May 8, 2023

Interview with Stefan Heinrichs

Stefan Heinrichs

Managing Director Germany, Academic Work

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

The last years have been colored by global changes and shocks. Nonetheless, I believe the way to differentiate top performing staffing companies from others still lies in the basics and the same challenges we saw before 2020. 

Candidate Attraction is for sure number one for me. Being able to present the right candidates fast enough will continue to be a foundation for staffing companies. Of course, over the last two years this challenge became even tougher than before, with growing shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers. And that puts even more pressure on securing a good candidate experience, to make sure we keep the candidates we find. And talking about finding candidates, the best staffing companies will bring innovative ways to speak to the candidate market. Also, upskilling and reskilling efforts will enable staffing companies to instead create the right candidates, if they’re not available to find on the market. 

For Staffing companies, it is not enough to find the right candidates, we also need to retain them. Therefore, Employee Retention becomes very important to uphold client revenues and avoid having to look for new candidates during client assignments. You need the basics in place such as relevant salary level and good general contract terms. But the best staffing companies will not be satisfied with that, they will also investigate how to support and develop their staffing employees. Only then can you become a true partner to both candidates and clients. 

And speaking of clients, I believe the top performing staffing companies will develop their Client Services and build a strong Client Experience Mindset. Our clients’ worlds are changing, and we need to adopt to their needs, therefore we also need to come up with new services as well as retire old, irrelevant ones. To secure we understand what our clients want, we need to make sure they feel confident in giving us honest feedback and ideas for development. That only comes when the whole organization has a strong client mindset and is aiming to deliver the best possible client experience. 

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

First, for us it is important we work with the right clients and the right requests. When we use our expertise to consult and challenge the incoming requests, we can make sure that we work on profiles where we believe we will be able to deliver on our promise. That is good for us and our clients. 

When we have the right orders, we need to work efficiently on them, and that requires the right balance of quality and speed. Securing good candidate screening at the start will save a lot of time and reduce problems at later stages. We make sure to have resources to support our recruiters to let them focus on the most important tasks. 

The question was about tools but all of the above is equally important: just the right tools will not solve everything. We of course make sure we also have great tools for sourcing candidates, handling the recruitment process and communicating towards both, candidates and client, throughout the recruitment processes.

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?

Very often we believe new technology will solve all our problems, even though we know that rarely happens. I believe many of the buzzwords are here to stay, but they need proper integration and human interaction to do the desired magic. 

Over the past years we have gathered a lot of experience with remote work. Nobody knows whether the metaverse will really become a success and how it will look like. It might just be an evolution of what we already know (-> remote work), more than being a revolution. 

AI and Automation are two examples of technologies I believe are here to stay, and they complement each other. AI will be very helpful to find patterns in applicants and help recruiters secure a relevant short-list faster. But that of course requires relevant and good quality data, so companies first need to secure they have the right data structures to continuously produce more relevant data. Automation comes in first but also as a natural extension of AI. Designing a qualitative and lean recruitment process gives the opportunity to find many process parts to automate. And together with AI, we don’t only secure speed and efficiency, we can also add quality and especially qualitative candidates. And that need is for sure here to stay. 

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?

We have Client Experience as an integral part of our strategy, processes and daily work. As mentioned earlier, this is a cornerstone of our strategy that is very much on the agenda from top management to daily talks with colleagues. 

We have a tool that helps us to get client insights through various different surveys. Some are connected to certain touchpoints and some are sent out twice a year to catch general feedback and overall client experience. We have a best practice system built around this and a performance management system with clear targets on client experience. 

At the end it comes down to culture: the culture we build around being the best possible partner for our clients, candidates and consultants.