What a time-honored holiday tradition and staffing have in common

By now, a couple months have passed since Easter, but I want to share what occurred to me while watching my child participate in my neighborhood’s Easter egg hunt this year.

Watching the event is always a fun exercise in observing human behavior. When I am not getting upset when some other kid pushes mine — or even worse, another parent doing so — it is interesting to observe the kids’ strategy — or lack thereof. This year, I noted many similarities to the staffing industry.


Little kids often try to grab as many eggs as possible, but as they reach for more, they drop a few they already have because they just can’t possibly hold that many at one time. Then some other kid comes by and scoops up the ones they dropped.

How many clients have you lost because your focus was not on them, but on landing another sale? Most of you have weekly sales meetings where the theme is grow, grow and grow, but how are you trying to achieve that? Are you so busy looking for more customers that you miss opportunities to grow your current ones? Are you spending time cultivating the current relationships and looking for ways to add value to them? And I don’t mean what you think is valuable, but what they do. We recently cut seven suppliers from our program in our efforts to optimize our list. The ones we cut just didn’t put in the time as others and now their placements are for others to scoop up.

All That Glitters

Oh, the allure of those brightly colored eggs that are right in the open. You can’t take your eyes off of them and you want everyone to see all of the colorful and shiny eggs you got. Until you open them up to find a note that says “Have a great day!” or one jelly bean.

That’s a minor disappointment for a kid, but in staffing, it usually means that you have spent a lot of your time and resources for a client that is really not going to pay off.

As a former agency recruiter myself, I know how this feels. I still remember those wonderful time-wasting clients that sales would bring back. Or the bigname client that treated us poorly, or those client relationships where the effort was not worth the payoff. Maybe there is a reason those kids are running past all the easy-to-get and pretty eggs. Are there customers that you need to walk past?

Hard Work Pays Off

Alternatively, there are the kids who run past all the obvious eggs to look for ones that are better hidden. The payoff is usually worth it — those eggs have the good candy or even better — cash!

I have been encouraged lately by some of my current suppliers — the effort they have put in, the questions they are asking, the ways they are trying to add value to our program. Many have persevered over the last year as we have made many changes to our program.

They have hung in there and showed us they were in it for the long haul. Their main focus has been on cultivating the relationship and learning what we really need rather than focusing on just making a placement. They are now reaping the rewards of that focus, getting multiple placements and being looked at as go-to suppliers for our program.

While Easter egg hunting is over for the year, hunting for staffing firms never ends. I hope you find my advice eggscellent (sorry) and wish you happy hunting!