What to do with COVID-19 Downtime

What to do with COVID-19 Downtime

Formerly busy streets have been deserted, conference rooms remain empty, and workers all across America continue to adjust to a different kind of business day. There’s absolutely no question that the novel coronavirus has changed the world as we once knew completely upside-down.

After more than 50 days of self-isolation and social distancing, several states have begun lifting their shelter-in-place orders and rolling out individual plans to reopen their economies. Although the strategies seem to change daily, it appears that many will unfold in phases, which means it still could be months before we see any semblance of normalcy.

If COVID-19 has negatively impacted your staffing agency, know that you are certainly not alone. Sadly, many companies (both large and small) have had to furlough employees while others have lost significant contracts. We recognize that your calendar may have a lot more free space than it had only a matter of weeks ago, so we’ve compiled a list of activities that you can work on now to endure this period of uncertainty:

Personal Branding & Networking

  • Improve your LinkedIn Profile – Often, the professional networking platform is the first place people visit when looking for talent or searching for a new job opportunity. Increase your chances of being found by the right person by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
  • Participate in networking – There may not be many in-person networking events happening given the nature of the situation, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with others. Look to LinkedIn and other social networks to grow your network.
  • Author a personal blog – There are dozens of benefits to creating a personal brand, including earning trust, gaining authority and developing an “always-on” funnel of opportunities. Spend this extra time by building your voice and showcasing your expertise on a personal blog.
  • Explore other marketing channels – Anyone marketing a business in today’s digital world knows that marketing plans are always evolving. If you’ve been hoping to add another channel to your strategy, such as creating a podcast or developing videos, there’s never been a better chance to get your feet wet.
  • Reach out to clients, candidates and contracts to check-in – Chances are you are not the only one in your network feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus. Take a moment to check in with all of your contacts to see how everything is going. Remember to keep the current economic state top of mind, by focusing on providing helpful resources rather than selling.
  • Participate in outreach to thought leaders and authorities – Right now, it seems everyone is determined to help out during this time of need. Consider reaching out to thought leaders and other authority figures to learn more about their current take on the industry and any other feedback they may have garnered during this unpredictable time.


  • Focus on community development – Times of crisis hold the most opportunity to make direct connections in your community. If there is a certain area that holds a special place in your heart, volunteer to lend a helping hand during this time of need. If you are one of the lucky few who has not lost business due to the pandemic, you may want to consider participating in charitable giving.
  • Create COVID-19 resources – After connecting with clients and candidates, you will likely notice patterns in their situations. Use these insights to develop COVID-19 specific guides or other practical resources to help others navigate through this challenging period. After all, too much information doesn’t exist in a time like now.
  • Create a scholarship program – What better way to support your community than by helping a deserving student offset the cost of higher education? Here’s what you need to think about when starting a program.


  • Clean up your ATS/CRM – Isn’t CRM/ATS management just one of those tasks that always falls to the bottom of the priority list? Now, there are no excuses. Take some to review your database by updating contact information and changing the status of your applicants. Your future self will thank you!
  • Clean up your workspace – Science has proven that a clean desk helps immensely in the productivity department. If a previously busy schedule has been keeping you from giving your workspace a thorough deep cleaning, now is the time.
  • Enable your team to work remotely – We are in the midst of a revolution. Many believe the WFH era is here to stay, even after the coronavirus has ended. Work with your team to enhance the virtual workplace. Consider asking for feedback from your team to see if you are capable of making their work easier.
    You may also be searching for ways to build team camaraderie remotely, think about incorporating an instant messaging tool (if you haven’t done so already,) and setting up weekly one-on-one video chats and virtual happy hours. Take a look at these other fun team-building activities.
  • Improve your home office – Since you have been primarily working from home, you may have noticed your home office is not set up nearly as nicely as your typical workspace. Now that you’ve had a chance to acclimate to your new office, take some time to recognize its downfalls and work to find the right resources. Here are 18 must-have items.
  • Evaluate your finances and save money – Unless you have a specific passion for numbers, bookkeeping may very well be your least favorite job of business ownership, and may often get pushed down to the bottom of your To Do List. Place more of an emphasis on the evaluation of your bookkeeping, reconcile your transactions and run reports to see how the year was progressing before COVID.

