As a small company that installs home automation and security, we had a crisis when three of our top alarm installation technicians left within a short interval of each other. Although we still had other technicians, we no longer had enough people in the field.
We essentially had more orders coming in than we had people to do the work.We were losing our customers to other companies because we could not follow through on all the work generated by our excellent sales reps.
We were losing money, and perhaps even damaging our reputation as a reliable provider.
We Couldn't Do It on Our Own
Despite extensive advertising for weeks, we found few eligible candidates when we tried to do the hiring process ourselves. Those that we did find wanted higher pay than we were offering for the position; but, in our experience,compensation between $16.15 and $20.00 an hour is a fair price for the work.Besides, offering anything more out of desperation might have increased employee turnover.
Since our human resource department was getting overwhelmed by the task,distracted by all the other positions they needed to fill fast; we decided to try a staffing company. Frankly, we couldn't afford to have this situation continue much longer. We figured that we needed more help to resolve it.
Finding a Staffing Agency
After some extensive research, we found a staffing company that had the expertise that we were looking for when it comes to looking for technicians.
We were pleased to find that they were willing to handle the complete hiring process, which included testing, drug screening, and conducting a comprehensive background check.
Initially, the staffing agency also found it difficult to find candidates.We had a senior executive meeting and decided to see if there was something we could do to help move the situation along.
How We Found the Right Candidate
Here are 7 things we did to help the staffing agency help us find the right candidates:
1. We became more efficient in how we worked with the staffing agency.
We improved the efficiency by working with a staffing company. Instead of long location-based meetings, we did everything by phone, or, if necessary, Skype. Instead of dragging out the paperwork, we turned it around quickly by using an electronic signature for financial services.
2. We became more realistic.
We lowered our expectations. We unconsciously expected to fill the shoes of the 3 employees who had just left. However, after thinking about it, we realized that it taken them a lot of training and experience to get proficient in their work.
We started to focus on the character and work history of the candidate rather than trying to get an exact match based on technical knowledge and work experience.
We found a company that offered to provide training and worked out a way to offer on-the-job training for someone with the characteristics we needed.
3. We revised our job description to be more user-friendly.
Our big insight came when we realized that the job description made perfect sense to us, but was a little too technical for someone not in the field. We completely revised our job description, hiring a copywriter to do it. We also added a lot more detail about our company culture and our experience with previous alarm installation technicians.
4. We developed a much better relationship with the staffing agents who were helping us.
We got to know the recruiters assigned to work with us and began to see things from their perspective. We had been slowing them down by taking so long to get back to them. Consequently, we began to respond faster to their calls and emails when they had a few promising candidates or needed some more information from us.
Another thing we did to improve our relationship was to keep these staffing specialists updated whenever there was a change in our requirements.
These two steps went a long way in preventing poor matches between the candidates we were looking for and the position we had available.
5. We improved our final interviewing process
When we were looking for a staffing company, we had the foresight not to look for a general staffing agency. We worked with an agency that was familiar with our line of work. This expertise helped them to revise the way we interviewed the candidates to see if they would make a good fit. It makes a world of difference when you ask the right questions.
6. We made it easier for candidates to find out more about us.
We updated our website, as well as our social media pages on Facebook and LinkedIn so candidates could get a better idea of our company culture.
7. We assisted more in evaluating candidates.
We assisted the staffing agency when it came to evaluating the results of personality and skill assessment tools that they used to figure out if a candidate would fit into our company's culture.
In retrospect, the reason that we found it difficult to find the right candidates was not because of a lack of talent in the workforce but because we went about the hiring process in the wrong way.