Before I worked in staffing I worked in fitness. And fitness and staffing aren’t so different from each other…

  • Both are service based businesses that require great employees to keep customers returning.
  • Both require a staff that not only knows their business, but know how to sell.
  • Although you might have the best location, building, equipment, staffing software, ect; none of them matter unless you have the right people to take care of your customers.
  • Customers in both areas like to deal with people that are happy, knowledgeable and quick to respond.
  • Each offers a service that customers can provide on their own, but choose to outsource it.. so to speak.

Bottom line, who you have on staff, is what matters in a service related business. If you don’t have the right staff, nothing else really matters.

I do think it was easier to hire for fitness trainers and group fitness instructors than internal staffers.  First, they had to be nationally certified.  Second they had to be able to prove they knew how to do the job.  As a trainer they would need to take another staff member through a training session.  If they were a group fitness instructor, they needed to show they knew how to teach a class.  Both positions required an audition.  If the applicant couldn’t show they knew what they were doing, we didn’t move on.

It’s not as easy when you are hiring for an internal position for a staffing service.  Most of the time you don’t have the luxury of applicants who previously worked in staffing (unless you are living in a larger area) or have a national certification.  You really can’t “audition” them, you need to relay on your interview skills and reference checking to get the whole picture.  It took me a few hires (ok quite a few) to figure out what really worked for our office.   I also started to figure out what previous industries made for good staffing specialists.  Some of my very best hires came to me with no previous knowledge of staffing.

Look for people that have worked in other service related industries.  Sounds obvious right?  I’m talking about service industries that employees have to deal with different levels of customers.  Staffing requires the ability to work with both customers and applicants/employees (both are your customers, but different types).  Also find those industries where they had to sell some type of service, idea or concept.

Teachersthey deal with administrators, students and their parents.. perfect!  They are used to high levels of stress, meeting deadlines and dealing with delicate situations.  Teachers are always selling!  They have to sell ideas to their students and get their buy in.  They also have to sell to their parents.  They need to be able to explain why a student needs additional help or why they should be moved into an advanced class.

Administrative Assistants –  In many cases they deal with a demanding boss, who expects perfection.  They know how to schedule, multitask and who they need to go to in order to get things done!  They are networkers who understand the value of knowing people who know other people.

A couple other industries I liked to hire from: hospitality, banking and medical offices.

Earlier I said you can’t audition new staffing specialists, well you can, kind of.  I used to invite people to come in for a working interview.  Things are different on the other side of the desk.  If you ask most people what happens at a staffing service they would probably answer that someone matches up people with jobs.  They don’t think about all the interviews, calls, visits to a client, skills testing, documentation, background checking and everything else it takes to get someone placed.  This job is not for everyone!  By having a prospective employee come in and shadow another employee for a day or two (and yes you need to pay them) it gives them a better idea of what they will be doing and allows them to make a more informed decision if they want to do it.  I’ve had a few people tell me at the end of the first day this isn’t what they expected and didn’t want to come back the second day.  I’ve also had people who thought it was much better than they thought and couldn’t wait to get started.  Either way, it’s a good tool to help find the right people for your office.

Find the right people to hire, make sure you are doing everything to keep the great people you have and move the people that aren’t adding to the team out the door!

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