Marketing & Branding

  • Adjust your messaging – Avoid sounding tone deaf to the struggles of others. Be genuine and sincere in your messaging. Take down ads that might miss the mark during these times. Create ads that focus on brand awareness rather than conversions. “When this is all over, we’ll be here to help you get back to work” rather than “Apply now to land your dream job”.
  • Redesign your logo – Although it may be hard to believe, remember the pandemic will eventually come to an end. Prepare for that period by taking a good hard look at your brand. If your logo is in need of an update, this might be the right time to move forward.
  • Create graphics – One of the most challenging elements of digital marketing is having the necessary graphics readily available. Work with a creative employee or freelance designer to create an image library of digital assets. You may want to consider display ads, infographics, brochures, flyers and more.
  • Participate in reputation management – When was the last time you googled your business name? Take some time to research your business’ reputation. Review online comments from clients and candidates to identify whether or not internal circumstances may be contributing to negative publicity. Brainstorm ideas on improvement tips, if necessary.
  • Improve business listings – When reviewing your online reputation, you may find old or incorrect business listings with the wrong phone number or address. Update them by using a service like Moz Local or Yext. These tools will also allow you to create new local business listings. If your company is mostly based on referrals from local traffic, focusing your efforts on creating consistent citations is a great place to start.
  • Analyze Google Analytics – If you already have Google Analytics set up, you know what a priceless resource it can be for acquisition, but up until now, you may not have logged in as often you should. To get the most value, identify potential conversion tracking improvements, identify referral sources that could be nurtured, exclude spam traffic, and look for additional content opportunities. Stay tuned to find more ways to improve your company’s Google Analytics account.
  • Review your website’s SEO – Determine how much of your website traffic is coming from search engines. Dig into Google Search Console to discover keywords with ranking that could be improved upon, and find pieces of content that are working well. Begin recognizing patterns and find more ways to do more.
  • Audit ad accounts and conversion sources – Use Google Analytics and your ATS/CRM to identify lead sources that outperform others. Use this newfound information to influence your future marketing efforts.
  • Improve conversion tracking – If you can’t currently see where candidates/clients are coming from in your ATS, find a solution to integrate tracking. Knowing where client and candidate leads/conversions are coming from is imperative to your marketing success.
  • Perform a cost-benefit analysis for advertising – More than likely you’re familiar with the old adage, “Half of my marketing is wasted – the problem is I don’t know which half.” Become a smarter marketer by creating a cost-benefit analysis. Determine your ROI for your advertising campaigns by comparing Indeed vs Monster vs Google Ads.
  • Conduct a survey or a poll – As we mentioned, we are all living in unchartered territory, which means that we’re all amateurs learning as we go. Take some time to conduct a quick survey or poll to gain more insight on what the current economic state means to clients and candidates. Don’t forget to distribute your findings to your network later on!
  • Host a webinar – We guarantee that you are not the only one with time on your hands. With that understanding, use this opening as an opportunity to share your knowledge with others through a webinar. Possible topics could include optimizing your LinkedIn profile, learning how to negotiate or improving your resume.


  • Improve your website – Before physically reaching out, a client or candidate will likely already be familiar with your company based on your website. Take some time to improve and think about user experience. Take off your owner hat and put yourself in the shoes of your visitor; determine what they may be looking during their visit and how your website holds up to the challenge.
  • Write content – After reviewing Google Analytics, you may notice “holes” in your content, or pages where visitors are most likely to drop off the site. Determine if there are certain pieces of content that may help the visitor through your sales funnel. A few ideas to get you started include FAQs, blog posts, or other informational pages. It may be helpful to begin with keyword research to get a better idea of what people are looking for during certain search queries.
  • Improve your job board – Again, after reviewing your website analytics, you may notice trends on your most valuable pages, including your job board. Seek out opportunities to improve the search-friendliness, conversion rate and user experience. Don’t forget to create a benchmark now to monitor your progress.
  • Write better job descriptions – Today’s job seekers are looking for more than just a job, they want a fulfilling career with an organization that shares their values. That’s why in 2020, it’s not enough to simply outline the position opportunities. Take a good hard look at your company’s job descriptions to see where there may be room for improvement. Check out this recent post on job description best practices.
  • Evaluate mobile responsiveness of your website – You never get a second chance at a first impression. Since we know that over half of all job searches start on a mobile device, it is imperative that your website and job postings are mobile-friendly. See how your site scores on the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Upgrade your hosting – If you’re like many business owners, you chose the most cost-effective hosting option when developing your first website. Now, you may be left wondering if the starter package is still the best option. Check out these signs to know if it is time for an upgrade.


