Getting contingent workers into their group is intensely personal for some managers. It's not like they are buying pens or paper. It's somebody who works in their office. And for a certain amount of time, they have to interact with and supervise the contingents working on their product. In a way, it's they may be staking their careers on who these people are and what they deliver. So for starters, maybe you can let the engineering group know that you understand how they feel. That will go a long way in assuaging any concerns they may have.
Individual attitudes notwithstanding, it is a relatively identical process whether someone is sourcing secretaries or engineers. The issue is that there is no secret sauce to engaging temporary labor. Staffing agencies all fish in the same talent pool. A call is made, a requirement is given and the agency tries to find someone to fit that requirement.
What is different from one job order to the next is company culture. Here's how that matters. It might be the culture of company X that an engineer is treated very differently from a marketing professional, so it takes a certain sort of subjective ability to understand what makes an engineer successful at a company versus a marketing professional.
So your first steps should involve communicating with your engineering group. Figure out what the culture of the group is as opposed to the culture of the company. What are their special needs? The most common fallacy that we hear from internal clients when it comes to recruiting contingents is the claim that a particular contingent is the only one who can do XYZ and we need to get him/her on board. That is almost never the case.
We recognize that there are certain nuances within different skill sets that a staffing company needs to understand. I wouldn't go to my clerical staffing firm for an engineer. But if it's an engineering staffing firm, then I would expect a high level of performance from it.
Once you, as CW manager, have a good understanding of your engineering group's needs, approach your vendor. You need to make sure that everyone (the staffing firm and the internal stakeholder) clearly understands what the expectations are. Then sit down with your MSP, master vendor or engineering staffing agency to discuss them. Distinctions between sourcing a marketing candidate and sourcing an engineer aside, the vendor differentiation is very little and there are elements of vendor management that are consistent across all providers regardless of the kind of skill they are dealing with.
Here is a list of actions that you can take to ensure that your engineering group gets the right candidates.
- Make sure there multiple providers that can provide that service or skill set (i.e., do not depend on one engineering staffing firm).
- The contracts need to be consistently drafted. Involve your legal team in the process.
- Be sure your company has clear IP protection.
- Establish a lucid pricing structure and metrics that define success and failure and the consequences for both.
- Maintain a smooth on- and off-boarding process.
- Schedule regular meeting with the group's hiring managers. Understand exactly what you can do, what the expectation is from those managers when it comes to new vendors and existing vendors.
- Feel free to challenge those assumptions.
It's also a good idea keep abreast of trends in the engineering marketplace. You should be well informed about rates and developments in the industry and drive customer satisfaction. I can guarantee that once you follow these steps you will be creating a positive experience for your engineering group.