Why MSPs Love Crowdstaffing http://www.zenithtalent.com/recruiting-and-staffing-blog/why-msps-love-crowdstaffing @zenithtalentOne theme to unite them all

Right now in the staffing industry, experts are exploring a series of important trends: reliance on predictive analytics, the curation of data-driven decision processes, incorporating new categories of contingent labor into the blended workforce, the emphasis on cultural fit, the relevance of social recruiting and employment branding, and bolstering workplace diversity. Yet, underlying all these trends, we seem to find one predominant theme — transformation. It’s not just that old institutions are crumbling; the rate of decay is increasing exponentially from month to month. Our business world is now moving at the speed of technology, which is to say that it never seems to stop accelerating. To keep up, we must not only embrace change, we must actively transform and evolve. Such is state of agency recruiting.

Breaking out of the mold

Greg Savage, a globally recognized leader in recruitment, sums up the situation without pulling any punches: “The recruitment agency business model is grotesquely dysfunctional. It is broken. Yes. It. Is.” The push to meet time-sensitive metrics and reduce costs has led to a sacrifice in care. And according to Savage, everyone is suffering:

  • “Clients, naively thinking they get a better service because they get agencies to compete, actually get a far worse service because they are actively encouraging recruiters to work on speed, instead of quality.”
  • “Recruiters suffer because even if we want to, we can’t really ‘partner’ or ‘consult’ or ‘value-add’, and in the end we only fill one out of five jobs, if we are lucky, destroying profit in many cases, and the careers of recruiters too, who simply burn out, chasing rainbows.”
  • “And, the often ignored fact, candidates suffer the most because they do not get service or due care from third party recruiters, who are too busy chasing mythical job orders in competition with five other recruiters, to actually focus on the candidates’ needs.”

There’s also a fourth victim not covered in Savage’s list — Managed Service Providers. In enterprise contingent workforce programs, MSPs run the gauntlet between all these other players: frantic clients, embattled staffing partners and their recruiters, and neglected talent. To maintain the necessary momentum, we need to streamline processes through automation while engaging in the personalized interactions that speak to the critical changes occurring in the way newer workers want to be — and expect to be — recruited.

Time enough for love

If there’s a center to the universe of contingent labor programs, it’s the talent themselves. Hiring managers need skilled, quality workers. MSPs and their staffing partners must locate and entice those candidates. And the workers? They’re ignoring traditional job boards and recruiting agencies in larger numbers, citing the desire to feel more like crucial partners and less like commodities.

“The future of recruitment,” Savage writes, “is where art meets science. Where technology combines with highly sophisticated human influencing skills.”

The best candidates are no longer scrambling to fill out tedious online job applications, nor are they reaching out to recruiters. They are now prospected from Internet, Boolean and social searches. Yet, exceptional recruiting requires more than savvy candidate mining skills in research, online search, lead generation and data-analytics. As Savage notes: “Engagement is now a seduction, a romance. It must be tailored to each target recruit, and requires the ability to create interest, to craft a message that will get a response, to qualify prospects.”

Transactions are increasingly performed in the cloud, through open architecture, with emphasis placed on mobility, social networks and big data. However, these technological innovations are designed to foster collaboration, not isolation. So while our talent pools, recruiters and even hiring managers have become more digitized and virtualized as part of the global crowd, they don’t want to be regarded as mere faces in the crowd. As humans, we still long to feel a sense of love and community in our work. And that’s precisely what a Crowdstaffing solution delivers: a highly efficient, infinitely scalable and people-centric staffing solution that has something for everyone to love.

Creating, not competing in, marketspaces

Unlike crowdsourcing, which connects freelancers directly to employers or solicits assistance from a large group of independent recruiters to aid in the hiring of permanent employees, Crowdstaffing focuses on recruiting contingent workers as part of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) program. One of the most interesting aspects of Crowdstaffing is in the very definition of the crowd itself. The model essentially develops two different crowds: recruiting partners and the vast candidate networks they build. By design, a Crowdstaffing solution creates a broad pool of recruiting professionals with general and niche expertise, who can be utilized at any given time to handle programs of any size, volume, complexity or specialized hiring needs.

Rather than having five different staffing firms and their recruiters vying over a single job order, Crowdstaffing facilitates the construction of a private marketplace where recruitment teams continually grow their talent networks and build vast virtual benches of available, deployable, pre-screened and qualified workers. When a job requisition is received, Crowdstaffing recruiters are often in a position to submit the right candidates immediately.

“To this day,” Savage observes, “most recruiters focus on so called ‘active’ candidates, those that come from job boards, or who are already on the database. There is nothing wrong with these candidates per se, except that they represent only a tiny percentage of the available people. What is more, because they are actively job-searching, they will in all likelihood be working with other recruiters already, or possibly well down another recruitment process.”