  • Research competitors – Do you remember the last time you were able to keep an eye on your direct competitors? If you’re like many of us, it was probably your first month on the job. Take a few spare moments to follow their social media profiles, sign up for their newsletters and review their websites. Familiarize yourself with their services and look for areas of improvement within your own organization.
  • Research verticals or revenue opportunity – Have a list of ideas for vertical services that you have been saving for a rainy day? There may not be a single cloud in the sky, but the day has arrived. In today’s day and age, recruiters with a niche focus have the upper hand due to their specific experience in the field. Start exploring new industries and service offering expansions to increase your agency’s competitive advantage.

It’s been said dozens of ways: we are all living in unprecedented times and watching history unfold in real-time, but trust us, the pandemic will eventually come to an end. By accomplishing a handful of these tasks now, you will be prepared for worklife post-COVID.

Us Customs And Border Protection Ends Controversial Accenture Staffing Contract

Us Customs And Border Protection Ends Controversial Accenture Staffing Contract

April 08 2019

CNN recently reported that The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency ended their contract with Accenture. The contract was controversial for a number of reasons and amounted to $297 million. One of the many issues surrounding this deal involved the lackluster performance of Accenture. As of December 2018 Accenture had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had been hired after being almost a year into the contract. The approximate 3,500 applicants who haven’t been processed have reportedly been transferred to CBP following the cancellation of their agreement. Accenture was reportedly paid about $19 million for start-up costs and about $2 million for the 58 candidates who were processed.

unsplash-logoDaan Huttinga

Why You Should Treat Everyone Like You’re Told To Treat Millennials

Why You Should Treat Everyone Like You’re Told To Treat Millennials

Why You Should Treat Everyone Like You're Told To Treat Millennials

Millennials. The internet is full of articles telling you how to treat them in order to get the most out of them in the workplace. I’ve read countless articles about how you should treat Millennials differently than individuals from other generations. I’m sure you’ve seen them too. Millennials are often touted as being needing extra attention or care. This article will explain why this wrong, and why you should treat all your employees with the same attention with regard to culture, recognition, and respect. The headlines below are pulled directly from articles that advise on how to treat Millennials differently.

Create A Healthy Team Environment For Millenials

Why would this apply to only Millennials? Creating a healthy team environment is good for everyone involved. We spend so much time with our coworkers it’s incredibly important to have a workplace that encourages healthy communication, work-life balance, trust, and cooperation. In doing this you’ll create a productive, collaborative environment for everyone, not just Millennials. It’s pretty straightforward.

Give Constructive Feedback To Millenials

This is good advice for any organization employing staff of any age. There’s a common misconception about treating Millennials with a gentle touch, providing more constructive feedback than you’re used to. But the truth of the matter is that employee retention and company culture has been increasing in importance in recent decades. It’s a good idea to focus on culture and happy employees, but not because they’re Millennials. It’s because research has shown that happy employees produce more and stay with organizations longer. By giving constructive feedback, you ensure that employees know how to do their job correctly and they feel valued. It’s the same for people of every age. Hiring new staff and training them is expensive. It’s more affordable to keep an employee happy.

