How technology can drive success for staffing agencies

Business lady smiling at their desktop

Embracing technology in the hiring process isn’t just an unexplored possibility — it’s a reality. Technology is continuing to reshape how we hire, meaning we can source quality candidates, pinpoint skills, and evaluate fit — all within a fully digital landscape.

According to 2023 data by Employ, Inc, 59% of recruiting teams are planning to increase their investment in AI-enabled hiring tools in the coming year, while 43% plan to expand their existing recruitment tech stack. Done well, that investment can pay off, and even become a competitive advantage.

So what types of technology are most useful for recruitment and staffing? And what should you consider before flipping the switch on new tools? Here’s what staffing agencies need to know.

Understanding the role of advanced technology in tech-enabled staffing

Technology isn’t anything new in the staffing sphere, but in recent years, its application, use cases, and how we interact with it have shifted significantly.

Platforms like staffing agency software, sourcing tools, applicant tracking systems, and assessment software have been a staple of every recruiter’s toolkit for a while. But the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence are showing huge promise for staffing agencies to optimize processes and work with greater efficiency and speed.

Machine learning, for example, can help staffing firms find the very best candidates for their clients more quickly. The rise of predictive analytics can help teams forecast hiring needs based on past data, while integrating prescriptive analytics can help optimize recruitment strategy and operations.

But one thing staffing agencies must bear in mind when implementing any tools, AI or not, is that while it’s great for optimizing efficiency and speed, it shouldn’t be used to remove humans from the hiring process entirely. This means that while you can automate processes and implement AI-enabled tools to a certain extent, they should be used to inform a human-first hiring process and decision-making, rather than replace it.

Benefits of tech-enabled staffing

When done well, integrating technology into your hiring process can help your team source the right candidates, qualify them, and streamline your end-to-end recruitment process. That frees you up to focus on the most important part: finding the very best person for the role.

There are five key benefits of implementing tech in your hiring process:

1. Hire better, faster

For staffing firms, time-to-hire is key. But to stand out, you need to be able to place quality candidates, time after time.

The right tech can help staffing agencies source, screen, and qualify thousands of passive and active candidates more efficiently, gaining them access to a global talent pool. For example, skills-matching tools can qualify candidates, while assessment tools can evaluate candidates for skills fit. Plus, when your hire quality and role fit is better, turnover is lower, and employees are more likely to feel motivated to work at their best.

2. Create a better candidate experience

According to 2023 data from SHL, 42% of candidates would turn down an offer due to a bad hiring experience. In the race for talent, a good experience is a competitive advantage.

Poor communication, long hiring cycles, and a lack of feedback consistently rank among the top reasons candidates get cold feet and pull out. Chatbots, automated SMS, generative AI tooling, and email automation provide a scalable way of making sure you’re engaging candidates at key touch points, and nurturing relationships that lead to long-term hires.

3. Streamline repetitive tasks

High volume, manual tasks are a huge time burden for busy recruitment teams. Automation and AI-enabled tooling can take on this task burden, taking on high volume jobs like scheduling interviews, screening resumes, and transcribing interview notes.

Not only does this make for a more efficient end-to-end process for staffing agencies and candidates, it also cuts down on the manual workload, meaning teams can focus on delivering value to customers.

4. Build an error- free, compliant process

Compliance mistakes cost money. But the problem is, manual processes tend to be more error-prone. Making a mistake on one Form I-9, for example, can cost up to $2,789. And if you’re hiring at scale, that avoidable cost could stack up into the millions.

Implementing the right tech here, like WorkBright’s Smart I-9, means teams can use tech to save time and ensure their hiring process stays fully compliant, reducing the risk of being hit by fines. WorkBright’s Smart I-9 embedded mode works natively within your agency’s existing mobile app, creating a fully compliant, fast, and simple onboarding experience that makes high-volume hiring and compliance quicker and more efficient.

5. Use data to impact talent management strategy

The recruitment process should never be a black box. With the right tools, staffing agencies can harness and use their data better, optimizing their talent management strategy, and ultimately serving customers better, too.

With predictive analytics for example, staffing agencies can use past data to predict upcoming hiring trends — such as seasonal changes or sector-specific hiring needs — and use this data to inform better talent management.

Industry-specific applications of tech-enabled staffing

The best technology for your staffing needs will depend on your hiring volume, hiring velocity, and hiring sector. Let’s explore a few examples of how technology can be leveraged across different sectors.

Retail

In retail, seasonal hiring trends, high turnover, and hiring at a moment’s notice can provide a challenge for staffing firms. Implementing predictive analytics can help identify seasonal hiring trends and turnover hotspots — meaning staffing agencies can be proactive when planning hiring cycles. Meanwhile, faster compliance means faster time-to-value for customers, so using technology to onboard at scale is essential. See how WorkBright customer AllWork uses Smart I-9 to increase their onboarding capacity by 350%.

