Home >> Content Tracks >> Content Tracks >> Sales & Recruiting Conference Session Track: Sales & Recruiting Date: Thursday, November 8 Time: 10:45 - 11:45 am From Insight to Action: How to Attract, Land, and Keep Today's Top IT & Engineering Candidates Co-Presenters: Shari Locascio, Director of Consultant Care, Kforce Eric Gregg, CEO, Inavero For the majority of IT/Engineering staffing firms, filling existing job orders has been more difficult than getting new ones, with no end in sight. To succeed in this new normal, staffing executives need to understand what top talent really wants; and how to deliver that at scale. Join Inavero CEO, Eric Gregg and Kforce Director of Consultant Care, Shari Locascio as they connect key consultant trends with actual examples at a top staffing firm in the IT/Engineering space. Connect the theory with the practice and see how an innovative approach to consultant care can accelerate your growth and bolster your margins. This session can also be found in Growing Revenue Date: Thursday, November 8 Time: 1:30 - 2:30 pm and 2:45 - 3:45 pm Winning More Client Meetings - A Road Map to Success Presenter: Andy Gole, Sales Training Consultant, Bombadil LLC Securing that critical first meeting with a new client is a major pain point of Account Executives. This two hour training session presented by proven sales executive, Andy Gole, will give account executives specific tools and the confidence on how to break through and secure that meeting and new business. In the breakout, there will be interactive group exercises that will cover: Creating a realistic target list – 10 powerful ideas to get you started! Developing scripts that overcome the “I’m good” excuse Changing your attitude to build your confidence Developing a plan for when you get in the door Other productive ideas will be presented: How to warm up the prospect - A 3 step technique that works How to close the sale - 2 step technique This will be two fast pace sessions that will give plenty of ideas and actionable takeaways for all that attend. Best pitches will be recognized and rewarded by the group! This session can also be found in Growing Revenue Takeaways from Talent Acquisition Technology: Is it the Cure for What Ails Us? Moderator: Jonathan F. Kestenbaum, Managing Director, Talent Tech Labs Panelists: Joshua Berndt, Director of Enterprise Sales, TextUs Adam Conrad, Chief Experience Officer, Great Recruiters Bill Inman, CEO, Talenting Sam Velu, eTeki Advisory Board Member, eTeki Talk about disruptive technology. When five staffing technology experts got in a room at TechServe 2018 to discuss talent acquisition technology trends, the first order of business was to rule out the possibility that technology is going to take over recruiters’ jobs anytime soon, if at all. Everyone agreed that the staffing industry isn’t going away, but it is changing significantly. Moderator Jonathan Kestenbaum, Managing Director of Talent Tech Labs, advised the audience to stay away from the hyperbole and “get under the covers to see what’s going on” to best leverage technology in recruiting. Jonathan adeptly led four solution providers through a conversation about hot technology topics and trends: Sam Velu, eTeki; Adam Conrad, Great Recruiters; Joshua Berndt, Textus; and Bill Inman, Talenting. With blockchain, automated text, third party interviewing, and recruiting rating services represented, participants got first-hand insights into what’s coming down the road. Here’s a synopsis of some of the more intriguing tips and trends our panelists explored. 1. What is blockchain for talent management? It’s an emerging field, and there’s a lot of confusion, according to Bill. “A few companies are claiming to make blockchain part of their solutions, but there aren’t many live applications yet,” he shared. Talenting’s business model is to provide a decentralized platform where employees and employers opt-in and provide specific experiences and skills, which are validated at multiple touchpoints. Ultimately, the process builds a trusted, robustly certified talent pool. Ultimately, Bill sees the potential for a “career score” similar to a credit/FICO score. He advised members to use the FITS acronym when thinking about blockchain: F – Fraud detection through decentralized verification I – Intermediaries who all contribute to the platform T – Throughput, with a high volume of streamlined transactions S – Stable data, in an “immutable” and distributed environment. 