How to Run a Successful Recruitment Temp Desk in 2023 (Top Tips Inside)

Every recruiter knows that running a temp desk comes with its set of challenges – it’s extremely fast paced and you need to be on the ball at all times to fill those last-minute vacancies (before your competitors do!). Especially nowadays, when the race for top candidates is fiercer than ever, you need to be properly equipped if you want to get ahead. With the recession on everyone’s minds and the uncertainty ahead making sure your temp processes are watertight is key to success in 2023.

Don’t worry! The Firefish team has got your back. Here are some tips on ensuring you have a top billing temp desk:

Attract the best temps in the market

One of the most crucial parts of attracting talent for your temp roles is having an up-to-date, modern website.  Competition for good temporary roles is tough, so you want to make sure your candidates can find your agency before they find your competitors! Step one - SEO. Your site needs to rank high and be optimized for search engines.

You also need to make sure that your registration process is simple and smooth – there is no point in attracting temps to your website if they are put off by the 60 pages of data they need to fill in! Sure, it might seem like it will save you a lot of time if you have an overly-detailed registration form, but you need to compromise here and remember about your candidates' comfort. A lot of the more specific questions can be covered when you pick up the phone to screen or interview the candidate. Better yet - integrate your website with your CRM. It will speed up the process for applications and registrations and is also better for GDPR compliance as you won’t be storing candidate data in multiple places.

Having a strong candidate portal is another great way of ensuring your application process is simple (and can save you time on admin), as candidates will be able to upload their own compliance documents. After all, who doesn't love to skip some admin work where possible!

Lastly, something that not a lot of recruiters keep in mind – referrals! Some of my top temps used to come from referrals, so ensuring that you have a good referral scheme in place can boost the number of placements you make – and spread the word about what a great recruiter you are in the process. After all, we tend to trust those who speak from experience over those who try to sell to us, right? 

Manage your candidates like a pro

This one is going to be pretty obvious, yet it’s so easy to miss when you’re juggling loads of temps at the same time! But remember, it’s not just quantity, but also quality – so speaking to a huge number of candidates won’t do you any good if you don’t end up placing any of them. Make sure you screen your candidates properly before you interview and represent them.

When managing a busy temp recruitment desk you need to remember to keep them warm: constant communication, checking in through automated emails, SMS messaging, or updates, will ensure you’re the recruiter they’re thinking about.

If you’ve got a great CRM, you can set up targeted job alerts so your candidates are always in the loop when a new role comes in.

Another good practice is to ask for exclusivity from impressive candidates – let them know you’ve got great clients and a steady stream of work, so they don’t have to look elsewhere. Even if they don’t agree, it shows confidence in your own abilities - and you'll never know if you don' try, right?

Lastly, be approachable! Yes, it can be frustrating to hear about problems they’re having if they hate the job, but you want your candidates to feel comfortable talking to you about any issues instead of pulling a disastrous no-show that can damage the relationship with your client.

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Make use of Talent Pools

Working a temp desk is all about efficiency – especially as you’re going head-to-head with other recruiters. You need to make sure you have a workforce that is ready to go at all times. Having a steady set of talent pools to dive into is key to continuing to make placements even when the market gets drier.

If you have a clever CRM, it should allow you to build dynamic talent pools that keep up-to-date and highlight key information about your candidates at a glance. They can also move candidates in and out of the pool automatically, as long as they match the criteria of your talent pool. This will help you recruit faster than your competitors and really give you that edge (and more time on your hands!).

Communicate with your clients

Maintaining good communication with both clients and candidates is essential. Keeping tabs on the progress of your candidate and checking up with the client shows your commitment and provides an opportunity to see if they may have other openings to fill with your candidate.

It is key to contact your client at the end of the temp booking to see if they would like to extend the contract - make this a regular call in your diary. It’s good practice to schedule this at the same time each week. I used to call my clients with temps in every Friday to see if they needed more cover or to extend a current booking, and then again on Monday to double-check everything was running smoothly.

Make fast placements

Some hiring managers will treat a temp job like a perm job and want to follow the same process - but it’s up to you to educate them. Just remember, trust is key here - you can't just argue with your client if they don't see you as the expert in your field yet. You need to be smart about this.

For example, you could push back if clients want to see CVs for a short-term temp booking - let them know how thorough your screening and interview processes are and that you are sending the best candidate for the position. If there is too much back and forth with the client, the candidate will accept another job with your competitor by the time you confirm the booking with them!

Automate your admin

There is no doubt about it - temporary recruitment has a lot of admin involved. There is no getting around it, but that doesn’t mean it has to slow you down. Automating your processes will help speed things up.

If you are manually processing your timesheets, it's high time to get digital! This will save you hours of work and be a much more modern and smooth process for both candidates and clients.

Compliance admin is not the most exciting subject, but it is a very important part of running a successful temp desk. There is no point in making all the placements in the world if you are going to fail an audit!

Your CRM should be working with you to make sure that you can track which compliance documents you need and alert you if any of these documents are missing before you place a candidate. This will ensure you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that you are running a fully compliant desk with nothing that will come back to haunt you.

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Beth Williams

Awesome Aussie Beth is an experienced recruiter and Growth Executive here at Firefish. She has a huge love of the industry and a real passion for helping recruiters to change the way they recruit.

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