Staffing World 2014 Takeaways

We thought Staffing World 2014 was awesome! We attended as many sessions--and talked to as many people--as we could, just so we could bring it all back to you!

Here are a few of our takeaways:

David - CEO

Mastering Rockefeller Habits — Kevin Lawrence

  • Success in business is 1% vision and 99% alignment.
  • Successful companies balance four pillars:
    • People
    • Strategy (planning)
    • Execution (implementation)
    • Cash
  • People issues
    • Only 6% of business problems are people. 94% are systems.
    • Every goal and every role needs ONE person who is accountable.
    • Forget org charts; instead create a process accountability chart that shows the top 4-to-9 processes in your company that add the most value and who owns those processes. Define the KPIs that will tell you if each process is going well.
  • Strategy 101
    • Implement Verne Harnish's one-page strategic plan.
    • Define your company's "sweet spot"--the intersection of customer needs and your core capabilities that are outside of your competitor's offerings.
    • The biggest strategy mistake you can make is to follow your competitors. That results in commodity hell.
    • Strategy is about choosing what to be the best at...and what NOT to be the best at.
  • Cash management
    • Your goal is to accelerate cash into your business.
    • Review sales cycle + production cycle + delivery cycle + billing and payment cycle.
  • Key habits
    • daily huddle (10 - 15 minute meeting to review priorities)
    • data - regularly reviewed KPIs (future looking metrics)
    • discipline - staying focused on top priorities, not tolerating excuses
  • The job of a leader
    • Create more leaders!
    • Double the organization's capabilities every 3-to-5 years.


  1. For trade show success, start early.
    • The earlier you can engage with attendees in a meaningful way, the better your results will be.
  2. Owner-to-owner client conversations are invaluable.
    • As you grow, company leaders tend to get further and further removed from customers.
    • When senior executives make time for direct client interaction, you'll get exceptional feedback and strategic insight.
  3. Recruiting challenges are pervasive again throughout the industry. To fill more job orders:
    • Improve recruiting reach - get your openings to more people, faster.
    • Leverage more tools - job boards, social media and your company website.
    • Build referral networks - with your candidates, local referral sources and even your clients.
    • Nurture candidate relationships to boost referrals and reactivate former candidates.
    • Be proactive about placing candidates on their next assignments to maximize retention.
    • Get more job orders! When recruiting is hard, make sure you have a home for every candidate.

Matt - Director of Marketing

Running at Full Power — Maximize Your Company's Success - Geoff Smart and Alan Foster

  • When writing a job description, be as specific as possible: "From X to Y by Z," where X is your starting point, Y is the goal, and Z is the time frame. For example "increase revenue from $100,000 to $125,000 by the end of Q4 2015."
  • When interviewing, if you are having trouble getting a candidate to give a meaningful weakness, ask them what they have improved on over the last five years.
  • Don't ask hypothetical questions; you get hypothetical answers.

Back to the Future — Recruiting Over the Next 10 Years - Greg Doersching

  • LinkedIn is not a resume database, it gives you search results based on your connections. To use LinkedIn to effectively find candidates, target specific competitors that you know your clients would be excited to see candidates from, and next target specific job titles inside that company.
  • Formalize your weekly updates and send clients a status update on all open searches. It shows the history of the search, can get a slow-moving client moving, and documents you as the person of record for candidates included in your update.
  • Debrief your clients and candidates after every interview.
  • After sending resumes to a client, send an email invite to review them within the next 24 hours.

When the Price is Right - Colin Jasper

  • Clients will almost always push back on price, be ready for it and don't get upset about it when they do. Cost plus, market (price based on your competitor's prices), and value (price based on perceived value) pricing are all important aspects of your pricing strategy.
  • Your clients become less price sensitive when you get them to focus on what is at stake.
  • Your clients want to have options. Give them options to change the decision from "Should I use you?" to "What option should I choose?" Most often, they'll choose the middle option, so make that one your most desirable outcome.

