The modern staffing firm is a software-powered enterprise – savvy clients require fast and headache-free placements, and better software tools to scale up effective processes are one of the main ways that firms can deliver that experience.
Here are 11 types of tools that smart staffing firms are using to optimize their business operations and eliminate inefficiencies such as:
- Excessive time spent looking for candidates — or worse, searches that miss the mark. A candidate you can’t find within your database is a huge waste.
- Supplying candidates who lack key skills or otherwise aren’t suited for the role.
- Disjointed candidate experiences requiring too much back and forth, or data transfers across multiple platforms.
Sourcing is the lifeblood of a successful staffing company, whether you’re searching your ATS for a connection to rekindle or out hunting for new talent. Remember, it’s not always about looking to scout new candidates. In fact that can be incredibly labor and cost-intensive compared to effectively searching your existing talent pool if your ATS & CRM is appropriately organized and nurtured.
The bottom line: the more qualified candidates you know about, the faster you can fill positions (and the less you have to worry about those candidates doing a good job). Sourcing tools help you find and nurture the people who’ll make your agency look good, and do it faster than the competition.
Here are some sourcing tools that we’ve tested and trust:
- Resume-Library maintains hundreds of job boards where potential candidates can post resumes. Recruiters can find people based on location or industry/job type.
- Hiretual uses the power of artificial intelligence to identify and nurture talent. Their software parses candidate information from more than 40 platforms.
- Interseller is a recruitment-focused email solution that allows you to quickly add both new or existing candidates to automated nurture flows. Build and keep that talent pool primed.
- CareerBuilder’s Talent Discovery Platform gives recruiters AI-based tools and unique access to the job board’s hundreds of thousands of job-seeking members.
- Dice is a job board focused on the tech industry. Their advanced sourcing tools use AI to predict which candidates are looking for new opportunities.
If this is an area you know requires improvement at your agency, here’s a little more inspiration on high level recruiting and sourcing strategies. And because sourcing or recruiting via social media is a massive topic, we’ve explored that separately and in-depth.
Contract and Document Management Tools
Contracts and compliance are some of the most time-consuming — and anxiety-inducing — tasks on a staffing agency’s plate. Documents with sensitive information like SSNs and bank account numbers must be kept safe. But the steps taken to ensure document security often makes it extremely time-consuming to find the right information at the right time. How many clicks from an employee’s record does it take you to find their W-4, or their licensing credentials? Are they even in the same system?
Modern talent management software eliminates document siloes and pairs strong security with improved efficiency.
In Crelate’s ATS, for example, you can see every document associated with a person in one place. You can also set reminders for certificates or licenses that expire. Regardless of the system you use, staffing agencies need a tool that keeps your placements compliant, and minimizes the inefficiency of system-switching to achieve a single task that you’ll perform all the time.
Whether you’re in the middle of an audit or just need to confirm assignment eligibility, the documents you need should be at your fingertips. It’s a huge time-saver to know contracts, invoices, and other legal documents are there when you need them.
Video Interviewing Tools
The rise of remote work — combined with the Covid-19 crisis — have made video interviews critical and sometimes the only option for connecting with candidates.
Besides the obvious factors like cutting down on travel and allowing for complete social distancing, video interviewing has other benefits. For instance, interviews can be standardized and recorded, so that all stakeholders can view the same interaction. And assessment can be based on a highly visual and replayable record, not just written notes and recollections.
- HireVue combines video interviewing tools with unique assessment solutions like games and coding tests.
- VidCruiter offers real-time and candidate-only videos — all with a structured methodology that streamlines the hiring process and helps recruiters make better decisions.
- SparkHire makes video interviewing easy with fast setup and cost-effective pricing. They are one of the most popular platforms, with more than 4,000 customers, and a good place to start for agencies new to video interviewing. Crelate’s integration with SparkHire allows recruiters to launch SparkHire interviews without leaving the Crelate platform.
