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July 8, 2021

Staffing Industry’s Top 10 Challenges And How to Solve Them

What do those in the industry feel are the biggest challenges in staffing, particularly given the unique and often volatile circumstances that have become the norm since early-2020?

This is one of many questions that The State of Staffing 2021 Report by StaffingHub recently sought to answer. Over 250 staffing professionals took part – 80% of whom were either managers, owners, or C-suite executives – and every imaginable vertical and niche was represented. Participants were asked to offer up their thoughts on a number of pressing subjects, one of which was the major challenges that they currently faced.

What were the top 10 challenges in the eyes of respondents, and how might a firm overcome them? Read on to find out!


State of Staffing Industry Growth Report


1. Finding qualified candidates

The most pressing challenge identified by industry professionals in 2021 was clear: finding qualified candidates. This might be a surprise to some, particularly given how many people are trying to re-enter the workforce post-COVID. But there are candidates, then there are qualified candidates

Likewise, overcoming this challenge isn’t a matter of working harder for candidates, but smarter. As discussed in our Recruiter Evolution series, by automating aspects of the candidate sourcing process you can greatly reduce your need to manually screen, leaving you to choose from a handful of the most compelling applicants.

But it may be worth taking another step back. What does ‘qualified’ actually mean? I the first article of our recent DEI series we spoke about the fact that demanding X qualification or X years of experience may in fact see you weakening your candidate pool, rather than strengthening it.

2. Getting candidates to respond

The second most pressing challenge? Getting candidates to respond.

In this article, we compare the hiring process to a sales funnel. Companies know that responsiveness from them encourages responsiveness from potential buyers (or candidates in this case), which in turn encourages sales. While this connection may not be as direct in the world of staffing, being as available and helpful as possible will see you enjoying far greater levels of engagement in return.

How do you do it? Check out our  7 Ways to Make the Candidate Experience Less Painful For Everyone.

3. Getting candidates on the phone

Further to the responsiveness concerns, staffing professionals identified the challenge of getting candidates on the phone as one of the most pressing. It’s understandable, particularly in a world where many of us screen calls from our closest friends and family members.

The question you should be asking yourself, however, is ‘do I need to call in the first place?’ In many cases, there are far more efficient and effective ways to communicate with candidates, including texting, a point made in this blog about marketing automation in staffing. You have to meet the candidate where they are.

4. Selecting tools for digital transformation

Digital transformation. It’s an intimidating prospect for many staffing firms, but one that is absolutely critical for long-term success.

It begins with a change in mindset – digital transformation is a process that demands commitment if you are to reap the maximum reward. Once that box is ticked, the process of creating your tech stack is one of gaining a deep understanding of where you are, where you want to be, and identifying tools that will facilitate the transition.

Looking for inspiration?  In this blog, Brian Cunningham from Allen Recruitment Consulting describes the process of digital transformation that his firm undertook.

5. Setting up and managing automation

As we declared in this recent piece, the time to adopt staffing automation technology is now. That’s all well and good, but as the report shows, the industry feels confused about where to start with automation, as well as how to manage it going forward.

In part two of our recent series  COVID Recovery Strategies That Are Here to Stay, we discuss potential starting points for automation, such as removing incomplete or duplicate entries from your ATS or sending out automated yet personalized emails.

The ongoing management of automation, meanwhile, is built on a foundation of data integrity, a subject covered in depth in the blog  14 Tips to Ensure Quality Candidates in Your ATS.

6. Integrating staffing technology

There’s no transformation without integration – it’s a fact that the staffing industry is slowly beginning to understand. You can’t ask your recruiters to switch between multiple portals and put up with duplicate data entry to make a simple placement. Every solution you choose should stitch seamlessly together, talk to one another, and ideally offer a similar user experience.

In this article, our resident integration evangelist Lauren B Jones takes a look at some of the most common fears, frustrations, and questions that surround tech stacks and integration, and offers advice on how to build a perfectly integrated stack.

7. Selecting the right sourcing channels

Early on it felt as though the internet would make candidate sourcing a cinch, but while it has indeed made the best candidates easily findable and contactable, in some ways this accessibility has made top talent more difficult to engage with than ever, as they drown in messages and connection requests.

Selecting the right sourcing channels was highlighted as yet another major challenge by survey respondents. But for many staffing firms, the best channel is one that they may continue to ignore or neglect: their ATS.

Check out this blog on getting your ATS working for you, and this on-demand webinar that you can listen to in the background on new recruiting methods.

8. Redeployment

A significant number of respondents cited redeployment as a major challenge. Often the reasons for the challenge are quite simple: many firms fail to measure their redeployment rate and take an incredibly ad hoc (and inefficient) approach to filling roles.

Regularly redeploying your best candidates saves you serious time and money. Less vetting, less processing, fewer headaches from unqualified candidates; redeployment simply makes sense.

Check out this blog to find out more about the role of technology in redeployment.

9. Maintaining accurate CRM data

Maintaining data integrity, be it in your ATS, your CRM or anywhere else, is a bit like cleaning trash off the beach. It isn’t a task with a finish line – you know that more mess will inevitably wash onto shore – but despite that, you continue to clean and maintain, and you make the experience better for everyone in the process.

How to Become a Data Integrity Success Story walks you through why it’s essential to maintain accurate CRM data, as well as how to do it.

10. Getting data to improve decisions

“Knowledge is power, and knowledge is increasingly represented in zeroes and ones.”

In a recent piece on why recruiters need to become better marketers, we looked at the ever-increasing importance of data. It makes sense then that a significant portion of staffing professionals are concerned about gaining access to the data needed to make good business decisions.

The truth? Gaining access to sufficient data isn’t usually a problem. Marketing data can be pulled from Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Candidate data can be pulled from your ATS, CRM, or job boards. Market data can be pulled from a wealth of industry sources. The far greater challenge is extracting actionable insights from this wealth of binary code. It’s a subject we tackle in this blog about upskilling recruiters, and this one about the whats, whys, and hows of automation.

Eager to hear more about the major staffing challenges and opportunities in 2021, as reported by industry insiders? Click here to download The State of Staffing 2021 Report, proudly sponsored by Able.