My partner Jason Lammers and I have decades of experience in IT staffing and recruitment, including many years spent at a Fortune 500 staffing provider.
This puts us in a unique position to compare the experience and, most importantly, client benefits of a small, boutique IT staffing firm like Align Workforce Solutions versus what you would gain by working with a larger firm (you know the type I’m referring to…
So, which provides the better client experience and value, and why?
IT Staffing Providers: Bigger isn’t Better
I’ve distilled our thinking down to these top six reasons why it’s better to work with a small, boutique IT staffing firm like Align, versus one of the bigger players.
Constant Cold-calling is not Part of Our Approach
Larger staffing firms (for all sectors but particularly for IT, due to the project-driven nature of the business) rely on a quota-driven, numbers-based approach. While this proven recipe can be successful, it’s not particularly pleasant to be on the receiving end of so many frequent “cold” or “warm” calls, and it leads to high turnover of clients and recruiters. At large staffing firms, sales and recruitment teams have a strict number of “phone connects” they must crank through each day. This mechanical approach usually comes across as pushy rather than helpful, as recruiters simply work their way down a long list until they get to you. This is how it feels to be treated like a number.
By contrast, boutique staffing firms like Align build long-term relationships with clients and work toward becoming a trusted resource that can be turned to over and over, the same way a good realtor does, for example. We get to know the clients we work with as well as the jobseekers we place. We’re not just meeting a call quota. We are long-term, relationship-based. We also leverage technology tools in a way most large companies can’t…meaning, they need a cookie cutter method that works across multiple sectors. Our tools drill down to the micro-level and produce pin-point results that are spot on with your needs.
More IT Sector Recruitment Experience
The recruiters at a boutique firm are almost universally more experienced. When you engage in a job search with Align, for example, we bring decades of IT staffing experience that helps identifying quickly and efficiently high-quality skilled IT staff. You can’t just source a bi-lingual highly skilled Data Scientist from a niche industry without having learned some of the tricks of the trade. Knowing the latest trends in their field, market worth, and overall demand for their skills is key.
In addition, when you work with a boutique staffing agency, you often deal directly with the owners or founders, not a junior recruiter who is new to the ropes. We care deeply about our clients because it is our company; we aren’t just employees. As such, we are more vested in delivering a high-quality experience to our clients (and making them repeat clients). Experience leads to better speed, accuracy and quality, as you work with the same seasoned recruiter throughout the relationship.
A Wider Array of Talented Options
Many large staffing firms work strictly with the limited concept of placing a single individual or “today’s available candidate” with their clients, doing so in a pushy (some would say downright aggressive), one-sided way. Recruiters from big firms do this in order to hit their weekly quota. In other words, the needs of the staffing firm to move a job-seeker off their list and onto a client’s payroll outweigh the true needs of the client. If you’re so busy pushing and selling, how can you listen?
With a boutique firm like Align, however, we typically offer our clients multiple options for an opening. We provide multiple candidates for consideration on every search we conduct. We aren’t just trying to clear our human inventory quickly so we can move on.
No High-Pressure Sales
Life has enough pressures without more being added by a provider whose sole purpose is to help companies and hiring managers fill positions. The best boutique firms take the time to get to know their clients personally, to understand their needs and to truly be available as a resource, whenever needed, not just when it’s time to fill an open position. We don’t focus our time and efforts on trying to persuade our clients to take a candidate who just happened to fall into our laps.
More Repeat Business: A Win-Win
Because boutique staffing firms are set up to think and act over the long-term, they focus on repeat business as a core strategy. Have you ever compared the experience of a provider that focuses on building relationships versus a transactional salesperson who just wants to close a deal as quickly as possible?
We want our clients to want to work with us again and again. All our interactions and customer touchpoints (by phone, email, in person) support that goal and our entire team acts accordingly.
We Specialize in what we are good at – IT and MarTech
To grow, satisfy shareholders and support a costly corporate structure, the large staffing companies all have multiple divisions. They don’t just place developers, help desk professionals and mobile app developers. They place almost anything else you can think of. Do you think they can have specialist knowledge in all of those areas?
Boutique staffing firms focus on the sectors they know. For Align, it’s IT and MarTech. This is where we have years of experience, contacts and know-how. This singularity of focus enables us to cover this growing sector broadly and deeply – from help desk to blockchain; from entry level to CIO.
Finally, and this may be more of a personal preference, we’re a lot more fun than the big corporate staffing providers. I won’t speak for other boutique IT staffing companies, but the Align team is more down-to-earth and empowered to proactively find creative solutions to fill IT openings for clients to support their growth.