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Taking Advantage of Opportunities in Staffing: Q&A with Inavero CEO Eric Gregg

Eric_Gregg_Inavero_CEOThe following interview with Eric Gregg, Founder and CEO of Inavero is an excerpt from the 2013 Opportunities in Staffing Guide, which contains key findings from CareerBuilder and Inavero’s annual Opportunities in Staffing study. CareerBuilder sat down with Eric Gregg, founder and CEO of Inavero, to discuss key findings from the study and emerging trends, what they mean for staffing companies and how they can leverage this research to drive business.

How have satisfaction rates for staffing firms changed in the last year? Satisfaction among clients is at its lowest point since the study began in 2006, with especially low scores from those who directly manage the placed talent. Staffing firms are failing to reach the strategic partner level with many of their clients, and the scores reflect that. Although the scores for individuals successfully placed in positions improved for the third straight year, the overall experience of job candidates engaging with staffing firms remains low, with responsiveness as the primary culprit.

What are some of the misconceptions that exist in the staffing industry? Misconceptions about staffing firms are quite prevalent. They range from the misinformed (14 percent of job candidates believe staffing firms are primarily for people who can’t find jobs on their own) to just plain false (9 percent of job candidates believe staffing firms charge them for their services).

How can staffing firms address these misconceptions? Don’t assume your audience is well informed about what it’s like to work with a staffing firm. Hit on anything that may be a barrier to getting a job candidate to sign up with your organization, and emphasize the benefits of nontraditional employment, such as freedom, flexibility and the ability to bridge into a full-time, permanent position with a desirable company.

How can staffing companies alter their quality control (QC) processes to align with the needs of clients and candidates? This is a big issue within the industry. While nearly everyone agree there is value in getting feedback at different points in an assignment or placement, less than half have formal metrics in place, and only one quarter of firms say they always conduct the check-ins when they say they will. Top staffing agencies are able to stay on top because they consistently measure their processes and utilize client and candidate feedback to improve, which helps them outpace the competition in sales and margin growth.

What resources do clients trust the most when choosing a staffing company? Let’s start with the resources they trust the least: a mere 4 percent of clients and job candidates trust ads, and only 1 in 4 trust their sales rep or recruiter. The resource they trust the most are referrals from people they know. As a staffing firm, anything you can do to credibly and authentically tell your story of exceptional service will likely hit home. The second most trusted source was testimonials from current or former clients or job candidates and third-party awards.

How can staffing firms be sure that they are providing exceptional service? Today’s online survey technology makes it easier and more efficient than ever to learn about your service quality from the only people who matter – your clients and job candidates. Measure and benchmark your satisfaction scores, and get ready to stand behind them publicly. Satisfaction scores are the number one metric the majority of clients use to determine the quality of a prospective staffing firm.

Where does mobile readiness come into play for staffing firms? Mobile readiness is a must for staffing agencies; however, there is evidence that many staffing firms are behind. While just over half of staffing firms say their site is mobile-optimized, less than 20 percent of clients or job candidates report that their primary staffing firm’s website works “very well”.

What predictions do you have for the staffing industry in the next 5 years? I believe the staffing industry – and specifically temporary employment – will continue to gain as a percentage of overall employment. Since mid-2009, staffing firms have added more jobs to the U.S. economy than any other industry, and I don’t see that letting up. Every indication from corporate America is that they value flexibility and an “on-demand” talent model. However, to attain that, the industry is going to be forced to provide much more transparency into the quality of their firms and the quality of their talent.

What can staffing firms do to stand out? At the end of the day, clients and job candidates want a valuable, pleasant experience working with someone that knows their business, their industry and the ins and outs of the talent network. To truly differentiate, you have to look internally first and review your process. Make sure you aren’t just doing what it takes to get the order and make a placement. Go above and beyond. Find places in your process where you can add a positive surprise or do something noteworthy. Strive to take the breath away from your clients and contractors on occasion. Your business will be better because of it.

About the 2013 Opportunities in Staffing Study:
The findings and recommendations included in the 2013 Opportunities in Staffing study  provide you and your executive team with the information necessary to stay ahead of the competition and outperform the industry. Visit www.opportunitiesinstaffing.com to learn more and find out about free webinars.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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