Now more than ever, where and how you spend your talent budget is critical. From choosing the right candidates to reduce turnover and maximize productivity, to aligning with the right strategic partners, every decision is important right now. 

With so much pressure on organizations to maximize every penny and avoid mistakes, it can be difficult to identify the most important qualifications for your strategic partners. This is especially true for staffing vendors. 

Not all staffing vendors are created equally. 

While it’s certainly easy for us to say, it’s most definitely not just us pointing out the vast differences between staffing vendors, especially IT staffing vendors. With so many partners to choose from, finding the right staffing vendors can seem challenging.

So, what should you look for when searching for new (or deciding to renew current) staffing vendors? We’re going to break down two things that everyone talks about and knows about — but they’re also super vague and difficult to pinpoint. 

Let’s break them down so that you know what to really expect from your staffing vendors:

Quality of talent

First and foremost, this one is going to be essential. It should probably go unsaid, but we’re going to say it anyway. That’s because we frequently hear from our clients that their previous vendors simply didn’t deliver when it came to the tech talent that company needed. 

This may also seem like an odd factor to consider in an employer’s market. With record-setting unemployment and tens of millions out of work, there should be plenty of talent clamoring for your jobs, right? 

Well, right. Actually — exactly right. 

And with more candidates applying to your jobs than ever, reviewing every resume and scheduling all the necessary interviews can take a LOT of time. More than most recruiting teams can handle right now. 

When recruiters are overwhelmed, it’s really easy to make mistakes, or simply miss candidates who would be tremendous members of your team. 

Your staffing vendor should be alleviating that stress, saving your recruiting team time and energy, and doing all the “hard stuff,” presenting only the best-fit candidates for your openings. 

Identifying the “best” talent

And how can you know that talent is really the “best?”

Before you even begin working with a staffing vendor, you can most certainly ask for references. Don’t just toss away those numbers, call up the clients and ask questions. Dig deep to determine whether they provided the right candidates, not just any candidates. 

Candidate NPS doesn’t always indicate quality, but it can give you insight into how talent is treated by a staffing firm. An IT staffing vendor with a high NPS should be shouting it from the rooftops (PS. Our NPS is 3x the average for our industry, and has actually gone UP since COVID hit). Top talent doesn’t work for staffing firms that treat them poorly. So, a high NPS is often a sign that staffing firms work with the best.

Certainly, you’ll learn pretty quickly if a staffing vendor is providing exceptional talent. If you find that you’re constantly going back to your staffing vendor, asking for more candidates. Or if you simply aren’t happy with the quality of candidates presented, take that warning sign and consider going elsewhere. Now isn’t a great time to keep testing. Time is money, and in today’s economy, not many businesses can afford to continue with underperforming vendors. 

Quality of service

This one is so hard to measure, isn’t it? And when you look at the marketing materials for just about any staffing firm, they’re going to talk about their “industry-leading” service (or something to that effect). 

If you’re working with a vendor and constantly find yourself grumbling, writing frustrated emails or simply feeling unhappy with the relationship, it’s probably time to move on. 

What does exceptional service from your staffing vendor look like? Here are just a few differentiators:

> Responsiveness. When you reach out to your staffing partner, you should get a quick and helpful response. No questions asked. You shouldn’t ever be left hanging with a question. 

> Knowledge. Your recruiter shouldn’t just be able to “fill roles,” that person should understand your business and department, and how a particular role contributes to its success. Recruiters should understand the role they’re recruiting for, so that they can appropriately determine who is and isn’t a good fit. 

> Goes above and beyond. Your staffing vendor shouldn’t even hesitate to go the extra mile when it’s needed. That means more than delivering a resume. It means pouring through the network and doing whatever it takes to find THE perfect candidate. It means handling compliance and onboarding so that talent is ready to go when you are. It means you trust and relax when you reach out to your staffing vendor, because you know that things will be taken  care of. That’s a really good feeling. 

We deliver. And we’re extremely proud of it. 

One of our first clients is still with us, decades later. Many more have partnered with us for years. Here at Matlen Silver, we deliver the right talent, and we go above and beyond to make your life easier. It’s ingrained in everything we do. See for yourself the Matlen Difference. Contact us to talk about your IT staffing needs. We’re here to help.