My first management position in job development (staffing) was for a local agency which placed customer service and call center workers. One of the first projects I had as the new branch manager was to help fill 100 positions we received for a financial firm which was rapidly expanding it’s call center. This was a great opportunity, as the company had many positions ranging from entry level to senior level management.
Our client was very demanding, and expected us to refer lots of qualified clients to their positions quickly. Often times we received an open requisition on a Friday, wanting workers to start Monday. For us to be able to fulfill this need and satisfy the employer, we had to have job matching down to a science. The following are three strategies for successful job matching which will help you place more workers faster, and increase outcomes.
The first and most important step for job matching is to inventory your clients and your job orders. This can be done using as simple a system as a spreadsheet, or with a more advanced CRM based tool such as our workforce development software, WorkSource built on the Salesforce.com platform. The key is to have all of your clients categorized by skills classifications that match with skills your employers are looking for. Typically, I like to categorize using standard skills categories such as customer service, human resources, warehouse, etc. Using the same keywords that employers use are the best way versus using O*Net SOC codes, as many employers don’t use SOC when doing candidate search or posting job openings. If you work with a lot of clients in the professional field then having their resume in a searchable database is absolutely essential. In fact, this has always been the preferred method for job developers I have worked with or trained, as they can do a keyword search on their computer to bring up the resumes, and then call the client to further qualify.
The other half of inventory management is successfully tracking open job orders. Every one-stop center should keep track of all the open and active job orders in a tracking system and on a daily basis update this list. Especially as the economy picks up and more companies begin hiring. The same philosophy applies here, in that you want to categorize all of your positions into job types. Avoid just posting positions you found on job board, in which you don’t have a relationship with the employer. Referring clients to these jobs will only frustrate the client and employer, as you are offering no additional value beyond what they could be doing themselves.
Once you have a good system setup for inventory management, you will now be equipped to do effective skills matching. Skills matching comes down to one very simple process. Searching you available inventory of clients for close matches by skills category. The more senior level the position, the more the skills need to match. In most cases in workforce development, skills matching does not need to be an exact science, in fact, most of your clients are likely to lack some of the education and hard skills required, and will likely have a skills gap. Certifications and training classes help develop the clients competencies, but mean very little to employers, unless you can get that client a face to face interview where they can demonstrate their knowledge and expertise first hand.
Soft Skills Matching
I recommend job developers don’t try to find a “perfect skills match” but rather look for the soft skills that can help them perform the job. For example, if your employer is looking for customer service call center workers, they are likely looking for someone with good communication, general computer skills, teachability and follows instructions. You may run a search in your database for clients that have call center or customer service on the list, but don’t overlook clients without prior skill. Someone who worked retail may be a perfect fit for the position, and just needs training. This is why you need to leverage both technology and personal knowledge for skills matching. I typically would first do a search in my database, and if no one came up I would send an email out to my staff asking them who they knew. With tools like Chatter, our internal social network, job developers can post this question and have case managers immediately reply back with client referrals.
Job matching is probably the most important function of workforce development and one-stop centers. By combining the power of CRM technology with a well trained, collaborative team of case managers and job developers, your common measure outcomes can really go up. Give it a try and see how it works for you. Start with inventorying your clients and job orders and keep it current, then modify your approach to skills matching so you are not being to narrow, and then broaden your search to clients who may be lacking the hard or technical skills, but have the soft skills.
What is your approach to job matching. Please share your thoughts and experience.