Scott Wintrip: Hiring Your Way to Greater Success in Staffing

By: Scott Wintrip of Wintrip Consulting Group and author of the forthcoming book High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant, being published by McGraw-Hill.

Everyone knows that hiring can be a stressful and tedious process. Staffing firm leaders all want to choose the best job candidates so their companies can experience more productivity and less turnover. However, most staffing companies operate under a broken hiring system, and they may not even realize it. It’s one of the reasons I wrote my forthcoming book from McGraw-Hill, called High Velocity Hiring. I want to help you improve your internal hiring practices and eliminate hiring delays. Plus, improving how you hire internally has a side-effect—it helps you deliver quality talent to your customers quicker than ever.

In researching the book, I discovered important patterns. These patterns are why some staffing firms (and companies in other lines of work) are more successful than others. One common pattern is that the healthiest organizations are successful because they’ve perfected the art of their internal hiring. Their leaders never complain that hiring is a struggle. Nor will you hear them say that good sales, recruiting, and back office talent are hard to find.

How’ve they done it? They’ve adopted improved, proven hiring strategies.  This includes maintaining a steady flow of talent to fill open job positions immediately and replace underperforming employees quickly. Because their hiring is fast and accurate, they get to focus on their company’s performance instead of managing bad hires or struggling under an increased workload while searching far and wide for the perfect candidate.

What are the proven hiring strategies used by successful firms? Here are five of the most important.

Strategy #1: They line up key people before they need them.

When vital roles, such as recruiters and account managers, are left unfilled, they can harm your company. Plus, the extra work usually falls on your already overflowing plate or on another member of your team. Instead of waiting until an employee in an essential job quits or gives notice to start recruiting, do yourself a favor and recruit ahead of time. Dedicating a small chunk of time each week pays off by creating a pipeline of potential talent ready to be hired the moment that vital job becomes open.

Strategy #2: They embrace experiential interviews.

The standard approach to hiring is to conduct interviews where candidates talk about work. Not only is this a huge drain on time, it’s also an inaccurate way to assess whether a candidate fits your job. That’s why many top staffing leaders have replaced traditional interviews with experiential, or “hands on” interviews.

In a hands-on interview, you experience the candidate doing sample work. If it’s a sales role, the candidate could join you on a sales call. If you’re hiring for a recruiter position, he can help solve a simulated job applicant’s problem. By watching the candidate in action, you save time while also making a more accurate assessment of whether or not someone is a good fit.

Strategy #3: They use a hiring team to avoid making bad hires.

Even the best interviewers in staffing routinely overlook crucial details during the interview process. This may prompt them to hire employees who don’t perform as expected and cripple a branch or the company over time. A hiring team can solve this common problem.

There are four distinct hiring styles. You’re either a Tackler, a Teller, a Tailor, or a Tester. Each hiring style has strengths and blind spots, so it’s important to have people who fit each style on your hiring team. Together you’ll be able to notice any red flags while interviewing job candidates, and can work together to choose the best person for the job. You can download a white paper on these hiring styles by going to the resource section of my website (

Strategy #4: They’re making the most of referrals.

Yes, everyone in staffing knows about referrals. But, ask most people how consistently they’re seeking them for internal roles, and you see lots of red faces.

Consistency is the key. Instead of this being something you know, it’s something you do. Regularly. No matter what. Ask for referrals among all your networks, including vendors, former employees in good standing, present employees, fellow business owners, and friends and family. Investing a few minutes each day in referral recon pays off in dividends. Daily effort makes it part of the routine, versus something you occasionally remember to do.

Strategy #5: They’re networking with a candidate recycling program.

Sharing your talent with other similar companies is the gift that keeps on giving. Including when you share with your competitors.

This strategy, for some, is surprising. And scary. However, it’s why the healthiest companies have more successful. They take smart risks.

How’s it work? With this type of arrangement, companies pass along the talented candidates they can’t use instead of hoarding the talent for themselves. They can set up sharing agreements between competitors, they can agree to “borrow” talent and temporarily loan out individuals to one another, or they can even compensate organizations for locating viable candidates. This form of networking allows the talent to flow efficiently and helps staffing leaders fill jobs in their organizations better and faster.

At the end of the day, your employees—and the work they do—make or break your firm. This is true if you’re big player or small, closely held company. That’s why hiring talent better, faster, and smarter is so crucial for every staffing organization. And for every one of your customers too. When you optimize your hiring strategies, you’ll begin filling open positions more quickly and hiring the right person for the job every time. You’ll have the people you need to help your customers do the same. Both of you win.

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