What to look for in a Strategic Workforce Partner

With a plethora of staffing agencies to choose from these days, it is critical to identify a Strategic Work Force Partner who can provide not only the technical skills required to meet your organization’s needs, but also the soft skills to assist in identifying the most qualified candidate. The agency should identify candidates who fit the organization’s culture, as well as possessing the same values, goals, and commitment to excellence that is needed for your organization to thrive and grow in 2015 and beyond.

For example, does your staffing agency of choice fully vet their candidates to include interviewing all candidates prior to resume submittal, as well as making sure that the candidate knows exactly where they are being submitted and to what position? Do they perform diligent reference checks and are they willing to share them with you? Are they a “resume shop” just sending resumes / candidates, or can they tell you about the candidate from a personal perspective (e.g. presented professionally, showed up early, possesses excellent communications skills, was well prepared and engaging, etc…)? Do they test the candidates on specific software in order to validate their computer proficiency? These are all simple, basic “Agency 101” items that every agency should be bound too.

Similarly, and just as important for the candidate looking to identify an agency who can and will represent them with integrity and professionalism; there are several things to look for on the candidate side, such as:

  • Did the agency invite you into their office for a formal interview or is everything done via e-mail or over the phone (red flag)?
  • Are they upfront with you regarding active positions or are they just trying to add you to their database (not an issue as long as they are being honest with you)?
  • What is your first impression when you walk in? How are you greeted, is it a professional environment, or do you feel as though you are part of a cattle call or just another number?
  • How is their follow through? Do they stay engaged with you when a position comes up? Do they provide interview preparation to set you up for success, as well as post interview feedback so you know where you stand?
  • Once you’re hired do they follow-up with you to make sure you are doing well, or is the extent of your communication just requesting your time card or receiving your paycheck?

Things you as a candidate should expect is to be interviewed in-person at some point and time, preferably before you interview with your potential new employer. This is a significant benefit and advantage, as it allows the recruiter to get to know you a bit more; your goals, career objectives and expectations. This is or should be an ongoing relationship where you feel comfortable knowing that the agency of your choice is looking out for your best interest as outlined by your objectives. They should be communicating with you pre- & post-interview, as well as throughout your assignment. Can you reach them at any time to discuss concerns, issues or even complaints? Do they provide you with a thorough onboarding process to include an Employee Handbook? How about your birthday or holidays; do you hear from them? You are their employee, and every employee whether they are full-time internal staff or contract staff, you should be treated with the same level of respect expected in any organization.

When we started Innovative in 2002, our key objectives and goals were to bring added value to our clients and just as important, to provide valuable career opportunities to our potential candidates.

The CORE values we agreed upon then are still crucial today for the success of our organization:

Caring, Committed, Family, Genuine, Integrity & Professional

These are values which we hold ourselves accountable to on a daily basis. We remain committed to these values by treating each and every client and contractor with this in mind.

Our hope is that your take away from this is the realization that the bar is set as high as you allow it to be set, whether you are an organization looking to identify a strategic workforce partner, or an individual looking for a career.  A good recruiter and agency should provide you with the support, direction and consultation needed to facilitate a successful outcome for client and candidate alike!