2. How are companies incorporating text into their candidate communications? Joshua said Textus isn’t just providing the technology to enable scheduled texts to candidates, it’s also providing consultancy services. Staffing clients are just starting to dip their toes into the realm of candidate texting, and they’re looking for a lot of help. After all, if you’re just pushing a higher volume of communications out without an integrated strategy, you’re just as likely to annoy candidates as to attract them. Joshua made a point to highlight the necessity to track text activity within your ATS, otherwise you can’t start to develop best practices within your organization. Push templates, sample workflows, analysis of aggregated data—these are all available to clients to navigate the environment. “What we’re seeing is a blended approach that allows recruiters to meet candidates where and when they want to be met,” Joshua noted. He likened the technology options as a buffet that makes the candidate experience better and recruiters more efficient. In particular, he cited the low-hanging fruit of payroll and timesheet reminders as a big value add that carries low risk. 3. How do you deal with fake candidates and bad recruiters? The answer to both questions is similar: third-party validation (echoing themes from the blockchain discussion). Sam shared the power of the eTeki interactive, third-party interviewing platform. Validation of technical skills is done by a third-party experienced IT professional, who completes an unbiased, systematic review process that might include live coding, as well as a video interview snippet for the end client. Candidates love it, because they’re talking to someone who lives in their world and truly gets them. Recruiters love it because it makes them look good with clients. “Your reputation with hiring managers goes up because you’re not submitting people who aren’t technically qualified,” he noted. That’s particularly helpful for junior recruiters who may not be fully up to speed, which can frustrate both clients and candidates. It also helps tackle the challenge of fake resumes and proxies, especially in an environment when visa regulations are tightening. So that tackles bad candidates, but what about bad recruiters? It’s a two-way street with solutions from Great Recruiters. Candidates now have the ability to rate whether a recruiter set expectations properly or didn’t know the difference between front-end work and mid-stack specialization. Adam said, “The biggest issue for recruiters is differentiating and getting people to call them back.” Because anyone with in-demand skills is being bombarded, you have to focus on candidate experience. Giving candidates the ability to objectively rate their recruiting experience makes them feel engaged, and it may also reinforce positive behaviors within your team. Jonathan guided the conversation to explore the difference between artificial intelligence and intelligent workflows. He also noted that many staffing companies blame technology when it doesn’t deliver to their expectations, but they often fail to deal with people and process changes. He closed with the advice to “Never let technology get ahead of your business processes. If the process is broken, technology isn’t going to help.” Date: Friday, November 9 Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Recruit Generation Z: Proven Tactics to Connect and Engage Gen Z Talent Presenter: Ryan Jenkins, Author and Generational Expert Generation Z is pouring into the workforce. They have an entirely different approach to working, learning, communicating and using technology than previous generations (even the Millennials). Growing up enabled and empowered by a tech-heavy and digital world, Generation Z has new strengths, weaknesses, needs, and wants. Ryan Jenkins, author of the book, The Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work, will provide attendees with an understanding of Generation Z and how best connect, recruit and engage this unprecedented generation. Participants will gain: Insights into Generation Z values, behaviors, motivators and expectations and how Generation Z is different from Millennials Perspectives of the unique communication, technology and work preferences of Generation Z Strategies that are proven and actionable to recruit and engage Generation Z Techniques for communicating and connecting with Generation Z Best-in-class examples of organizations successfully recruiting Generation Z Recruiting & Sales Workshops also offered. Please see workshops for more information. Workshops are offered at no additional cost. Workshops require pre registration and seating is limited. Workshops are offered at no additional cost. Takeaways from Scarcity as Opportunity: Innovative Solutions and Recruiting Strategies Tackling the IT Talent Shortage Moderator: Vikki Whitefoot, Senior Manager, LRS Consulting Services Panelists: Michael Winwood, Chief Executive Officer, Optomi Professional Services Brian Wallins, Senior Research Analyst, Staffing Industry Analysts Tyler West, EVP, Strategy and Innovation, Smoothstack Interest was high for this session moderated by Vikki Whitefoot, Senior Manager, LRS Consulting. The panel discussion centered on two