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Level-up your staffing firm with automation in 2023

Posted by
Alex Dunn
January 24, 2023

You’re used to hearing about automation by now. In fact, you probably think that you “have” to leverage automation. And to be fair, I’m not going to disagree with you there! At least with the thought of automation providing truly transformative results for staffing firms. 

But…why? Why is automation so critical right now, especially for staffing firms? 

We recently dug into this exact topic on a webinar for Sense customers, but I thought it would also be helpful to share some of this information here on our blog, since many staffing firms today are struggling to know which technology they should be adding and leveraging to grow their business. And they are planning on how to not only survive whatever economic situation 2023 brings, but to thrive in 2023 and beyond.

To help you understand not only the “why," but “how” automation can help your staffing firm, let’s examine three specific use cases and share some stories of how our customers are leveraging automation to produce big results. 

The big “whys” of automation

Although you could scratch out a long list of reasons why automation is a strong technology to bring into the fold at your staffing firm, we have identified four “big” whys:

  1. Competition
  2. Expenses
  3. Efficiency
  4. Brand

You could even call these whys “stressors,” they each serve as an impetus but collectively, they are sounding the alarm, so to speak. In fact, our recent research report, The Definitive Guide to Talent Engagement, digs into these as well (and offers some actionable solutions). 

Let’s examine these in a bit more detail:

1. Competition

The landscape has gotten especially tough these past few years and despite the current economic forecast, we all know that the market will always be tough for top talent (and will be especially fierce in high-demand verticals like healthcare). 

Research shows that talent wants strong engagement from recruiters. In fact, they’ll move on if they don’t hear back in a day or so. Our customers are showing that those staffing firms that engage talent effectively attract more candidates and keep them interested (in other words, have less drop-off) than other companies. 

New research shows that job seekers are applying to up to 12 jobs at once. Oh, and 1/3 of applications are submitted when your recruiters are offline. This ups the ante considerably, as time is of the essence and expectations are high. 

But wait, there’s more. If your application process is challenging or takes too long, you run the risk of losing candidates before they actually apply! About 40% of applications are abandoned before completion because they provide such a poor experience.

It’s not all dire, though. Remember, we’re talking about the whys of automation. Automation can make a real impact here (and does make a major impact for our customers)!

Companies that can nurture passive talent and offer a quick and seamless application process convert more job seekers into applicants and interviewees — and ultimately placements. We’ll examine the specifics a little bit later in this post. 

2. Expenses

So the competition is heating up and you’re feeling the pressure. The way to elbow out the competition and land more talent is to increase your job board spend, right? 

Well, not so fast. Job board costs have increased rapidly since COVID (increased demand really gave them an opportunity to do so). But with job boards, you’re also sifting through the clutter of mostly unqualified candidates to get to the good ones. So in addition to your literal job board costs, the influx of additional candidates means that your leaner recruiting team is busier reviewing resumes (see #3 below, efficiency). 

It’s a lot. 

The good news is that data from our customers shows that automation can help reduce job board spend by over 20% and save thousands of recruiter hours

3. Efficiency 

I just mentioned how more job board spend also leads to more busy work for recruiters. But there’s more to inefficiency, and it’s costing staffing firms. 

In particular, an inefficient hiring process can (and does) lead to candidate drop-off. Progressing quickly through the hiring process at scale is crucial to keeping talent engaged. 

And yes, time-consuming (and often more administrative) tasks like screening, responding to messages, and scheduling interviews add up to considerable time wasted (our research shows up to 40% of your recruiters’ time!). That’s literal time spent away from 1:1 candidate communications, and it creates bottlenecks in your hiring process that waste everyone’s time and can lead to frustrated candidates who head elsewhere. 

Automation is having a profound impact on this “why” for our customers. In fact, we’re seeing Sense customers leverage automation to cut time-to-offer by 75%!

4. Brand

Your reputation with talent (and clients) is critical in this market. Candidates are reading reviews about you (and your clients) before accepting offers (or even responding to texts/emails). The ability to send timely, relevant, and personalized communications plays a huge role in building and nurturing a strong employer brand. 

And your prospective clients are looking at those reviews, too.

Our customers have found that leveraging automation increases candidate satisfaction ratings by a whopping 80%. This can have a massive impact on your redeployment rates, referrals, and more. 

Automation in action

So we’ve covered why staying on top of automation is so important, but what does that look like in action, and how do we level up there?

Here, we’re going to cover three main areas where you can level-up your efforts:

1. Pre-hire 

The pre-hire period is a time when a lot is happening, both at your staffing firm and with candidates. As part of that top-of-funnel activity, where many staffing firms are thinking of automation and are considering adding it to their tech stack is in candidate reactivation.

After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and money to get those candidates into your database. Leveraging automation to reactivate them can save you considerably on both. 

When it comes to pre-hire, here’s where many staffing firms are currently leveraging automation:

Candidate reactivation - Targeting dormant talent with messaging asking them to apply, a recruiter is notified, and the candidate (hopefully) submits another application.

  • Automatically send thanks for applying and interview reminders

We’re finding that Sense customers leverage automation at another level (really), and are getting dramatically bigger results by implementing the following:

  • Optimizing their candidate funnel: They are targeting existing candidates and pre-ATS candidates (in other words, candidates who aren’t even in your database yet, likely those who are visiting your website). They are driving them to apply with relevant, targeted job recommendations (not just a generic “we invite you to check out our job board” message, but a message that says something like “Based on your skills and background, we think you’d love to apply for this XX job.”)

