June 14, 2024

Interview with Mark Winter

Mark Winter

CEO, WinSource Group

We are going through very uncertain times. What are the 3 things that will differentiate top performing staffing companies from others? 

Service. Communication. Process. Make no mistake…staffing is a service industry. Staffing today reminds me of the old school travel agents. At the end of the day, we all have access to the same candidates, same job boards, and similar industry training. Not unlike the way travel agents were all working with the same airlines, hotels, etc. What will separate one staffing company from another is how they service the client. It will be our ability to make the client feel assured, in control, and informed that will create a real competitive advantage. That has to be coupled with outstanding, proactive communication, and unique recruiting and service processes if we really want to differentiate. Clients need to know what to expect from us for us to be a part of their work as opposed to just a necessary evil. Ideally, these three things will make them feel like they want to use us rather than having to use us. 

It is not a secret; we have a recruiter shortage. What are the most helpful tools to make your recruiters more efficient? 

I think one of the best tools on the market is Calendly. As a recruiter, being efficient with scheduling is key. It also helps make things easy on clients and candidates. I also think setting up a good contact strategy with clients is a simple, free tool that goes a long way. Some much of a recruiter’s time is waiting for clients to respond to submissions and offers.  

Buzzwords like Meta Verse, AI, automation are used at the moment to describe the future of work. From your point of view, which staffing technologies are overhyped and which are here to stay? 

Here’s the thing….I know of very few tools in staffing that work exactly the way they said they would during the demos. Sure, there are some things that will drive efficiency but so many of them do 80% of what is promised and other need to or three other subscriptions to work properly. My advice be careful of the shiny object. The best tech staffing tools are those that support human process, not those that are designed to replace it. Staffing is a human business. Now, that said…look for tools designed by people who have held staffing roles. People that understand the day to day and really know what a good user experience is all about. As for very advanced tech like AI, designate some resources to testing new and exciting tools but keep it limited and have clear testing criteria. 

Everyone talks about candidate experience, but what about client experience? What tools or best practices do you implement to ensure an outstanding experience for your clients when working with your firm? 

Client experience is my passion. Listen, there is only one place revenue comes from. The client. Period, end of story. I recognize that our candidates must be well cared for but having a great client sales and engagement process is so valuable, you can actually charge more money for it. Think about this…I can buy a cup of coffee on any street corner. In some cases I can get a cup of gas station coffee for .99 cents. Companies like Starbucks have taken that commodity item and coupled it with an experience and they can charge a 400-500% price difference. Good process, great experiences in store and the convenience of ordering the way you want all add customer value and justify the higher cost to the consumer. 

In staffing, we can provide a thorough sales experience that really focuses on the client, how their business operates, how they compete, and who they serve it can provide a differentiated sales experience worth paying for. We must also have solid account management practices. Right now, if you don’t have dedicated account management resources, you are missing out. Competitive pressure is high and customers are willing to try anything to get candidates, including hiring their own internal resources. Have a direct customer liaison in place is necessary to avoid surprises and to keep from spinning your wheels. 

Especially in today's market it is important to stay ahead of the curve. Where do you go for market intel and news? Which newsletters, blogs, conferences, podcasts etc. can you recommend?

A few resources I use are ITR Economics for economic forecasting data. Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal to stay on top of news and trends. SIA and ASA data to track progress and news in staffing. I also attend many staffing conferences. I also try to get tuned into whatever industry resources my clients are reading. As for subscriptions, we also use Dun and Bradstreet Hoovers to find relevant stuff for the industries we serve.