staffing and recruiting the very best IT talent.

But aren’t all IT staffing firms pretty much the same?

While most staffing firms pretty much have the same objective – to help you fill positions – they don’t all operate the same way. There are some key differentiators that should be considered. Here’s a breakdown of six key criteria to consider when selecting an IT staffing firm.

1. How do they operate and what can you expect from the relationship? Make sure the firm will visit your location to get a feel for your corporate culture, meet supervisors face-to-face, and learn details about the jobs that need filling. Will you deal with an experienced and professional account manager who develops a relationship with you or would everything be done remotely through recruiters in different parts of the country?

Remember that your choice of an IT staffing firm should be viewed as choosing a strategic partner working on your behalf. Who they are and how they do business reflects on you. They are going to be making first impressions, recruiting, communicating with, and possibly maintaining ongoing relationships with the talent you hire, so make sure that you are dealing with a professional and capable organization.

Are they willing to get to know your business and understand your objectives? Are they just tossing candidates your way remotely without really hearing what you have to say? If they are not taking the time to understand your needs, it isn’t likely that they will be targeting the right candidates.

Furthermore, if you are already working with a firm and they are not following up, checking in and asking for feedback, consider that a red flag. A true staffing partner will have your success as their priority and continually ensure that they are fulfilling your needs.

2. Ask about their screening process. What you don’t want is a firm that simply pushes candidates your way without properly vetting them. You want to work with a partner that you can trust to properly screen candidates.

Do they prep candidates for the interviews and coordinate with the hiring manager? These practices help determine the quality of worker you will receive. In addition to initial screening, find out if the staffing firm conducts background checks. If you have your own procedures about how this is handled, that’s fine. But if you want as much of the legwork done as possible, then know what you can expect.

3. Reputation It’s simple enough for any firm to say they are the greatest, but can they back it up? Do they have client and consultant references that can confirm they are an excellent staffing partner? If they’ve built up a solid rapport within their industry and if candidates have a positive experience when dealing with them, they will attract better quality candidates.

Experience plays an important part in an organization’s overall reputation. How long have they been around and what kind of experience do they have to offer? Who will you be dealing with? An experienced account manager who truly knows and is well connected in the industry or a recent college graduate?

4. Range of Services Depending on your needs, you’ll want to ask about the services they can provide. Specialized is good, but you want them to be flexible enough to adapt to your specific needs – whether you need a full time employee, project staffing, direct hire/contract-to-hire, managed services, etc. Ideally you should be able to rely on the same partner to fulfill all of your IT staffing needs.

5. Subject Matter Experts Do they truly understand the niche? Do they know the lingo or are they just playing along? If they have strong experience in IT staffing, they should be able to talk the talk. Do they understand emerging trends and what the most in-demand skills sets are?

6. Do they have a local or regional presence? Some larger firms work with recruiters who operate remotely and may never actually meet the candidates. Are they meeting with the candidates? Are they going to spend time with you? Do they maintain relationships with candidates once they are hired? It’s important that they value the people that they recruit – if they simply view them as commodities, chances are they won’t have a great rep among current/former recruits.

The cost of a bad hire is high and so is an empty seat. You have important projects that impact your business and you need the very best talent you can get sitting in those seats. Make sure you are working with an IT recruiting firm that is committed to your success! A good IT staffing firm should seem like an extension of your organization – serving as an advocate for your business in the market. The relationship should be mutually respectful and beneficial.

– Mindy

Mindy Mihajlov

Mindy Mihajlov, Lead Technical Recruiter

Connect with Mindy on LinkedIn

@MindyRecruiter

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