Testing & Assessment Tools
Testing and assessment tools are (arguably) the best way to predict how a candidate is going to behave on the job. It has the potential to create a better balance between assessing candidates based on actual technical skills and how they show up on paper. As such these tools are immensely valuable in shifting the sole burden of evaluating fit and qualification from an individual, human recruiter with finite bandwidth and experience, to a scalable process and set of tools that you’ll refine and improve over time.
Pro-tip: Pay attention to how long it takes candidates to complete the assessments, the accuracy of their results, and their communication throughout the process.
- Criteria Pre-Employment Testing offers tests for more than 1,100 different job positions, or you can create and deliver your own tests. Testing can be conducted online or on-site.
- HackerRank has assessed more than 11 million developers, and can tell you how candidates stack up against each other and the tech industry as a whole. The company also facilitates real-time coding challenges, and remote projects.
- Kenexa by IBM uses the predictive power of Watson to assess prospective employees’ chances of success, based on existing skills and behavioral analysis.
- Plum uses artificial intelligence, data science, and insights from psychology to assess the “soft skills” that can make the difference between a successful hire that enhances company culture and a disastrous one that tears organizations apart.
- WonScore, an assessment tool based on the Wonderlic test, measures cognitive ability, motivation, and personality. The results are combined into a single score tailored to the needs of the job and company culture.
Background Check Tools
To state the obvious for anyone who’s spent time in the field, background checks can take up an incredible amount of time in the hiring process. While incredibly necessary in a lot of cases, they have the potential to delay your placement in a serious way if the process is messy, disjointed, or otherwise inefficient.
Modern candidate relationship systems allow agency fulfillment teams to conduct fast, compliant background checks right in their workflow, without extra paperwork or a separate phone call. Many of these work through API connections with background check services.
Beyond more direct integration with core tools like an ATS & CRM, the services themselves are getting better and more advanced, using predictive data as a complement to traditional methods for faster and more comprehensive background checks.
- Emerge gives customers access to criminal records and other public information. The main selling points are the speed and volume available with their service.
- GoodHire touts their outstanding user experience, which includes automation of common workflows, a shareable dashboard, and mobile-friendly design.
- Sterling provides global background check coverage, with teams that focus on the needs of specific industries.
- Veritable Screening offers screening from the executive/partner level down to volunteers. They tout their customer service, with dedicated specialists for every account.
- Victig Screening Solutions provides screening for employers and for property managers. They customize screening solutions for clients, and claim to be faster and less expensive than the competition.
Staffing Automation Tools
Automation is one of the biggest profit maximizing areas where any staffing agency can invest. Simply put, it means that your team can be working on the things that make you more money.
Not every facet of automation is right for every firm. But these are some of the biggest automation wins we’ve seen among Crelate’s agency customers:
- Scheduling and coordinating interviews between candidates and internal or external hiring authorities. Eliminating the massive time-suck of juggling multiple calendars and ensuring resumes or other documents are in the interviewers’ hands at the right moment.
- Posting new job listings to multiple premium job sites at once — with integrations fully supported by job site partners
- Automatically moving applicants to different stages of your recruiting workflow when certain conditions are met
- Nurturing candidate relationships at scale and on a pre-set schedule, even when you’re not actively placing them. Sending personalized and targeted bulk emails, creating templates that can be refined over time, and automating your follow-up messages
In some cases, core ATS or HCM platforms will try to build in all of this functionality to create lock-in, while others strategically rely on integrations with best-of-breed point solutions.
And because this field is evolving at breakneck speed, as a precursor to native integration, some ATS & CRM platforms will support an even wider array of integrations with point-solutions using platforms like Zapier. Beyond integrating with point-solutions, using Zapier to connect your ATS with leading software services like Slack, LinkedIn, Google Drive and more allow you to create unique automations that are optimized for your company’s workflow.
Here are some great recruiting automation tools to consider. Think of these as a jumping-off point, since the list of potential automation tools across the TA and HCM process is enormous and growing daily.