Be Transparent With Millennials

This goes along with constructive feedback and company culture. Transparency is something that has become increasingly important in corporate culture throughout the last few decades. It just so happens that it coincides with Millennials becoming an increasing factor in the workplace. Transparency isn’t important because Millennials need transparency, everyone values transparency. It contributes to a good company culture in which your staff feels informed and trusted. Being honest and constructive with feedback is important but it’s also important to be upfront about company goals, organizational changes, and other major shifts that may be coming. Nobody wants to be caught off guard, it’s not just Millennials. Open communication has been promoted as a method for fostering positive personal relationships for several decades. Its the same when it comes to company culture. Just do the right thing and be a good leader, you don’t need to placate Millennials. An article I recently read on The Muse claimed that an employee from Generation X would simply say yes to a task rather than asking why they should do the task. Meanwhile a Millennial would want to know why they’re assigned the task. This is misleading because it assumes that Millennials are the only ones who want to understand the goal of their assignment. It also assumes that Millennials are the only generation that has curiosity or wants to know the purpose of their work. It’s completely hypothetical, and it’s an anecdote that can’t be applied to all 75 million Millennials.

Respect Their Individuality

I find it hard to read some of the articles that tout individuality as a trait that’s unique to Millennials in the workforce. Just because past generations may have had less freedom to express themselves in the workplace doesn’t mean that it’s a requirement unique to Millennials now. Respecting your staff will go a long way no matter their age. It’s a common decency that has become more culturally appropriate with society as a whole. This is a no-brainer.

Give Responsibilities To Millennials

Young people tend to be hungry for achievement and success. If you’re just starting your career you’re eager to move up the corporate ladder. This has always been true since corporate America has existed. We’re just now attributing this behavior to Millennials because they’re the young generation that’s now behaving in this way. Many want to argue that being raised with the internet, computers, and mobile devices Millennials are accustom to instant gratification. I’d argue that most people have become familiar with instant gratification at this point. The desire to contribute in the workplace and see the results of your contributions aren’t unique to Millennials. Nobody wants to be a cog in the machine. The idea that Millennials want purpose more than individuals of other generations is misguided. Some (infuriating) articles I’ve read aim to patronize Millennials by giving them menial tasks like organizing team lunches as a means to gratify this need. Meanwhile, other recommendations include obvious recommendations like recognizing individuals for their success with positive reinforcement. As if this method wouldn’t be applicable to staff of other generations. Again, recognition for achievements isn’t something that only Millennials value. It applies to everyone. Bruce Pfau, who is a Corporate H.R. Advisor & KPMG Partner, ellaborates on this idea in his article published in the Harvard Business Review:

“A growing body of evidence suggests that employees of all ages are much more alike than different in their attitudes and values at work. To the extent that any gaps do exist, they amount to small differences that have always existed between younger and older workers throughout history and have little to do with the Millennial generation per se.”

Embrace Their New Ideas

If it’s a good idea, it’s a good idea. You shouldn’t pay extra attention to the ideas of Millennials while ignoring the ideas of your older (or younger) staff. This is very closely related to having a healthy team environment and building company culture. Millennials have bad ideas too, they’re not the generation of brilliant ideas any more so than any generation before them. Treat everyone with the same respect, and be open to new ideas. Your organization should be open to feedback from all staff, not just Millennials.

Invest In Millennials

I’ve seen this recommendation more often than most. It makes sense if you buy into the misinformation campaign surrounding “how to treat Millennials in the workforce”. It makes even more sense if you substitute “Millennials” with “employees”. The argument from the misinformation camp is that you should train and build relationships with your Millennial workers. That building personal connections and investing in the things that Millennials value will help to grow your company. The problem is that this should be applied to all members of your workforce, not just Millennials. By investing in your people, you invest in your future, no matter their age. If you’re attempting to placate any age group you’re going to run into problems alienating other groups (or even alienating the group you’re trying to placate). Equality in the workplace applies here. Judge individuals on performance, not age.


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Bullhorn Releases Staffing Speaks Out

Bullhorn Releases Staffing Speaks Out

On September 5th, 2018 I received an email announcing the release of “Staffing Speaks Out”, a conversation series with staffing & recruiting industry leaders by Bullhorn. The email quotes their intro video (seen below) and claims to be a place for learning, growth, and inspiration. All provided by industry professionals, experts, influencers, and… you guessed it, Bullhorn customers.