  • Automating screening: They’re eliminating unnecessary back-and-forths and reviews by automating screening and automatically scheduling interviews on your recruiters’ calendars – but only after the candidate passes the pre-screening. This is a powerful time saver that makes your recruiters extremely efficient while simultaneously providing a game-changing candidate experience.

  • Providing relevant conversations 24/7: Chatbots have become incredibly sophisticated – namely, our AI chatbots (yes, there are actually dozens of chatbots working seamlessly behind the scenes to deliver one, powerful-yet-simplified experience for your candidates). Chatbots are “on” 24/7 and leverage AI and machine NLS to ask questions, provide information, and collect data that is written back to your candidate records. And as I just mentioned, it can also recommend and encourage candidates to apply for specific jobs. Conversion rates with chatbots are extremely impressive, to the tune of 10% to 30% higher. The conversions are higher and your candidate data is enriched…it’s truly powerful.

Real-life results

Here are some results some of our customers have found by taking automation to the next level during pre-hire: 

Volt estimates that their recruiting team saves 20 hours per month per recruiter, and gets 400% more qualified applicants thanks to our pre-screening chatbot. 

Pridestaff found that candidates who engaged with a chatbot were 3x as likely to become an active placement. They also reduced their job board spend by 20%.

Compassus leveraged QR code job listings across their advertising, plus automated pre-screening with scheduling, and saw a 78% reduction in time to hire.

Miller Brothers utilizes the entire Sense talent engagement platform to:

  • Increase the size of their funnel – they are on track to reach 250k candidates this year
  • Realize massive time savings – their team is currently saving over 1,000 recruiter hours per month
  • Make more placements – they made over 1,000 additional placements with Sense in 2022

Zooming in on some critical pieces of that puzzle — across all Sense user data, the average time to complete an automated pre-screen is 1.4 minutes and the average automated interview schedule is 2.6 minutes. When you compare that to the manual back and forth of preliminary questions and scheduling, across thousands of candidates, the increases in productivity are truly game-changing. 

2. On-assignment

There is a lot that feels out of your control once consultants are out on assignment. And yet, this is where some of the most critical communications are happening for your staffing firm. 

Many staffing firms today leverage automation to send email check-ins between the start and end dates of assignments. Firms want to be communicative and receptive to talent, and to maintain or improve their brand reputation. 

Our staffing customers who are taking automation to the next level see on-assignment engagement as a critical piece of their growth puzzle. They’re leveraging automation as part of their talent engagement tech stack to do things like: 

  • Check in with both candidates AND clients: And they’re leveraging email and SMS to reach people where they want to be reached and are most likely to respond. 
  • Request reviews, referrals, and NPS: Our customers see dramatically increased NPS versus the industry average, and are then able to leverage automation to ask especially-happy candidates for referrals and reviews, further building the brand and increasing ROI.
  • Trigger alerts: For good and bad responses so that action can be taken to save either the consultant or the client. 

Real-life results

How has Sense next-level automation helped our customers? Here are a few examples: 

Yorkson Legal had no online reviews for six months, but sent review requests from their recruiters with new content from Sense, and added three new Google reviews in the first week

Profiles saw their NPS scores go from 9 to 93!

All About People has seen recruiter engagement increase and subsequently, retention rates and NPS increase as well. 

3. Redeployment

Redeployment rates are such a critical metric for staffing firms, yet our research shows that most staffing firms have a redeployment rate of just up to 5%. The potential here is massive, and automation can play a huge role. 

Many staffing firms today leverage automation to send emails gauging interest in redeployment close to or after an assignment ends. If there’s interest, a recruiter is alerted. 

Sense customers recognize the opportunity to dramatically increase retention rates and are leveraging every tool in the Sense talent engagement platform arsenal to do just that. 

What does that next-level redeployment automation look like? 

Well, it uses the same targeting strategy (although it builds on those on-assignment communications, which have nurtured your relationship with talent all along), and reaches out toward the end of, or just after an assignment ends.

These customers solicit interest in redeployment, typically via chatbot to provide a conversational experience. This leads to a higher conversion rate, and helps validate/enrich their candidate database with answers. Recruiters are alerted based on the data collected. 

But, and here’s one touch that is especially powerful, based on talent responses, Sense technology can suggest specific job matches AND/OR schedule a meeting with a recruiter to discuss the role with the candidate. 

Rather than gauging interest and hoping for outreach (or playing phone tag, email back and forth, etc), thechatbot engages in a conversation with talent, gathers data to enrich your candidate database, and schedules time on your recruiters’ calendars while also suggesting specific jobs to apply to (if relevant/desired). 

Real-life results

What do real-world results look like from this powerful formula? 

Core Medical Group has increased employee extensions six-fold based on chatbot conversations with over 3,500 candidates, has increased total hires 7x, has saved over 8,000 recruiter hours in the first two quarters of 2022, and has reactivated 1,500 dormant candidates from their Bullhorn database. 

Another Sense customer boasts a 4.6/5 star experience based on chatbot interactions with over 3,500 candidates, and a massive 33% of their placements are redeployed talent.  

Next steps to level up your staffing firm with automation

What’s especially exciting about everything I shared in this blog is that the tools are there right now within the Sense talent engagement platform. And by choosing an all-in-one platform, you avoid the pitfalls of individual point solutions (added cost, headaches with onboarding, customer service, lack of connectivity between tools, etc). Here at Sense, our team helps you from Day 1 of throughout our relationship. We’re here to help you get the most from our platform, and to see the best-possible ROI from your investment. 

Looking for more automation resources? Check out The Recruiting Automation Playbook for 2023

Want to see Sense in action and get a better understanding of how it can transform your staffing firm in 2023? Schedule a demo with our team today.

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