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If you work for an IT staffing firm, this probably sounds familiar: 

Is that developer position filled yet? When will the new team be trained, so that – Oh. So no one’s been hired yet? Bummer.

Even in-house recruiting teams need help sourcing great candidates before competitors snapped them up – especially in the high-demand tech scene where passive recruiters often reach out to talented workers before they even start looking at job postings.

Getting on the IT staffing approved vendor list will make your life a lot easier.

Large companies have constant staffing needs, and you have the staff. Get on that list, and then the burden of the research and vetting process will be lifted. Terms and conditions are pre-negotiated, discounted fees and payment terms are already agreed upon, and dedicated account managers are established.

Life gets a lot easier.

Approved vendor lists may seem like a headache to the IT staffing firm that has yet to get their foot in the door with their target companies. But a mile in the other man’s shoes, so to speak, should make it clear why they exist in the first place.

So how can an IT staffing firm get on the list?

1. Be a Different Kind of Recruiter.

The staffing scene is pretty saturated, and recruiters need to be good.

Thousands of recruiters are out there, zeroing in on the same top professionals and the same growing companies. It’s not enough to say you’re the best, that you have more experience, or that you have the right connections. That’s what everyone is saying.

So what’s your real value proposition? What makes your IT staffing firm different or better than your competitors?

Not sure where to start? Take some time to do a real value inventory. Ask your repeat clients why they keep coming back. Ask why they chose you in the first place. For the business you’ve lost, get honest and try to understand the real reasons those clients chose to take their business elsewhere.

Once you have an answer you’re proud of and passionate about, you have to be able to communicate it and prove it. Messaging is important. If your foot in the door to a target client starts with an RFP/RFI, spend some serious time on the content of your answers. Let your message stand out and express your differentiation.

2. Find Your Real Target Market.

Crowding has affected the IT staffing market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t own your expertise. It’s tempting to try and branch out to exaggerate your firm’s capabilities. A stray finance placement, industrial client, or healthcare connection shouldn’t shift your focus or expand your niche. 

Be true to your skills and deepen your expertise to get a laser focus on one area.

Doing this is the only real way to know your target market. When you’re focused on your true capabilities, you know exactly what your target clients need. You know their pains, their challenges, and their threats … which means you are in a position to help them succeed.

Selling yourself as anything else will spread your efforts thin and rule you out of the running to get on the IT staffing approved vendor list.

3. Figure Out Your (Own) Culture.

There’s a lot of buzz in the business world about hiring for culture fit in addition to – or instead of – technical matchmaking.

Valuable insight is in that conversation, and it’s true that most companies require a careful balance of both cultural and technical fit in a successful candidate.

But here’s the interesting part: the culture within your own company is also a valuable differentiator as a vendor. Culture is what sets you apart from another IT staffing firm. And you can make it show through your RFP/RFI responses. 

After all, people build companies. And the more your people are invested in your company, your workplace, and your mission, the higher their performance. The higher their performance, the more valuable they’ll be to your clients.

4. Show Your Relationship Potential.

Recruiting, like dating, follows the account-based movement making its way through sales and marketing methodology: quality far outpaces quantity in the end game.

Relationships in the account-based world must be authentic, and you need to nurture them. Luckily, it doesn’t take an industry behemoth to do that.

Getting on an IT staffing approved vendor list depends upon credibility and relationship potential. It’s doesn’t depend on being a giant in the industry, on having all the connections, or on having a brand everyone recognizes. 

What’s going to convince decision-makers to award you a spot on the preferred vendor list is the relationship you have with your contact or contacts.

Maybe your company is small and local. 

Maybe you’re a one-man shop. 

Maybe you have a remote workforce of recruiters. 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boutique IT staffing firm or a national, multi-office organization, you need to prove your credibility by building key relationships.

Prove that potential, and you’ll get your foot in the door all the faster.

Of course, getting on the preferred staffing vendor list and finding out who to talk to in the first place are two different things.


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About the author

Steven Bryerton

Steven is Vice President of Sales at ZoomInfo. Previously he worked in sales and marketing at IT firms including Cxtec and Orion Systems Integrators.

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