Technical staffing firms can seem like they are a dime a dozen. It is certainly a crowded marketplace. The barriers to entry are low, so anyone with a bit of experience can start their own firm.
There are 2 sides to running an IT staffing business - clients and candidates. You need both to thrive. Acquiring and maintaining clients is key to any firm’s success. After all, they are the ones paying the fees.
Over the years, I’ve noticed 3 main traits that I feel lead to a successful client-vendor partnership in the staffing industry.
1. Be Likeable
In the early days of my career, one of my first managers gave me some advice that has stuck with me through the years, “clients work with people they like”. After all, staffing is a service and business is built on relationships. Vendors have a huge selection of firms when it comes to who they want to work with. Even if you have a signed contract with that client sometimes doesn’t guarantee that they will give you requisitions to work on. Often times they control which vendors get to work on their open positions.
One of the keys to getting a new client or getting a client to give you more business is to be likeable. They should want to work with you. If you come off as being brash, arrogant, boring, or condescending, chances are clients won’t even give you a shot. Be polite, be engaging, and be yourself.
2. Deliver Results
No matter how many lunches you buy or gifts you drop off, it is tough to keep clients if you can’t deliver quality candidates. Sure, some positions are much harder to fill than others, but you need to show the client a couple of wins in order to gain more business or to remain on their vendor list.
This starts by understanding all the details about the open role and being knowledgeable about the skill sets in your industry. Then, you need to be able to properly communicate that information back to the recruiting team. It is critical for sales to work with their recruiters in order to find quality talent for their clients.
This last trait is what will separate you from your competition. Are you quick to respond to a client’s question or concern? Are you going the extra mile to make sure your candidate is properly prepped for an interview? Are you staying in touch with your client and keeping them updated on your recruiting progress? Are you genuinely interesting in adding value to your client’s technical teams and taking time to learn their business?
These are all things that hiring managers will notice and appreciate. This is how your name will go to the top of the list when a manager needs to refer someone to a friend or colleague. Or when it is time for a larger firm to evaluate their vendor list and determine which firms get priority status.
Hustle is a great way to differentiate yourself from other firms and will go a long way towards long term success.