- Ideal uses AI to screen and shortlist candidates by analyzing rich candidate information such as resumes, assessments, conversations and performance data. A bonus benefit is that it works within your existing ATS eliminating the need to learn a whole new software.
- Textio tackles a problem that virtually everyone in recruiting agrees is a problem: badly written job postings. A main feature it promotes is the ability to identify biased language and then suggesting alternatives to use instead.
- Zoom.ai wants to “improve and simplify the employee experience” through its automated assistant software. Its features include scheduling meetings, transcribing calls, and creating departmental knowledge bases.
- Outplay – Automate your new candidate outreach and follow-up to source at scale. And yep, you guessed it: you can leverage these tools to reach out and nurture new business opportunities as well. Perfect for the small agency or full-desk recruiter. (Exciting update: Outplay now integrates directly with Crelate.)
Your Core Staffing CRM & ATS Platform
Coming full-circle, one of the most important and often overlooked options for sourcing is your ATS. It can be a massive competitive advantage if you’re able to quickly and flexibly search this system for the gold-mine of talent it is. Beyond keeping it organized and searchable, it’s also critical that you keep this resource healthy. Which means actually staying in touch with your talent pool over time in an authentic, personal way.
Let’s talk quickly about what this core platform is, what it isn’t, and what it could be.
To state the obvious: an ATS or Applicant Tracking System is any process for keeping track of job applicants. CRM or Candidate Relationship Management by contrast usually refers to a broader process that includes sourcing and ongoing talent relationship management communication. Still, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
The term Applicant Tracking System is still useful, but it reflects an older way of recruiting. People would apply, you’d track them through the process. Rinse, and repeat. End of it. Today’s successful recruiters do far more — focusing on applicant experience and long-term talent engagement. They know that today’s runner up candidate is tomorrow’s purple squirrel. And that a delighted job-seeker can turn into a referral gold-mine or hiring manager themselves.
Creating a single source of truth for your candidate or talent relationships is where the CRM or candidate relationship management tool comes in. You need a single, threaded view of that relationship and communication history. This lets you:
- Pick up right where you left off if it’s been a while
- Keep key personal tidbits on file without flooding your brain (what was that kiddo’s name again?)
- Plan in advance to follow-up at the right cadence
- Even automate some of that relationship-building communication over time.
Importantly, for agencies, CRM can also refer to Customer Relationship Management. At Crelate, we believe the best approach is to have one system that tracks applicants while also managing relationships with customers and candidates. Remember, today’s successful placement can quickly become tomorrow’s hiring authority.
Customer Relationship Management for Staffing Firms
Most staffing firms have one tool for tracking business development opportunities, and a completely different one for tracking job opportunities.
But these two areas of your business often must work in tandem. Your sales folks can’t promise to place 50 new software developers by the end of the quarter if your recruiters aren’t already starting to pull names and gauge candidate fit or interest. Recruiting often has to start just-as or even before the sales process is completely closed in some cases. Which makes giving your fulfillment team line of site into your high-probability placements an opportunity to get a major edge over the competition.
We strongly encourage staffing agencies to integrate their sales process with their candidate outreach. We believe this is the future of staffing, and that companies who maintain a waterfall process of “book the opportunity, then start finding the people” will fall behind.
Agency Pro-Tip: Staffing (and recruiting) is a person-to-person business. Your client contacts and your potential hires don’t need to live in separate systems. You can track every key relationship that your business has within one single platform. For recruiters, this gives you the ability to easily shift your conversation with a hiring authority from their need for staff, to finding the next step in their own career, and back again. All with a single, threaded view of the relationship.
Thinking about the bottom line for staffing agencies, this single-solution approach can save you money, because you only need to pay one software services company to manage both your talent and your new business pipeline. Leveraged correctly, this should add to your top line as well, as you win more business with a faster and more cohesive process from won project to fulfillment.
