Tool built to screen IT candidates actually was meant for salespeople

Staffing sales people need TechScreen as much — or more — than recruiters.

When I started TechScreen in 2015, it was meant to scale the process I had been using to screen IT candidates dating back to the late ’90s. Learning how to ask detailed technical questions to developers took a very long time, but I saw the value in being able to determine which candidates were worth the time of hiring managers by grilling them on technical merit.

This applied to whether I worked for an agency or was consulting to software companies. I was motivated to help agency and corporate recruiters by giving them the ability to ask detailed technical questions and keep up with the answer. As we hit the market in 2016, people who saw our tool immediately thought it was meant for recruiters, so we would be directed to the executives who managed them.

The shops that had strong management would enforce utilization to maintain quality, but many more shops left it up to the recruiters to make their own decision to use it to screen candidates. We had two severe examples of this.

In one case, a firm that does in the low 9 figures in revenue had 21 seats and tried us for 3 months. Four recruiters did 20 or more interviews, seven did between 1 and 5 interviews and 10 of them did 0. Another firm who does a significant eight figures in revenue had 12 seats. One person did 54 interviews, one did 2 interviews and 10 of them did 0. Unsurprisingly, both of those clients quietly went away.

There were other shops who used the tool to screen candidates, but they wouldn’t tell their clients this extra level of detailed screening was happening on their behalf. Some were worried about setting an expectation that managers would demand a technical screen report for each candidate. Most of them never involved their sales people in the process, so their teammates had this powerful screening capability but they wouldn’t know to tell their clients that their firm could screen more effectively than their competitors.

This is precisely why we rolled out a program last month that would provide a free license to IT staffing sales people. They are the ones who are asked to build a book of business upon strong trust relationships with hiring managers. It took a few years, but we recently had the epiphany that the tool we built to let recruiters effectively screen IT candidates was actually the silver bullet IT staffing sales people needed to bring an unprecedented level of value to their clients and stand apart from the competition.

We do have other clients who get it and two of them drive significant 9 figures in annual revenue. In one case, our client screened over 5,700 candidates since 2017 and their recruiters have knocked out 53% of them. The other client screened around 4,500 IT candidates since 2016 and their recruiters knocked out 64% of them. That is not a typo; our client knocked out nearly two-thirds of about 4,500 candidates whose resumes resembled the job descriptions.

Perhaps there are staffing sales people who either think they don’t need any help or would prefer to not to have a strong competitive differentiator. We suspect that most of them would love to have one. This is precisely why we adopted our new program: The best way our clients can add value to their customers is having their sales people bring the message to the people with the purse, pain and the empty seats.

Sadly, the majority of end users who rely on staffing firms regard them all to be the same. These buyers with big budgets often lump all staffing firms into one bucket with little to no differentiation. Doing business in normal climates comes with plenty of challenges; doing it during this makes it much worse.

Borrowing the mantra from the movie Jerry Maguire, who begged Cuba Gooding to “help me help you”, we are reaching out to IT staffing sales people to say, “help us give you an unfair competitive advantage”.

#ITstaffing, #recruiting, #TechScreen

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