While Crowdstaffing naturally involves courting active candidates, a more strategic focus is placed on engaging and converting passive talent. Across the entire program, and the entrepreneurial recruitment teams, that translates to an exponentially widening talent marketplace from which to source on demand. Consider how important this is in light of LinkedIn’s 2014 report.


According to these data, the active candidate pool is a narrow 12 percent. Furthering complicating the situation, particularly for MSPs, is what Savage describes as a lack of client commitment to filling positions. In these scenarios, clients subvert the MSP and its staffing partners to fill roles through other channels, such as internal recruiting teams, LinkedIn or other in-house recruitment strategies. Not only do these actions complicate the fulfillment process, they also hinder efforts to ensure compliance, cost containment and rate standardization.

So if we discount the 15 percent of workers not interested in pursuing another opportunity, and place less emphasis on the overly saturated 12 percent of active candidates being fought over, we’re left with a lot of untapped potential — 73 percent of interested workers who probably aren’t being engaged. Crowdstaffing targets and capitalizes on that 73 percent, often without significant competition.

“The skill of bringing top hidden talent, that clients can’t find themselves, to the hiring table. That is the Nirvana we should all be seeking,” Savage writes.

An enriching and more rewarding life for MSPs and recruiters

Because Crowdstaffing concentrates on networking, pipeline creation and crowd development largely among passive candidates, the recruiting professionals attracted to the model — and who thrive it in — are those who embody the fundamental characteristics of the modern staffing expert. They are skilled connectors, community builders, researchers and online socialization masters. Yet they also possess the traditional people skills necessary to engaging and interacting with passive talent. They have an innate predisposition to empathy, quality, service ethics, humanity, trust and humility. They are, at all times, listeners, problem solvers and account managers.

Crowdstaffing recruiters are independent yet fully supported with the tools, training and resources they need to thrive and succeed. The unique profit-sharing compensation provides greater income potential and incentives, which drives quality and commitment.

  • Recruiter partners focus on their core recruitment responsibilities for clients, while the staffing curator covers the administrative and back office tasks.
  • Scalable global teams of recruitment experts ensure constant support for programs of any scope or complexity, even when urgent hiring needs arise. This same structure also allows staffing curators to dedicate teams exclusively to each client.

For recruiters, the model exposes them to unlimited earning potential and ongoing opportunities, while freeing them to live their lives — they can pursue an independent lifestyle while doing what they love, a job that’s more passion than work. The model turns recruiters into entrepreneurs, focused on excellence; they understand that the MSP’s success becomes their success, and they relish the chance to exceed their own goals. This unique approach has proven to deliver higher quality talent, in a shorter timeframe, at lower than average costs.

Quality and compliance — things every MSP loves

The strongest corporate recruiters, through no fault of their own, remain limited in scope because they represent a single organization. Staffing curators develop diverse staffs of internal hiring experts who bring a wealth of past industry and organizational experience to the process. These staffing professionals have worked with a variety of MSPs and hiring managers across industries and job categories, enhancing their knowledge of real-world job needs, position requirements and applications.

And in a Crowdstaffing model, the talent are not freelancers or independent contractors negotiating direct contractual arrangements with the MSP or its client. The staffing curator becomes the W2 employer of record, mitigating the exposure to labor-related risks and legal responsibilities. In this arrangement, an MSP has assurance of compliance with mandated laws and regulations, such as health and safety, workers comp, EEOC, citizenship and work permissions, statutory withholdings, and some degree of indemnity. In open crowdsourcing marketplaces, the platform can’t assign or assume any labor-related compliance responsibilities.

The solution further ensures centralized, streamlined communications for MSPs. The staffing curator manages the relationship and serves as the single point-of-contact for all interactions. Account managers, not rogue groups of independent recruiters, oversee the engagement and resolve all questions or escalations.

Love in the time of change

The workforce marketplace is evolving. The changes are precipitated by factors that include an increase in demand for skilled contingent workers, globalization, diversity, the rise of Big Data and people analytics, and the advent of online recruiting models. The traditional talent channels are becoming less effective, and to meet the demands of a new business era, we must transform. As Savage notes, “Talent is now the new currency of wealth creation. It is what makes companies win or lose in the market.”

Today’s elite staffing curators are creating quality candidates for MSPs, not simply sourcing them. And to do so, they are embracing the advances in new technology platforms and evolutionary recruitment models while keeping the tried-and-true values of humanity, empathy and love at the heart of their interactions. To move forward successfully requires the ability to hold the lessons of the past close.

“We must re-invent and evolve, for sure,” Savage concludes, “but where we are going, if we get it right, is a far richer, more intellectually stimulating future than anything we have seen before.”