Other Features You Should Expect From Your Staffing Tools
Applicant tracking systems were among the first software solutions for the staffing industry. In many cases, they were designed for security and compliance — not for the fast-paced world of placement firms.
Modern staffing tools give you all the security protocols of these older systems, but with the advantages of a user experience and workflow that reflects what busy recruiters need.
Effective Search Capabilities
Again, one of the best ways to get more efficient is to focus on the candidates that you have today, rather than investing time looking for new candidates. Candidate acquisition is expensive. You have to find that candidate, screen them, interview them, set them up in the system. That’s time you don’t need to spend on your existing candidates — if you can find them, that is. Modern staffing systems also increasingly use predictive tools to make sure you maximize the relationships you’ve worked so hard to develop.
You should be able to check applicant status and information wherever you are, and complete the same tasks that you would on desktop. Whether you’re traveling between meetings or just keeping the ball rolling from the beach, the office needs to be portable.
Updates happen in the cloud in real-time, not in a central server that requires on-site updates. You don’t need or want to be waiting for an HRIS worker to get around to a physical visit, especially if your ATS & CRM are constantly investing in optimizing or adding new features.
Visualize workflows, and move candidates from stage to stage with drag-and-drop functionality.
Ever tried to roll out new technology to a recruiting or staffing team that was less intuitive than what they used before? How’d that go?
All the fancy integrations or functionality in the world can’t save a tool that your team won’t use because they think it slows them down. Your ATS needs to be as intuitive as it is flexible to make this level of change successful.
In many systems, creating a report is like publishing a book. You set everything up, then export the data to create the report. If you make a mistake, you have to go back in and update the report to export it again in hopes you’ve fixed the problem. Frankly, we think that’s a little crazy-making.
More advanced systems — like Crelate Talent — let you see report outputs in real time as you’re building them. See and shape data in real time, rather than trying to write massive, complex reports through trial and error.
Custom Reporting and Analytics
Purpose-built platforms come with built-in reports tailored to the staffing industry’s needs. Instead of trying to coax a larger system to do what you wanted all along, staffing-focused systems have out-of-the-box capabilities such as:
- A quick talent pipeline overview
- Measuring activity over time by an individual, team, client, project, or opportunity
- Generating EEOC reports with the click of a button
Should You Go With Multiple Providers Or A Single Platform?
Most of the technology tools listed above can be purchased in a number of ways: a la carte from different providers, in bundles from the HCM software giants, or you could pay a developer to build them for you.
It used to be that choosing a roster of standalone tools meant copy/pasting data between them or employing a full HRIS team. On the other hand, choosing a single all-encompassing platform left many frustrated at the lack of flexibility, integration with best-in-class point solutions, and inability to customize without a dev team and a year of work.
But – with a modern, web-based toolset and integrations, you get the best of both worlds – the features your team expects from each tool, the ability to build a tech stack that works with your team’s process, without the headaches of building and maintaining your own custom integrations between platforms and tools. Instead of managing custom dev teams, you’re talking with a single customer success specialist to configure your tech stack and customized workflows.
There are hundreds and hundreds of companies that want to sell you something to make your life easier. And the truth is, most of them are right to some degree, if your system does not currently have X, Y, or Z, functionality built in.
But, it can get totally overwhelming to manage users, logins, payments, and setups for all of these systems. So even though it sounds like it will make your life 10000x easier to add another point-solution, think about the repercussions before you jump into relationships with these companies — look to your ATS/CRM to provide you with some of these benefits built in.
A problem with a lot of systems is they don’t have built in tools to help you manage your business outside of basic ATS functionality. They also charge exorbitant fees to integrate with these outside systems — if you’re trying to stick to any kind of a budget, you end up working outside the system to take advantage of the time-saving tools. Your goal should be to do as much work inside your system as possible to minimize the back and forth, data transfer, and disjointing your candidate experience.
With Crelate, you’ll get a core platform built specifically for the recruiting and staffing industry, plus integrations with dozens more, along with best-in-class customer service to make everything work the way you need it to.