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In a previous article, I covered the steps recruiters can take to improve their performance in markets where vendor management services (VMSs) and managed service providers (MSPs) have a heavy presence.

To examine this concept in further detail, I reached out to

VMS/MSP market. To examine this further, I reached out to Alan Johnson, director of business development at FocusOne Solutions, an MSP based out of Omaha. I wanted to learn from Johnson what he believes makes for a great partnership between recruiters/agencies and MSPs. The following are highlights of our conversation:

Adam Gomez: What makes an agency a good partner?

Alan Johnson: Stronger agencies that work with FocusOne Solutions treat us as a client. They pick up the phone and call us and are focused on building a relationship. They take the time to develop an understanding of what our customers are experiencing and … dedicate more resources to getting to know us and our customers.

AG: What are some of the behaviors that set these strong agencies apart from weaker partners?

AJ: Strong agencies follow through. They get compliance and documents in the Monday before the start date, adhere to the online timecard process, and do what they say they’re going to do.

AG: How do these strong agencies react when a negative situation arises?

AJ: They own it and are able to adapt or adjust. They focus on improvement of both process and execution.

AG: What tips or strategies would you offer to recruiters who are interested in improving their performance with an MSP like your company?

AJ: Great recruiters are detail-oriented. They know everything about a traveler [ed. note — Johnson is referring to a traveling healthcare professional; FocusOne specific serves the healthcare staffing space.]: family, hobbies, where they want to go and why. I can always tell in a very brief conversation with a recruiter just how well they’ve qualified the traveler by the amount they know about the traveler.

Great recruiters are also charismatic. They attract quality candidates. Quite frankly, when you’re a recruiter, I look at you as a representation of the agency’s brand. Quality candidates want to work with a quality brand. Investing in your own brand, being mindful of how you present yourself to candidates and partners — such as an MSP — is important.

My conversation with Johnson was refreshing. Often, I hear only the negative when it comes to working with MSPs. It’s good to know at least one MSP is looking for the same characteristics both agencies and recruiters wish to find in their partners.

My advice, based on this conversation with Johnson, is to pick up the phone and connect with your existing MSPs. Put effort into maintaining these relationships and treat each interaction as you would if it were with a traveler or hospital contact.

In the end, staffing firms and recruiters have much to gain when they take the time to develop meaningful partnerships with their MSPs. Although FocusOne doesn’t represent all of the providers in this space, I think my conversation with Johnson offers some good insights into how powerful a strong partnership can be for all parties involved.

Adam Gomez is the cofounder and chief operating officer at Moxie Mentoring LLC.



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