How to Handle Those Hard to Fill Positions - Greg Palmer, Patrick Beharelle, Dan Campbell, David Coryer, and Claudette Cunitz

  • In hard-to-fill positions, your clients need to be responsive to get candidates. In some markets the shelf life for engineers is three days.
  • ASA has created a skills gap index. If you are a member of ASA, use this index to target prospects in your area who may be having trouble hiring. You can also use it to skill market.
  • With the difficulties in hiring because of the skills gap, try to educate your clients that it's not about checking off every box in the necessary experience section of the job description. Get them to focus on employees who have the skills and personal traits to excel in the job and can be trained on the specific job functions.

Ryan - Marketing Consultant

Make the Impossible Possible — The Art of Leadership - Bill Strickland

  • Staffing may be going through a secular shift. Penetration rate was two percent of employment in 2000, and is 2.1 percent in 2014 -- so it hasn't changed much. And it's been cyclical with recession ups and downs throughout. But many believe it can go to five percent or even 10percent, regardless of the economic tides. Staffing put 11 million people to work last year.
  • Look like the solution - environment drives performance.

Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You Inc. - Simon T. Bailey

  • Hire for attitude, train for success.

Kaitlin - Director of Interactive Design

Marketing and Brand Awareness Starts with your Sales Team - Chris Cosmos, and Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You Inc. - Simon T. Bailey

  • Build relationships, not transactions. Make connections and build relationships, and create memorable moments with the people you interact with. Strong relationships and powerful moments help to keep you top of mind with your clients and candidates.

The Hottest Technology Upgrades for 2014 That Will Move Your Business - James A. Essey, Hope Bradford, Kevin Delaski, and Tom Erb

  • There are a lot of new technologies emerging that focus on making internal business processes and workflows more efficient, from candidate video showcases to mobile sales apps. Figure out how to integrate these to improve and differentiate your service experience.

Brad - Director of SEO & Social Media

Management Mindshare Collaborative Learning Symposium

  • Build your network.
    • Adjust your offline processes to help build your online following. In your candidate interview process, ask people to pull out their smart phone and follow you on Facebook for advance notice of top job opportunities. Some firms will even have a kiosk in their waiting rooms to encourage follows.
    • Export your candidate list from your ATS and send invites to follow you on social networks.
    • Get in the habit of connecting with everyone you speak with - right after you talk with them.
    • Don't be too proud to pay for friends! Paid "likes" can be very powerful and relatively inexpensive. The key though is to choose your audience wisely. Don't just try to use paid ads to get just any followers, hone in on your exact target audience.
  • Listen Intently.
    • Social media is a two-way communication channel and your online reputation can have a big impact on your search engine rankings too.
    • Set up alerts using sites like and to hear when someone mentions your company name, your name, or a competitor's name online.
    • Stay tuned to social review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook and more.
    • Don't ignore Indeed and Glassdoor. They both have review areas that job seekers and former employees can use to leave feedback. When trying to recruit, these can be very influential (in both a good and bad way). Be sure to review those sites and look for ways to improve your brand image with potential employees.
    • Stop lying to candidates. How many times have you (or someone in your company), told a candidate you would call them if a job that matches their skills becomes available--even though you know you'll never be able to place them? Many recruiters do this because they don't want to hurt the candidate's feelings. Telling someone you simply can't place them is a hard conversation but it's one that needs to happen. If you really can't place someone, tell them and be honest. Tell them why and what they can do to become more placeable. The number one complaint about staffing companies from candidates is lack of communication. You can eliminate many of these issues, and actually improve the candidate experience, if you would just be honest.

Paula - Director of Marketing Education

Be more Social!

  • Just having social media profiles isn't enough.
  • Social media is about the relationship.
  • Facilitate and nurture on social media.
    • Set a schedule, and stick to it! Delegate if needed.
    • Generate content.
    • Interact with your followers.
    • Address their question or concerns.
    • Monitor your audience, tailor your content to them.

If you'd like the full Staffing World recap, sign up for our free Staffing World 2014 Recap Lunch with Haley webinar.

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Reprinted with permission courtesy of
Haley Marketing Group