Technology. Relationships. Are your people finding the right balance?

Technology. Relationships. Are your people finding the right balance?

by Sara Bennett | March 18, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, INFO/RESOURCES - FOR PEOPLE MANAGERS / HR PROFESSIONALS get connected, main whats happening

As a recruiting organization, AI is on deck to change just about everything we do, including how we interact with each other.

What’s AI on deck to do for your company?  

In our case, we know we’ve always been a bit geeky – in fact we were one of the first staffing agencies in the nation to embrace basic computer technology to classify and store records of candidates, clients, and job orders. Yes, we even had the audacity to believe that a computer could find the right matches between candidates and jobs faster than we could do it manually.  We were somewhat alone at the time – but not for long!

To be honest when we first got our big IBM computer in a box (1984 to be exact) our competitors actually wondered what we were doing – claiming we were using our new big computer to get us out of the people business. My guess is they were simply resisting the inevitability of change. I can’t believe they actually liked the very hard and tedious work of thumbing  through stacks of resumes, job order records, and business cards to do their business. But perhaps they just didn’t see how much of their day was spent doing all those tedious tasks instead of interacting with people.

Today  – we’re still geeky. We think AI has a really important role to play in how we go about our day. It’s already helping us do our work faster, speeding up the time it takes to get thru all those tedious and redundant tasks that are a part of every hiring process. It takes notes at meetings. It reminds us of our promises to one another.

And we so appreciate all that help!

That said, we also learned a long time ago that it is the relationship side of our business that actually drives success. Today we are  quick to use AI wherever we can, but we also preach the importance of the relationship side of our business reminding folks it has to stay in tact. Our leaders remind our people of that truth each and every day.

We’re sharing all this because we know that at the core of every successful business, not just staffing companies, its the strong relationships between people – co workers, staff and management, account managers and customers – that make the difference. And these relationships are built on the time honored values of trust, understanding, and authenticity – qualities that to date AI can’t quite replicate for either our team or yours. We believe that getting too far into the AI camp, can actually hurt our businesses.

We’re also  suggesting that as we move into an era where technology can do so much, it might be time to take a good look at the people who are interacting with our customers – making sure they are the kind of people who will continue to value relationships in a world where its just plain too easy to hide behind a smart phone, a computer, an AI bot. We’ve already seen – not all employees know where to draw the line.

Here’s some of the ways that we believe that its still going to be the people in our companies, not just the latest technologies, that will make a difference to our success!

We think of these as important elements to the relationship side of our business, and may be important to your relationship side as well!  These are the questions that company leaders might want to start asking about to make sure that as once again start to indulge our geeky sides, we have the right people on our bus who are both geeky and relationship builders.    

Are your people asking the right questions?  We’ve always been proud of the fact that in our intake meetings with a new client, we so often hear –“That’s a great question.  I’ve never been asked that before.” Internally, we don’t look at our questions as that  magical. In fact from our perch we are simply asking about things we need to know more about if our goal is to help our clients hire people who can not just do the job, but people who want to do the job and want to do it well. People who are the “right fit” for the team they will be joining. Why are you hiring now? What results are you expecting this employee to achieve? On day one? On day 555? What challenges do you anticipate they will face if the goal is to get them to day 555? We think that’s all important, and are always surprised to hear that not all recruiters ask these questions.

Maybe we’re just the curious type, but in our our business, we assess the quality of our work by the quality of our questions!  Are your people curious enough to keep asking the kind of questions that make a difference?

Are your people coming up with new, more innovative solutions? While AI can offer up recommendations based on data, they can’t come up with solutions that haven’t been thought of before. In our business, for example, we hold ourselves accountable to be the ones who think outside the box, use our experience and intuition to come up with ideas to help our clients solve their staffing challenges that AI simply might not know exists. That’s why our intake calls and the level of homework our recruiting teams do before we even start a search is so important to the success of our staffing projects. Yes, we have to ask the right questions to get our clients to articulate the key elements of their company culture, but we also have to ask our candidates questions about what’s important to them about the type of company culture that works best for them, to make the right matches. Asking great questions starts the matching process, but you don’t have the right solution to put the the two sets of answers together, it doesn’t work. We believe it takes the human touch to make that match. AI is great at capturing history, but the solutions worth their salt have to be focused on the future.

Someone famous once told us you can’t solve a problem by using the same thinking that created the problem in the first place.   Are your people creative and bold enough to come up with new solutions that make a difference to your customers?

Are your people taking the time to discover the bigger picture of what’s going on with their customers – their  CONTEXT?  For PACE whether our customer is a hiring manager or a candidate, understanding the context in which their need or want is being surfaced is vitally important to recommending the right solution. A candidate can go on forever describing their dream job but unless we know their real goal is to go to work now to pay next month’s mortgage, we will not be doing our job. A hiring manager can give us a long list of skills, knowledge and work experiences they think are necessary to “do the job”, but unless we have that conversation about the personal qualities that matter to “fit”,  and identify all the temporary hurdles they will need to overcome in order to achieve the expected results, all the skills, knowledge and experience a candidate brings to the table, won’t translate into a successful hire.

A good understanding of reality is what it takes to be persuasive. Are your people savvy enough to explore all aspects of your client’s CONTEXT?             

In Summary….

As organizations continue to embed AI into their operations, we think finding the right balance between a company’s geeky side and their ability to keep it real with their customers is going to be a key driver of their success. At PACE we know we need to leverage the right technologies just to get in the staffing game, but to stay in the game we need to build and nurture the up close and personal side of our business.

For us, this “balancing act” is the foundation of the strategies and tactics you’ll see us using on the go forward.  Everyone we touch –  job seekers, hiring managers, HR leaders, CEO and CFOs – will feel heard, valued and understood, and we think that will be a different experience from what they might experience elsewhere.

Do you have enough difference makers on your team?  As we steadily march into a world dominated by technology, we think all businesses are going to need more of them!

How can PACE help?

Focusing our recruiting services on helping clients identify employees who can not only do the job but are the right fit for the teams they enjoy, is one of the mainstays of our service platform.  Finding employees who are the “right fit” doesn’t happen just by scanning resumes, asking a few questions in a screening interview, and then turning to AI to identify the matches. No, our services are much more than that. Making a difference in who and how our our clients hire starts with detailed homework about the job, the company, and the client’s current context, rolls into state of the art candidate screening and fit finding assessments that are built into every step of our hiring process, and providing clients with information about their candidate of choice every step of the way.

Whether our client’s use us to find an employee to hire direct, or a temporary or contracted employee to staff a project or cover for a leave of absence, what we do to find the “right fit” breaks all norms to avoid those costly staffing mistakes.


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years.

A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website.

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