Technology

Engineers, developers, and other technical roles are in high demand — meaning that agencies in this sector have to act quickly to secure and qualify key talent before they’re recruited by someone else. Skills-matching AI can help qualify skills for roles based on specific criteria, such as programming languages. Meanwhile AI assessment platforms can help quickly evaluate candidates’ role suitability, bypassing the need for an in-person task.

Healthcare

Staffing in healthcare requires an eagle eye on skills verification and regulatory requirements. A shortage of qualified professionals also means that speed and efficiency are of the essence when hiring and onboarding new candidates. Streamlined compliance and onboarding processes (like WorkBright’s Smart I-9 verification) mean staffing firms can quickly verify candidate identification and qualifications, and adhere to regulatory requirements while maximizing speed.

Manufacturing

In manufacturing, fluctuations in demand, technical skills gaps, and regulatory requirements around safety can create a unique set of challenges for talent management.

Work in this sector is also often location-dependent, so taking a tech-enabled approach to sourcing and qualifying passive and active candidates in the local area will help staffing firms fulfill customer needs more quickly. Meanwhile, skills-matching AI can help unearth the right technical skills or capabilities.

Building strong relationships with clients and candidates

When staffing teams integrate technology into their recruitment process, improving efficiency and speed are usually a primary focus. As a result, technology’s potential to power up your client and candidate relationships and experience is often overlooked.

A more efficient hiring process means happier clients and candidates. Clients get the position filled with a vetted, qualified employee more quickly, while candidates feel valued and respected by your process. And when both your clients and candidates are happy, that means a greater likelihood of repeat business, word-of-mouth referrals, and a higher lifetime value — it’s a win-win.

Technology can help nurture better candidate and client relationships in a few ways:

  • Improve communication: In hiring, transparency is key. But managing communication between candidates and your customer can quickly become time-consuming — especially if you’re hiring at scale. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can be invaluable on the client side to check in on needs and feedback, while an integrated candidate relationship management platform helps keep candidates in the loop on where they stand.
  • Streamline onboarding: You only get one chance at a good first impression. An efficient onboarding process not only helps streamline essential paperwork for both candidates and clients, but sets your candidates up to deliver value with their organization more quickly.
  • Proactively match candidates to upcoming roles: Having a huge talent pool is great — but it only works if you’re actually engaging with candidates regularly. Predictive analytics can help predict when roles are likely to come up, meaning you can reach out to talent ahead of time to get roles filled before your clients are left with holes in their workforce.
  • Gather feedback on your process: Client and candidate feedback is essential to building a more efficient process. Automating surveys after a round of hiring, or when a candidate accepts a role, helps identify snags in your process that need attention.

Overcoming challenges and ensuring success

Integrating technology into your recruitment process isn’t a case of buying a platform and flipping a switch — it’s a long-term process that requires training, cultural change, and a data-driven mindset.

In the near-term, you’ll need to consider internal training on best practice of using tools — especially any tooling with AI capability — and if applicable, how you talk your approach through with clients. You’ll also need to consider how well tools integrate with their existing systems and processes, how you’ll safeguard data privacy and security, particularly with compliance processes like Form I-9, and the impact this will have on your talent management strategy.

Long-term, getting the best from technology relies on data and monitoring at regular intervals to evaluate whether or not it’s still helping your team meet your goals.

Knowing what these goals are will help build a tech-enabled staffing process that actually optimizes your team’s workload and processes. Taking a product-based mindset about how your tech and processes will serve your end user may help you understand what you’re implementing the technology for, and what you need it to do. Consider:

  • What is the key problem we’re trying to solve?
  • How will we measure the success of this solution?
  • How does this help us serve our clients or candidates better?

Keeping an eye on key metrics including time-to-fill, offer acceptance rate, sourcing effectiveness, and candidate and customer feedback will help staffing firms evaluate their overall performance, and whether or not their tech is helping or hindering that effort.

Ultimately, collecting data across the wider recruitment and talent process, including attrition, onboarding experience, and tenure, will help staffing firms use tech to their best advantage while advancing and optimizing their hiring process.

Powering hiring efficiency and performance with the right technology

For staffing agencies, implementing technology into your hiring workflow not only has the potential to help you optimize your workload for speed and efficiency, but also improve client satisfaction and the candidate experience, too.

Achieving these results depends on implementing the right technology — and getting the right technology depends on knowing what your goals are, what you’re optimizing for, and how you’re going to measure success. Whether you’re trying to streamline processes, speed up time-to-fill, or improve your candidate experience, understanding each step of your clients’ and candidates’ respective journeys with you will help identify where implementing technology could have the most impact.

WorkBright’s suite of tools helps staffing agencies deliver more value across talent management, onboarding, and essential compliance. Our Smart I-9 embeds within your internal onboarding apps, offering a seamless, lightning fast, and error-free way to onboard candidates at scale, while optimizing your efficiency. Find out more, view a demo today.