Needless to say I was intrigued. I followed the link in the email and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of high value video interviews and articles covering marketing in the staffing industry.

Topic: Marketing For Staffing Firms

One video in particular struck me as being highly valuable to a lot of agencies. The interview features Sr Director of Marketing Lauren Schuman of the NYC based staffing firm, Pyramid Consulting Group. Several of the topics covered in the interview relate to how Pyramid tackles obstacles in marketing to clients and candidates in the staffing field. The importance of mobile optimization for your website and the increased use of mobile devices by job seekers is emphasized. Shorter, more concise job descriptions are also recommended by Lauren. Her firm puts much of their attention to forward thinking technology and has been moving away from outdated practices such as cold calling in favor of sms notifications and text messaging.

“Just know your audience. I think cold calling is kind of an outdated practice, as well. I think that, again, there are some industries where it still works, but for us, our people aren’t responding to that. They’re not listening to voicemails. They’re not picking up the phone for a number that they don’t know.” – Lauren Schuman

Video content is also discussed as being a strategy Pyramid uses to reach potential candidates & clients. While search engines like Google still show a lot of love for long form text content, video can have a meaningful impact on the SEO of your website by improving user experience metrics. It has an even greater impact on users who are more likely to consume video content than text content.

Staffing Speaks Out LogoBullhorn is known for producing great content like this and for providing a robust marketplace for service providers such as those mentioned in the video. TextUs and Cube19 are both mentioned in the interview with Lauren Schuman. TextUs is a text messaging platform that integrates with Bullhorn and Cube19 provides analytics dashboards to better understand how your marketing efforts are working.

So Much Potential

There are a number of topics I’d love to see them cover, however I have some concerns that they may only be tapping Bullhorn customers for these video interviews. While I’m a huge fan of Bullhorn, there are industry experts outside of the pool of Bullhorn users that may have valuable insight into marketing, design, operations, sales, business development, and branding for staffing & recruiting firms. I see so much potential in the first few videos and articles that they’ve published under this brand that I worry it will be used to plug their marketplace too much and not give enough emphasis on tools and marketing platforms outside of the Bullhorn marketplace. These concerns may be premature but with such a strong start to the Staffing Speaks Out series, I’m optimistic that they’ll continue to churn out great content in the future. I’ve already learned quite a bit from the Staffing Speaks Out series, I hope you have too.

Topic Wishlist

My topics wishlist includes: ad targeting strategies for passive vs active candidates, content marketing strategies for the staffing industry, and how to best utilize sourcing tools such as Indeed and LinkedIn. Also, I’d love to see interviews with Joe Green (CMO of Medical Solutions), Sara Menke (SEO of Premier Talent Partners), or Amber Ireland (VP of Marketing at PPR Talent Management Group). I think their interviews would be insightful due to their different perspectives, industries, and experience with marketing at different levels of their organizations.

For more information about Staffing Speaks Out check out their blog or search for the hashtag #StaffingSpeaksOut on Twitter.

Introducing WP Staffing by Staffing Nerd

Introducing WP Staffing by Staffing Nerd

Staffing Software built for your WordPress site.

An introduction to WP Staffing by Staffing Nerd.

Tackling Issues Unique To Staffing

If you’ve been working in staffing-related marketing or operations, you understand that much pain is caused by the technical aspect of staffing, specifically around dealing with the limited functionality and performance of web application integrations. As experienced marketers and developers solely focused on how technology impacts staffing and hiring nationwide, the team behind Staffing Nerd sees this as a problem worth solving. Our drive to fill some of the major gaps in technology pushed us to evaluate how job listings are published and disseminated online.

One of the most common issues we deal with relates to the setup, configuration, and optimization of WordPress-related functionality. While addressing these issues we built elegant solutions which have grown into tools now accessible to the greater staffing community. WP Staffing is our answer to the question of how to build a job board with cost performance and reliability top of mind.

