Staffing Insights with IBS AE Paul Ferri

Staffing Insights with IBS AE Paul Ferri

We recently sat down with IBS Account Executive Paul Ferri to discuss the state of the IT staffing industry. With over 7 years’ experience in the field, we talk about his approach to the current market, where the industry is going, and how he builds relationships with current and new clients.

As an AE, what are some of the recent changes you have seen in the IT staffing field?

Paul Ferri: I think the biggest change I’ve seen in recent years is the fact that clients are becoming more restrictive about using vendor lists, and therefore limiting their contact directly with hiring managers. We used to have a lot more access than we do now. Basically we’re seeing a lot more VMS accounts. Or at the very least, we are seeing clients attempting to move to VMS.

What are some of the challenges in working with some of the VMS accounts?

PF: One of challenges that arise when everything is being funneled through a VMS, is that it limits your ability to work directly with hiring managers – it just creates an added layer. And the reality is a lot of the managers we work with, don’t particularly like the VMS’, but are forced to use them in order to fill their reqs.

Does this dynamic complicate things as far as placing candidates? Do end-clients sometimes end up with somebody who’s not quite right for the job?

PF: I think it does. Whenever you work with a VMS, you’re basically limiting the scope of what you can do. Sometimes, for example, you are limited in the number of candidates you can submit within a particular VMS system. You might only get 2 or 3 submittals per position, for instance. The other thing is that it limits the direct feedback from the hiring managers, making it difficult to follow up to see how a consultant is working out.

Are there any other recent changes you’ve noticed in the market outside of VMS?

PF: The biggest change I’ve noticed within the past two years or so, is the rollout of new products on the market related to AI in recruiting. There’s all kinds of new companies out there trying to pitch AI recruiting services. But, quite frankly, I think you cannot remove the human element out of recruiting.

When you have things like resume reading software, or systems that create percentage matches of candidates…when you’re eliminating humans reviewing resumes, discussing background, discussing fit, I think it only creates more problems in the long run.

I’ll give you an example: I have a client who works with a supposedly cutting edge AI recruiting software. To illustrate my point, I asked the manager to apply for his own job through their system. And the AI software came back and said that this particular manager was only a 22% match for his own position! So it illustrated my point that you cannot rely on technology to vet and place people—there has to be a human element. Practically anybody can match skillsets, it’s the easiest thing we do. But matching cultural fits, matching environments—that’s our value add.

What are your clients looking for these days? Any type of specific business solution, employee skillset or job role?

PF: I think in the last year or two we’ve definitely seen more activity in the security space, as data breaches and things of that nature are becoming more common. No company wants to be in the news for a massive data breach, so we’re certainly seeing more investment of the security side.

How do you go about managing client expectations? Is that talent crunch real? And if so, how does that impact how you work with your clients?

The talent shortage is absolutely real, especially in a market like Cincinnati. If you were to look at generic job postings in this area—there are nearly 3000 open IT positions—ranging from CIO to a Help Desk person, and everything else in between.

A couple different things are impacted by that: For one, the leverage shifts to the candidate, in terms of salary requirements etc. In terms of how we manage client expectations: we have to make sure they understand the market and the fact that it’s a highly competitive landscape. Sometimes we have to have a tough conversation with our clients that, quite frankly, they might not be offering a competitive rate for a particular market or position. Basically, we have to do a lot of client educating on the account side of things.

Do you have any predictions for the industry as whole going into 2020?

PF: I think the market is only going to grow. We’re pretty late in 2019 right now, and we’ve gotten a look at some organizations’ upcoming budgets. A lot of our clients have already done their strategic planning for 2020, and we’re seeing increased investments in the IT space.

It’s a huge shift in mentality. 15 or 20 years ago, companies viewed their IT departments as an expense: They have these IT guys, they cost a lot of money, but we have to have them etc. Nowadays, companies are beginning to see the value of a strong IT team strategically, and how it can help them grow the business long-term. So essentially when you shift that mentality and stop viewing IT as an expense, and start looking at IT as asset, it only benefits your business.

That makes sense. I actually saw some statistic recently that said the software industry indirectly supports roughly 14 Million jobs…

PF: Exactly. And what we are starting to see, especially when it comes to the larger organizations, is that a lot of the people at the C-suite level are coming from an IT background; not your traditional finance, accounting or business backgrounds. That’s because IT touches nearly every aspect of your business. Your IT team understands your sales, your marketing, and your process. They understand every single part of your company, regardless of what that company actually is. You could be a hospital system, you could be bank, and it doesn’t matter: IT directly impacts every aspect of your business.

In your view, how does IBS differ from other IT staffing companies?

PF: The biggest differentiator I see is IBS’ long, demonstrated history of success. The unique thing about the IT staffing industry is that there is no barrier to entry. Anybody with a phone, a computer and 100 dollars to file an LLC, can start their own staffing company tomorrow.

So what we’re seeing as a result is the emergence of multiple new staffing companies, even right here in Cincinnati, which leads to increased competition. But I look at this as a positive: Because it gives us a chance to set ourselves apart. If I meet a new client or a potential customer who isn’t entirely familiar with us, then I have an opportunity to tell the story of IBS, and the fact that we have been around for nearly 4 decades. And within the local market, we’ve been working with some our clients for 15 to 20 years. Our clients understand that we’re not just one of these “fly by night” companies being run out of a basement. Our clients understand the value and longevity of what we do.

