Why Indian Staffing Agencies Need to Enhance Their Client Relations

February 12, 2015

All too often, staffing agencies are in danger of acting as functional administrators, merely matching talent to their clients’ needs. But in an increasingly competitive field, Indian staffing agencies need to stand out from their competitors and enhance their relationships with clients by working with them to build great recruiting strategies.

The future of recruitment

LinkedIn’s 2015 India Staffing Trends report provides staffing agencies with insights into what their peers are doing, how Indian firms compare to the rest of the world, and how they can transform their businesses in order to stay ahead.

The report’s findings revealed three key trends predicted to shape the recruiting industry in the next five to 10 years.

  • Talent sourcing: Over the past four years, social professional networks have grown to become the top source of quality hires for Indian staffing firms. Internet job boards, internet resume databases and employee referral programs have all slipped down the list.
  • Branding: Online professional networks have also become the top channel for promoting a firm’s brand. 72% of Indian recruiters now list online professional networks as the most effective means of promoting their business.
  • New high-level priorities: “Acquiring new clients” was cited by 45% of survey participants as their top priority over the next 12 months. Following close behind was being a strategic partner to clients (37%).

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How social professional networks help build strategic relationships

It’s no surprise that being a strategic partner to clients is becoming a higher priority. As a service-driven profession, meeting the demands of clients swiftly and efficiently should be key for staffing agencies.

Social professional networks like LinkedIn are now the number one source of quality hires for Indian staffing firms, and are helping staffing agencies become strategic partners to their clients – not least because of the access they provide to the 55% of candidates who consider themselves “passive” and “super passive."

Below are four great ways to enhance your relationships with clients and help them meet their recruiting needs.

1. Build rapport

Just like any relationship, the strongest client partnerships thrive on rapport. How else do you know if a candidate is a good culture fit if you don’t take the time to get to know the company for which you are recruiting? Invest the time to familiarise yourself with a range of people working there, what they value and how they view the corporate culture. Then reach out to the hiring managers and find out how they work.

Tip: LinkedIn’s Company and Career Pages provide a wealth of information on a company’s activities and culture. You can also check who you’re connected to within the company and ask for their views on who the next hire should be.

2. Look outside the box

There’s no such thing as the ‘ideal candidate’. There is, however, the best-fit candidate. It’s your task to discover that candidate. Rather than ‘clones’ who have the same qualifications, experience and expectations of a role, look outside the box. How do you know that the candidate who has held a high-paying role for the last decade is not interested in a not-for-profit? Or perhaps they want to scale back their working hours – you never know unless you ask!

Tip: Before placing a candidate in your pipeline, find out from mutual connections on LinkedIn whether they are a cultural or performance fit. Always mention your mutual connections to form a meaningful bond with potential candidates.

3. Build your talent brand

While having solid relationships with hiring managers is critical, it’s just as important to build relationships with candidates. And building and maintaining a talent pipeline is about engaging and connecting with passive talent as well as those actively seeking jobs.

For Sanford DeSouza, Assistant Vice President - Operations, Global Consultants Inc., Bangalore, restricting the agency to only the active talent pool was hindering their ability to close a number of assignments.

“It is immensely important to understand as recruiters that the social media landscape in the recruitment space is growing at a rampant rate,” he says. “We have realized and understood the importance of building relationships not only from a recruitment perspective but also from a business development perspective.”

Tip: Once you’ve built a great LinkedIn page for your agency and a top profile for yourself, engage with your connections by sharing interesting, relevant status updates and valuable content that positions your agency as a thought leader in the field. The more likes, comments and shares your content receives, the more broadly it reaches throughout the LinkedIn network. Content is a powerful tool for thought leadership. But remember: post, don’t sell!

 4. Don’t make it all about you

Although sharing your own content can help to promote you as a thought leader, remember that there are other ways to make an impression than by speaking about your own experiences. If you really want to help your clients attract the top talent, build engagement.

Tip: Let your clients know that you are also reading their posts – comment on their updates, hit the like button or send an email or LinkedIn InMail commending their content or asking relevant questions about them.

To discover more about staffing priorities for the next 12 months, download our free 2015 India Staffing Trends Report.

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