We recently sat down for a Q&A session with Sherri Witmer, Direct Hire Recruiter for FrankCrum Staffing. Although the company provides contract and contract-to-hire placements, Sherri specializes in direct hire talent acquisition in professional services like Accounting and Finance, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Non-Medical.
As an industry veteran, Sherri shared her perspective on COVID-19 implications for professional staffing, emerging trends that will shape hiring in the second half of 2021, and her personal tips for identifying a quality candidate.
Excerpts from our conversation are published below, providing insights from a staffing professional navigating the field in 2021.
In terms of the professional services industry, how “back to normal” are things right now?
Our team is constantly staying on top of the data of what’s happening on a daily basis. And a hindrance is definitely the programs that are still being funded. There are way more opportunities open right now than there are people in the job market. What I’m seeing on my professional services side, there’s still reluctance for people to make a job change due to what we all experienced over the last year and a half, and that is obviously valid.
Are you noticing changes in how your potential recruits or the companies you place them with are responding as we move into the post-covid period?
Yes, there’s no doubt about that, and we’re still not where we want to be, but we are seeing that momentum is picking up for sure. I would think what we’re forecasting for the middle part of the year, we should see more of a dramatic and positive uptick across the board. More people are getting back into more of a normal way of life once again, “Business as Usual,” so to speak, which is wonderful.
What are you looking for in a possible recruit?
It’s a combination, and it really depends on the opportunity. LinkedIn is 100% passive, so it’s people you’re reaching out to see if they are open and receptive to hearing about an opportunity or who they may know that would be ideal for connecting with for the engagement (always asking for referrals and networking is critical).
The most important thing is identifying what is important to the candidate in order for them to consider making a change; what are their motivators or “hot buttons,” as I like to call them. The majority of the opportunities I am looking to fill are not ideal or lucrative by generating a job posting per se. It’s true “happy hunting,” if you will, for the right candidates based on the client’s needs and requirement details, and ideally, the right cultural fit. That’s key.
How do you identify a good candidate?
It’s based on what we call an intake call, so hopping on a call with one of our Sales Representatives. since they are the initial point of contact with the client. We set up an intake call, they do the introductions, recap what may have already been discussed, and then I extract additional information.
I spend most of the time extracting information about their organization, history, and vision to ideally concentrate on the right cultural fit for their organization as well as reviewing the job specs and their interview process.
It’s really getting into their heads. What are the selling points of their company that I should present to the candidate? Because you are selling the candidate to the client and the client to the candidate. I am the liaison in bringing these parties together. It’s finding the right person that fits well within their team, what’s important to them, what has been their “secret sauce” to finding and retaining the right people in the past, and how do they want us to emulate that.
It’s asking a lot of questions about their organization, and they love talking about their org. What attracts people to your organization? What are your wow factors? What is the average tenure of people in your company? Can you tell me about your company’s culture/working environment and vision? I call it peeling back the onion to get to the core of what’s important and who would be the candidate, from a combination of aptitude and the right person to fit into their organization.
What is one thing related to professional services that you wish more people/potential clients were aware of?
Everyone has different motivators (client and candidate), so listening and truly representing both parties appropriately is key. Timing is always of the essence for all parties involved. One thing that we consistently do is educate clients on the importance of “speed of response” throughout the hiring process. It is such a big deal, especially in today’s current market.
If a great candidate is identified that meets the company’s criteria – aptitude, culture, salary expectations, timing - all those KPI’s – and we present that candidate that looks spot on, the company needs to be responsive in a timely fashion. This is especially important in professional services.
People at higher levels have different expectations and most certainly want to see that the process is moving forward and/or feedback and updates are given in a timely manner. Assuming we’re all on the same page after an intake call (setting the stage) when we send our client a prospect, we can’t express it enough: a response within 24-48 hours is a must.
What are you excited about heading into the second half of 2021?
I’m excited that things are, without a doubt, going to be opening up more and more. We see the opportunities increase, and we are starting to see a better response from people on both sides of the fence, clients, and candidates. It has been slow and steady out of the gate, but we believe it’s going to be gangbusters very shortly. 2021 is going to be a phenomenal year.
For more information about FrankCrum Staffing and how we can help you on your search for top professional talent, contact us today: 888-670-1844.