And on a personal level, as an AE, I benefit from these long term relationships IBS has built. For example, one of the IT directors we work with on a weekly basis, was placed as an IBS contractor 9 years ago in a relatively low level positon. But they’ve managed to climb the ladder of their company to run IT, and they remember that IBS were the people that got them hired. We get to benefit from these long-term relationships, and that’s something you can’t just do if you’ve only been around a year or two.

Another differentiator is how we handle our internal hiring. A lot of these staffing firms are “churn and burn” shops. It’s people working their first job out of college trying out recruiting to see if they like it or not and perhaps move on to something else. IBS’ recruiters, though, are true professionals—this is what they do for a living. As a result, they understand the market and the technologies, throughout the years cultivating deep pipelines of local talent. That’s what sets us apart.

5 Ways to Prepare Applicants for Job Interviews

5 Ways to Prepare Applicants for Job Interviews

To secure more placements, recruiters need to put in the extra work to properly prepare their candidates for the interview process. A perfectly qualified applicant who performs poorly with the hiring manager may get passed over, and your staffing firm will have missed out on a golden opportunity. Below, we lay out a number of ways recruiters can avoid that problem, and effectively prepare their candidates prior to being interviewed. Continue reading “5 Ways to Prepare Applicants for Job Interviews”

Interview with IBS Recruiter Keith McNeal

Interview with IBS Recruiter Keith McNeal

We recently sat down with IBS recruiter Keith McNeal to discuss the state of the staffing business heading into 2019. With 12 years on the job, we talked about where the industry has been, where it’s going and strategies he uses to navigate the competitive field.

Were there in any changes in IT recruiting that you observed in 2018? What caused those changes in your mind?

Keith McNeal: Absolutely. The biggest thing I saw was that our clients are moving toward Contract-to-Hire work, and that there’s way less traditional contract work to go around. This is good for candidates, but is difficult for us as recruiters. Continue reading “Interview with IBS Recruiter Keith McNeal”

Infographic: How Outsourcing Improves Your ROI

Outsourcing, at its core, allows your business’s internal staff to refocus their efforts on other tasks and projects. Whether you’re looking to outsource the development of a new application, or just looking for small team to provide testing, outsourcing will yield a greater return on an investment (ROI) than hiring new team members. Learn more below.  Continue reading “Infographic: How Outsourcing Improves Your ROI”

12 Reasons You Should Consider Outsourcing

12 Reasons You Should Consider Outsourcing
  1. Improved Performance

Having outsourced resources and consultants work alongside your on-site team provides additional support and boosts overall performance.

  1. Enhanced Customer And Client

On-site teams along with the support of outsourced resources can reduce the time for production. Thus, outsourcing reduces the time for deliverables. Quicker deliveries result in improved customer/client satisfaction.

  1. Increased Profits

Lower cost resources lead to reduced operational costs which in turn results in higher profit margins. It is more cost effective to bring on resources as needed than it is to hire a full time employee.

  1. Quality

Reputed outsourcing agencies follow strict guidelines when it comes to quality deliverables. Working with one of these particular vendors assures timely and quality results.

  1. Accessibility

Having a hard time finding skilled resources domestically? You’re not alone. Outsourcing provides you access to skilled resources across the globe.

  1. Availability

In today’s competitive world, downtime is not an option. Outsourcing provides the ability to be available round-the-clock, eliminating any potential downtime.

  1. Globalization

International presence typically involves having physical offices and resources in a foreign country. Working with an outsourcing provider allows you to go global without needing a true presence overseas.

  1. Agility

The market is constantly changing, and requires an agile process to keep up. Outsourcing provides your company with increased agility, allowing you scale resources up and down as needed so you can remain lean and keep up with industry changes.

  1. Office Space

Utilizing offsite resources eliminates the need for additional office space. Your consultants will appreciate the option to work remotely, too.

  1. Improved Resources

Typically, resources and consultants will have worked with a variety of companies on a wide range of projects. They bring a level of technical expertise that your internal might not be able to provide.

  1. Seasonal

Outsourcing is the best option when it comes to procuring resources for seasonal needs. This will save your internal HR and administrative employees a lot of headaches.

  1. Scope of Expansion

The new and growing market sectors provide businesses with the ability to expand their overall scope i.e. make more money! Outsourcing comes in handy when trying to expand and reach new markets.

The State of the IT Staffing Market

The State of the IT Staffing Market

According to the 2018 Staffing Growth Assessment, the IT staffing industry generated roughly 59 Billion dollars back in 2016. The industry is projected to grow by 4% 2018, which would mean more money for everybody, right?

Not exactly. According to SIA the market is becoming increasingly complex and competitive. While it remains true that much of the market is driven by buyer demand for flexibility, scalibilty and reduced risks, the talent required just isn’t available. Skill shortages make it much more difficult for clients to find candidates they need. In addition, digital disruption and transformation has increased the need for more flexible, short term contracts.  Continue reading “The State of the IT Staffing Market”

The Pros and Cons of Contract-to-Hire

The Pros and Cons of Contract-to-Hire

By IBS Recruiter DK Kapani

When investing in something new, you would prefer to “try before you buy,” right? It’d be great to test a new product or a new living situation before we actually have to commit to it. The same is true when you’re checking out a potential workplace. One might argue it’s even more important.

In the workforce, this is what is called a Contract-To-Hire position, and it can be a positive or negative depending on how you look at it. There’s the “not knowing” if you will have a job or not when your contract is up, but also there’s the excitement of working with various people and industries.

There are multiple advantages of having a contract-to-hire (C2H) arrangement:

Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of Contract-to-Hire”