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Great Techspectations – Staffing Agency Tech Stack Planning

If growth is the goal, then finding opportunities for greater profitability is essential. That said, any touchpoint along your hiring manager or candidate journey could be a chance to improve efficiency and conversion. If we were talking about process, you can update a policy, roll out training companywide, and audit to inspect what you expect. When dealing with technology, there’s a very different approach and execution. The real beauty comes from the right investigation, integration, implementation, and orchestration to yield the desired outcome.

Assess Existing Workflows and Technology

I think we can all agree that staffing agencies are like snowflakes in the sense that no two are the same. Different markets, personas, business development strategies, candidate flows, on-boarding, reconversions, the list can go on forever. It’s important to have a detailed understanding of how your staffing agency processes their workflow. The best way to assess this is to map it out. Review your candidate journey from the point they’ve been introduced to your agency to their first day on the job. Some questions you’ll want to keep in mind while you work through this are:

  • What are the manual and automated touchpoints that they experience?
  • Do these candidate journey milestones trigger any fields in your ATS (applicant tracking system) or CRM (customer relationship manager)?
  • Are there any opportunities to automate the touchpoints handled by the recruiter?
  • Are there any opportunities to create additional automated touchpoints to support and assist your recruiters to improve the connection to the candidate?

You’ll notice there are more variations closer to the top of the funnel that narrow and merge as your candidate moves through the workflow. While problems can appear at any stage, pay close attention to the top as there’s a greater potential for the candidate to experience a dead end in their journey. This process could (and should) be completed for the hiring manager persona as well.

Pro Tip: Don’t fall prey to the common misconceptions of technology. Technology is not a miracle, nor is it magic. The technology works best when applied to an organization that’s working together for a common goal. 

While technology may add a level of transparency to hold individuals more accountable, throwing technology at poor producers or ineffective managers will only create a distraction from the real issue.

Review Connectivity Options

First, do your existing technologies have the capabilities to create what you need? Since we’re all so incredibly unique, and the marketplace is flooded with tech solutions, I’m going to assume that nobody has an all-in-one solution. I’ve also vetted out a lot of different staffing agency technologies and have yet to find a comprehensive all-in-one product. #HumbleBrag

All integrations are NOT created equally. Take a minute to review a brief description I’ve put together below.

  • Native API: this is available when the two software companies build the bridge in-house to connect their platforms to work in unison. In many cases, this allows for a bi-directional sync and future customizations based on the needs of your organization.
  • Custom API: this option requires a developer to assess the open API of two software products to build the connection from scratch based on the needs of the client. This connection will generally provide a oneway sync, and any future changes would require more custom development to inform the two platforms on how to work with each other.
  • Batch: this solution is generally a third software that acts as the liaison between the two softwares to route data on a per-call basis. As we continue to get further away from a Native API connection, there is less flexibility and more limits to the data that can be moved. Also, while there is a wide range of frequencies for which these calls can be made, the higher the frequency, the more it costs.
  • If/Then: this option is great if you’re looking to move a minimal amount of simple data for a particular activity. Since it’s not very robust, there are massive limitations beyond a one-to-one transaction. Complex build-outs can be cumbersome and confusing.
  • Manual: this option is wildly inefficient, has a high potential for inaccuracies, and is incredibly costly. It’s a great solution to run a test or for incredibly low volumes but lacks the ability to scale for the future needs of the organization.

As you can see, each of these examples provides a different level of sophistication, which impacts the flexibility and usefulness of the overall integration. The last thing I review in determining integration needs is my three to five-year plan. Which solution will provide me the ability to leverage the technology to improve my candidate and hiring manager experiences, and which will lead to a dead-end that will need to be revamped?

On-board the Implementation Specialist

Since the details of your implementation will depend on the type of implementation and how hands-on you’ll be in the process, I only have one suggestion. Transparency.

For a successful implementation, all parties involved need to have an intimate understanding of the workflows at your organization. Mapping out all of the workflow details at the beginning of the process should make the transfer of knowledge relatively easy with your implementation partner. On-boarding is also an excellent opportunity to get feedback. Assuming your implementation specialist has done a number of these in the past, they may have some insight from past implementations that can help smooth out rough spots in your funnel to improve the experience and conversion.

Take the time to set your project up for success by ensuring that all the details have been discussed thoroughly.

Launch a Companywide Campaign

Just like any product launch, this has everything to do with communication. I highly recommend running this portion like a campaign. Create the elements to build buzz, drip manageable details out regularly, then invite everyone to a formal release. By doing it in this manner, you’ll acquire buy-in over time, and adoption will be easier on the date you go live.

In this campaign, remember that your customer is your internal employees. While the fruits of your labor will impact your hiring managers and candidates, it requires buy-in from the people at your organization to be successful. Make sure your materials illustrate how technology will help to improve their business, make their lives easier, and make them more money. Staying too long in the benefits of the candidates or clients will rapidly deteriorate their desire to participate.

There can obviously be a lot more detail to this list as the integrations become more complex, and the touchpoints become more dynamic. Stay as far away from manual implementations as a long-term solution due to their inherent limits. If this is your first time, I’d recommend targeting a specific point in the journey that is universal to your candidates. Use a milestone that has the most accurate data and similar expectations from the engaged party. My go-to is on-boarding. Once you’ve mastered your first milestone, assess the next nearest touchpoint to improve the next experience.

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