firms’ efforts to go beyond traditional and transactional recruiting tactics to develop a fresh talent source. There to provide valuable context was Brian Wallins, Senior Research Analyst, Staffing Industry Analysts. “We’re at 2.2% IT unemployment. The problem’s not just the quantity of talent; you also have to consider the quality,” he said. As the pace of technology changes, clients just can’t find individuals with the requisite skills (the old ten years’ experience for a tool that’s only existed for five years dilemma). Brian also passed along some practical strategies for staffing firms to outpace the talent shortage: Communicate consistently with clients about bill rate trends to accelerate the approval process. He noted that he’s seeing a trend towards clients moving faster due to missing out on talent. Take advantage of technology. Make sure your job postings comply with Google standards, and introduce tools to optimize your search capacity within your own database—a source that’s often underutilized. Specialize, specialize, specialize. It could be in a specific industry, occupation, or even geography. Consider strategic acquisitions to get there faster. Layer in SOW services. Clients are often more interested in outcomes than simply resourcing projects. Explore a residual referral program. Rather than a flat referral fee, consider paying referring consultants $1 more an hour for each referred hour of work. Vikki guided the conversation through a series of questions posed to Michael Winwood, Chief Executive Officer, Optomi Professional Services, and Tyler West, EVP, Strategy and Innovation, Smoothstack. Here’s a snapshot of the most compelling topics they hit upon. Michael presented his firm’s unique rural talent development model in Thursday’s Impact Talks, and he explored the impetus behind the strategy in more detail. To refresh your memory, Optomi and its sister firm, Provalus, made a huge investment in the small town of Brewton, Alabama, to train workers in emerging and legacy technologies used by their clients. Through a progressive partnership with the city and state, they are on track to hire more than 300 individuals and build a state-of-the-art facility to house them. Tyler shared Smoothstack’s business model, which focuses on two different candidate sources: university students with a computer science degree and transitioning veterans. The company customizes a 12-week training program around specific client demands and agile methodology. Graduates gain the equivalent of 1-2 years’ on-the-job-training and are placed with clients eager for their targeted experience. Vikki: How do you structure the new recruiting landscape so that people want to stay in the industry? Michael: The days of the generic IT recruiter are gone. I believe passionately in skill set specialization. You need to establish a program where entry-level recruiters can taste success and be great at recruiting for those specific skills. Ultimately, they’ll evolve their sophistication levels. Tyler: Intelligent conversations go a long way with candidates. If you specialize, take ownership of your career, and remain intellectually curious, candidates won’t make claims about irrelevant job outreach. Vikki: How did you convince your Board to invest in this unproven model? Michael: I wouldn’t say the Board was thrilled. There was a lot of perceived risk, but we convinced them begrudgingly. We did use the Amazon example. It’s all about adaptability, flexibility, and taking a calculated business risk when you see the right data. We’re about to enter into a period of disruption. You have to figure out how to be different, you can’t just sit here complaining about a supply issue. Do something, don’t just stick with the status quo. Tyler: You have to listen to your clients and understand their top initiatives to get creative and deliver something different. If you’re selling on price, margins are small. It’s easy to keep doing what you’re doing, but then one day you look up and you’re falling behind. Vikki: Do your clients want to hire your program graduates? Michael: Yes, that’s why we chose Brewton – there’s no one else there, not a lot of competition! It’s an educational process to explain why clients can’t hire on our talent, that the benefits they accrue depend on the business model. As staffing firms, we seem to fall at the first hurdle in any negotiation. You have to have a different mindset. Vikki: Are clients willing to hire candidates who don’t have much experience? Brian: The shortage is only going to get worse over time. Job growth is outpacing computer science graduates, so these firms are providing a source of talent with valuable hands-on experience. Tyler: Computer science graduates are highly sought after, but that’s true for the top 25 universities and less so for mid-tier and rural graduates. It’s not like we’re going to Harvard Law School and saying, ‘We’ll help you place your lawyers.’ That’s why we look for the baseline degree, but then we’re taking what they’ve learned and making it relevant to the workforce. That’s what we’re talking to clients about. Michael: We need multiple angles of attack to this problem. That’s why we talk to people of all ages and also target veterans. Vikki: What’s the selling process like? Tyler: You have to have access to the client’s human capital plan for the year. Most deals die on the desk of CFO or procurement. You might get the CIO bought in, but they don’t have the budget if the CFO hasn’t vetted it. You have to understand their opex and capex strategies to understand which way they lean and adjust your sale accordingly. Michael: It’s an emotional sell. The critical part in getting buy-in is getting clients to Brewton. I’d say 85% who’ve visited have bought from us. Vikki: Is it difficult to match up client needs with training programs? Michael:That’s our biggest challenge—aligning our program with client demand so we have the right skills at the right time. Tyler: We have clients asking us ‘Can you do this, can you do that?’ Of course, but we have to figure out a plan because we have to have the right resources in place. We don’t want to sign up for something we can’t deliver on. Takeaways from The New Normal: Strategies for Successfully Placing H-1Bs in Today's Environment Presenter: Michael F. Hammond, Attorney, Hammond Law Group, LLC Michael Hammond, Attorney at Hammond Law Group, came prepared with facts and figures for his breakout session on H-1B recruiting strategies. Denial rates are up 30% in just one quarter, with now more than 20% of cases being denied. Requests for evidence (RFEs) are skyrocketing, to an estimate of near 90%. In other words, despite no actual statute changes—only differences in interpretation—the situation is getting exponentially harder for staffing firms placing H-1Bs with clients. But you didn’t have to tell anyone sitting in the room that; they’re fully aware that the time, cost, and hassles of managing this workforce resource have exploded. Proposed regulations to redefine specialty occupations and employee-employer relationships under the Buy American Hire American executive order threaten to make the situation even worse. However, “They’ve had trouble writing new regulations,” Mike shared. “I’m not completely convinced it’s going to come out as expected.” Mike delivered a lot of bang for the buck in his session, giving attendees some practical advice on strategies to make their lives easier. Here’s ten quick tips he shared (there’s dozens more where these came from): 1. Make sure your H-1 employees know they work for you, not for your client. 2. Ask your clients upfront about their policies on submitting end client letters. 3. Write the letters yourself and hand them to your client to sign. 4. If you have H-4s on billing, start looking at caps early to see if anyone qualifies for an H-1. 5. Combine amendments and extensions in the same filing to save money. 6. Audit your STEM OPT programs regularly. 7. Make friends with people who will write expert letters to avoid paying for them. 8. Carefully evaluate your job codes to use more favorable options. 9. Do a better job of saying no, or at least weigh the costs and benefits of risky cases. 10. Have a backup plan for denials, with both your candidates and clients. These tips are gained from working on thousands of applications and cases, and from in-depth knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment. To that end, Mike strongly encouraged TechServe members to get involved with Lobby Day. “Lobby Day is laying the groundwork for important issues,” he shared. “Get involved.” Date: Friday, November 9 Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm Breaking Through: Overcoming the Barriers to Closing Business Co-presenters: Jason Clayton, Vice President Professional Services, KnowIT Solutions Sean Gilligan, Harvey Nash President, Technology Recruitment - North America If you are like most firms, your sales team struggles to break through the numerous barriers to closing new business in a crowded and highly competitive marketplace. During this session, two staffing industry veterans will share their strategies and tactics on how overcome the recurring obstacles to developing new accounts and closing deals. You will learn how to find new business within existing accounts, leverage your broader network, and secure client agreements that give you the ever critical ‘license to hunt’. The session leaders will share key ‘take-aways’ that you can immediately put into action to expand your client base and drive top and bottom-line growth. This session can also be found in Growing Revenue Join us in welcoming CEIPAL as a Diamond Sponsor for the 2020 TechServe Connect Virtual Event!