Cost Performance

Upfront costs can cripple budgets and hinder investment in other areas. There can often be penalties related to changing services & technology partners. You may find that your applications need to be rebuilt to route information properly between an application tracking system, on-site job board, and API feeds. Constant delays can add an unnecessary layer of stress and can harm your bottom line. By reducing upfront costs and eliminating slow implementation periods we’ve been able to mitigate these issues.

WordPress Reliability

In an effort to make our tools accessible we turned our attention to WordPress. If you’re not familiar, WordPress is a content management system and online framework used by one out of every three websites on the Internet today. Our team is very familiar with WordPress, developing on the platform for much of our careers. Nearly 90% of the websites our team has developed and maintained run on WordPress. This pushed us to consider how we can supplement existing applications and plugins to create a solution that offers flexibility and reliability. These tools are designed specifically for the staffing industry, solving problems unique to your business. Introducing WP Staffing.

Before we let you dive into WP Staffing, it’s important to understand how it works with the existing WordPress ecosystem. We asked Peter David, a senior developer, to help bridge the gap and gain a sense of what currently exists and why WP Staffing fills a need currently unmet, even by enterprise staffing developers such as Bullhorn.

How WP Staffing Works

Can you give us a rundown of how WP Staffing works?
So, the plugin hooks into a plugin by Automattic called WP Job Manager, and what Job Manager can do is either set up a simple job board for people that want to just post a couple of internal job postings, or it can help you create a job board on your website that people will pay to submit listings to your job board.

How We Cater to The Staffing Industry

This seems like a functional plugin for non-staffing companies. There are nuanced needs for staffing companies specifically that are sought out. How does WP Staffing handle these?

Right, so what it doesn’t do is set it up to act like a job board tool for staffing agencies. So, what our plugin does is add profession and specialty taxonomies so that those are sortable fields. Our plugin also allows you to scrub off all of the company data on job listings in the job details and replace it with your own company’s information.

Premium Benefits

What are some premium benefits to WP Staffing that strengthen the utility for staffing agencies?

There’s also a Pro version of the plugin that allows you to hide different things that you wouldn’t want job seekers to see. For instance, you could hide the posted on date so older jobs won’t appear less valuable, or sometimes an agency won’t want to show the city of a particular job is located in, but they still need to track that information at the back end. It also can hide other stuff, like shift information if you don’t want to display that. There’s also a couple other handy things that we’ve added, like color pickers to help you match the colors to your brand.

Integrating With WordPress

So why the integration with WP Job Manager instead of just rebuilding the plugin from scratch?

Working with WP Job Manager allows us to still use the plugin for what it’s good for, which is a really tight integration with the WordPress platform. So, all of your jobs are posts in the back end, and those posts can then be entered into your sitemap for Google indexing. They have Google schema on the page. It’s really solid mark-up, and for developers, the plugin is a really great platform for extending and customizing functionality any way a staffing company might need it to be customized. But then we added all the extra stuff shown below.

WP Staffing Customizer

This plugin takes WP Job Manager to the next level for professional staffing agencies.
Add extra filters to your job search form and taxonomies to your job listing:

  • Professions
  • Specialties

Add a recruiter to a job 
Set global information for all job listings:

  • Company Name
  • Company Logo
  • Company Website

WP Staffing Customizer Pro

 Add extra fields to the job listing:

  • Branch
  • Work Start
  • Shift Information
  • Job Source Information

Easily Hide info from your job listing page:

  • Posted Date
  • City
  • Company Name
  • Company Logo
  • Company Website
  • Company Twitter
  • Tagline

This plugin also hooks into the WP Job Manager Applications plugin to track candidate analytics tags. Find out where your leads are coming from:

  • UTM_source
  • UTM_medium
  • UTM_campaign

Widget areas for the job search page and job listing page

Change your layout between grid, list, 2 column easily

Customize the colors in your job search widget with a color picker.

Learn More About WP Staffing

The out of the box solution from many ATS systems and other SaaS job boards ignore the fact that your WordPress website should be the hub of your marketing efforts. Our job board options keep users and google bots on your domain and don’t send job seekers to another website or display your jobs in an iframe.