In today’s world, consumers have come to expect convenience. From food delivery services to retail giants, we can get nearly anything delivered right to our doorstep. However, certain things cannot be replaced by an interactive voice response or a chatbot. If you are anything like me, you’ve felt the frustration of needing to talk to a real human and not being able to bypass AI technology.

This issue is something that staffing leaders everywhere are dealing with. How do we utilize automation and technology solutions without compromising the services we offer? Considering job changes are among the most stressful life events that people face, having a caring team of people to support the talent through it is essential.

Throughout the last decade, thousands of our clients and placed talent have shared with us what they need from their staffing partner. Our responses to that feedback have helped us earn ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing Client and Talent Awards for the last nine consecutive years.

What do candidates care about? They have told us they want responses to questions and issues in a timely manner, open lines of communication, friendly and available staff, easy-to-use payroll and timekeeping systems, and a stress-free onboarding process.

Broadly speaking, the technological advancements of the last decade enable staffing firms to improve the candidate experience by providing a simplified job application process; calendar scheduling tools; a streamlined, digital onboarding process; and user-friendly timekeeping and payroll systems.

Both with technology directly as well as the time freed up by a technology, IDR is ensuring a positive candidate experience by incorporating the following into our practices.

Facts and feelings. One of the most important elements of a successful placement is truly understanding what the candidate cares about and aligning those motivators with the proper opportunity. I like to refer to these as “facts and feelings.” “Facts” include details they can easily find on a job ad, such as location — remote versus in-office — and salary and benefits. Meanwhile, “feelings” are often the elements that truly sway a candidate to one job versus another, like company culture, team dynamic, growth opportunities, work environment and personal connections.

Recruiter training. The second element is training recruiters to view themselves as “career coaches” and not just order takers. Candidates value working with a recruiter who truly cares about their success and provides consultation along the way, from helping the candidate with their résumé, prepping for an interview, weighing out the pros and cons of their various options and ultimately helping a candidate decide what offer to take.

Onboarding. Our biggest differentiator at IDR is what happens after the offer is accepted. Once a contractor accepts an offer, the recruiter passes the baton, putting the talent in the care of the onboarding team, which is meticulous about ensuring that the proper documents have been completed and stepping in with a personal touch should issues arise. Our goal is to make that process as pain-free as possible for the contractor while ensuring we are fulfilling the client’s requirements.

Assignment engagement. Then, our engagement managers act as the main point of contact from the orientation call through the end of the assignment. Engagement managers partner with our account management team to discuss upcoming contract end dates so we can be proactive in getting answers regarding contract extensions or conversions. We believe that if contractors are confident in us to advocate on their behalf as well as keep them in the loop every step of the way, we have a greater chance of retaining and/or re-engaging that individual.

All staffing firms should consistently review their business processes to determine what is and isn’t creating a positive impact in the candidate experience. Regularly surveying your placed talent is an excellent way to understand the gaps that need to be addressed and what your firm is excelling at. Lastly, it’s important to keep an open mind on how new technology solutions can provide a positive impact on your internal staff, your candidates and your clients.