Use of Staffing Agencies vs. a Managed Service Provider


 Staffing Agencies vs. a Managed Service ProviderThere is a trend in staffing where companies are frequently now outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities.  This is usually referred to as a Management Service Provider.  This approach is used mainly to cut costs and improve operations.  I imagine for most clients, it does just that.  However, my experience when talking to managers nationwide is that it can also affect the quality of the consultants hired through this approach.  It’s even been voiced that many great consultants fall through the cracks through these systems and those managing them.  Over time, I’ve noticed this happens for one large reason.  Those managing these services, or otherwise known as the MSP, are screening candidates that are submitted by multiple agencies.  This may not be the case all the time, but it’s often from what IT Directors are sharing with me.  This means that in many cases, the hiring manager is receiving a short list of candidates to review—this being a short list of multiple resumes submitted that the manager did not choose him/herself.  Not to say the short list of candidates is not qualified; they very well may be and they may be completely fit for the task at hand.  But what about the candidate and the resume that was overlooked for maybe missing one simple skill set on the job description?  What about the candidate that may have worked with the hiring manager from a previous job, or maybe shared a reference together.  These are sometimes the candidates that would be the perfect match both in job history, skill set, and sometimes even personality.

The other issue with the MSP trend is that it often takes the hiring manager’s relationship away that he previously had with a staffing agency.  Or it sometimes prevents what could have been a decade long relationship between agency and hiring manager that would be full of trust and reliability, sometimes even filling jobs on very short notice.

I think staffing agencies get a feel for their managers over the years and not only know what skill set is often more important to the managers, but they know what personalities to match, and they have a great feel for the environment at a client site which always helps match a candidate to a crucial job opening.  I often wonder what the impact is on these hiring managers by maybe missing the almost perfect candidate.  Does it put more unwanted responsibility on the manager?  Does it create more turn over for managers due to a candidate not getting the job done?  Does it at times make the hiring manager not even bother trying to fill a role that results in his current team doing more work than they can handle.  These are all questions that can only be answered by these managers themselves.

So overall, I do understand it’s about cutting expenses.  It’s about improving their operation.  But at what cost to the IT managers and their current workforce needing the solid consultant that a staffing agency can provide through years of working directly with the Directors doing the hiring?  Also, how many consultants are out there unemployed that could have the opportunity of a lifetime if their resume didn’t fall through the cracks?  With these specific clients, I honestly miss the days of building relationships with these managers and truly learning what they need and want and feeling a sense of pride when I know the consultant we provided them directly improved their personal workforce and brought great results.  In conclusion, I think MSPs have their value and I feel many of them honestly do a great job in filling positions.  I enjoy working with many of them and will continue to do so.  But do they find the candidates that can do the job sometimes before a deadline is to be met?  Or do they find the candidate that is so well revered by a manager that they’re given a full time/permanent position that results in them finishing their career with that company?  Getting answers to these questions may be impossible, but it certainly is food for thought.

About Dean Anderson

Dean graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelors Degree in Business/Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Starting his career as a Business Analyst/Metro Reporter for Dun & Bradstreet, Dean changed careers in 1997 and entered the staffing industry via Aerotek/Maxim Group, serving as a technical recruiter with an IT emphasis. He joined EDI Staffing in 1998 as a technical recruiter, and later worked as a Regional Sales Manager, National Account Manager, and his current position of Vice President of Sales.

He has worked in offices for EDI Staffing in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and now in Austin, Texas. For 17 years, Dean helped clients across the nation, staffing IT departments for his clients, covering all IT positions across the spectrum.  Dean’s role as VP of Sales is to build relationships and develop new business with prospective clients across the US while managing our Director’s of Business Development.

Dean takes much pride in building these lifelong relationships with clients and enjoys getting to know each manager he works with both professionally and personally. Outside of work, Dean’s interest are golf, softball, movies, cooking, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, and spending as much time as he can with his family.

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