This Agency Gets IT
Finding the right candidate for a job can be a difficult task. In the tech industry, finding someone who not only has the technical skills, but also the right personality for the position, is especially challenging. That’s why FIT Staffing was established — to help companies find the right people to fill these positions, and keep them for the long haul.
Putting a square peg into a round hole just doesn’t work out.
Jackie Fallon says this goes for putting people in jobs as well. If a candidate is not the right fit for a position, things won’t work out in the long run.
Unfortunately, she says many large staffing companies habitually try to do just that — make people fit in positions where they aren’t meant to be in order to increase their numbers and help their bottom lines.
This is one of the reasons why Fallon started FIT Solutions, a technology-focused staffing company that digs deeper — much deeper — to find the right fit, for clients and candidates alike.
Fallon, president of the company, is a former engineer and employee at one of those larger staffing companies. She told BuisnessWest that she started FIT back in 2004 because she felt the Western Mass. area was underserved by the national staffing companies, and that smaller organizations that had IT needs were being overlooked.
So, she went into business for herself to change that.
“We don’t want to put people in positions that they’re not going to be successful at. We take a good, long time with our candidates and assessing what they want to do.”
The mission at FIT Solutions is to provide value to both candidates — those seeking jobs in technology, and the company’s commercial clients, those seeking employees for their open technology positions — and to do it in a thorough manner.
“We don’t want to put people in positions that they’re not going to be successful at,” said Fallon. “We take a good, long time with our candidates and assessing what they want to do.”
Division Manager Anthony Ciak emphasized the difference between FIT and larger staffing companies, adding that creating a solid fit requires more than simply looking at what’s on paper to figure out where a person might belong.
“I think that, with the larger staffing companies, maybe moreso in the IT space, it’s all about numbers,” he said. “They want to get quick placement to get numbers up, and, in the long run, that really doesn’t help anyone.”
He maintains that finding the perfect match always goes well beyond just the technical skills a candidate has. It comes down to finding the right culture and personality fit.
“Tech skills aside, sometimes it’s more about putting a hiring manager and a candidate in the same room and seeing how the sparks fly,” said Ciak, adding that good communication and chemistry are big parts of the process. “What a lot of people are looking for is a good teammate.”
One of the most common stereotypes surrounding those in the tech industry is that people are unsocial and unwilling to interact with others, but Ciak says the opposite is true, and clients look for someone who will work well with their teams.
That’s why FIT focuses on forming long-term relationships with candidates and clients so they can find the right fit for both parties.
In fact, all this is spelled out loud and clear in the mission statement of the company: “to provide industry insight alongside quality staffing solutions delivered with sincerity, trust, and friendliness for our partners and candidates.”
“Our goal going into a chat with a candidate is to let them know that it’s not just about the job we might be talking about at that moment,” Ciak said. “It’s building a foundation for that opportunity and then anything else further down the line.”
In order to fill positions for clients, those at FIT often reach out to candidates they talked to months or maybe years ago. A suitable fit may not have been found back then, said Fallon, but candidates remember the service they received and are generally happy to come back for another try.
“I think that, with the larger staffing companies, maybe moreso in the IT space, it’s all about numbers. They want to get quick placement to get numbers up, and, in the long run, that really doesn’t help anyone.”
“We go back to the candidates we already have in the pipeline,” she said. “That’s our goal, to get people that we’ve already met, and we already understand what they’re looking for and make that match.”
She added that, frankly, the candidates who have résumés out on job sites like Monster or Dice are being pursued by everyone else in the industry, making it more difficult to reach them.
One thing Fallon hopes will help expand the company’s candidate pool is its recent merger with Marathon Staffing, a $70 million regional agency. Despite the reputation national staffing agencies have, she’s confident that it will help bring more more resources into the Western Mass. area.
“It gives us more bandwidth as far as options with our candidates,” she explained, adding that Marathon didn’t have an IT division, which is where FIT comes in.
Another attribute that helps FIT stand out from competition is its vetting process. Fallon said one of the best compliments the company has ever received came from a hiring manager who told her that, whenever they get a résumé from her, they know it’s a good candidate.
To explain the significance of this for the company, Ciak recalls the story of a client who was looking to fill a position at its location in Franklin County. Geographically, those at this firm knew they were going to have a harder time filling the position because of its location, and after a few months of frustration went by, they had to get creative and think outside the box.
They reached out to a female candidate who — on paper, anyway — had progressed into a few other roles that weren’t directly related to the job they needed to fill. But when FIT reached out to her, they found out that she wanted to get back into that kind of position.
When they presented her as a candidate, the decision maker for the client was reluctant to meet her. But FIT didn’t give up.
“We had a conversation with the hiring manager about trying to help them understand why we felt this person may be a good fit for the role,” said Ciak, adding that the decision maker agreed to a phone call with the candidate. As it turns out, they found she was a perfect match for what they were looking for.
“I think it was a good example of how it wasn’t about what was on the résumé … it was about a lot of the stuff in between the lines,” Ciak said. “Yes, they have to be able to do the job technically, but it’s so much more than that.”
Quality over Quantity
Using this operating mindset, the company has sustained a significant pool of candidates to reach out to, including a database of roughly 20,000 people. And it is constantly looking to make this pool even wider and deeper.
As just one example, the team recently visited Western New England University’s computer science club to talk to the seniors and other students about job opportunities in the area, how to go about looking for a job, interview preparation, salary information, and more. They also attend job summits, workshops, and other similar events to not only be a presence in the community, but also to ensure that they are constantly learning in an ever-changing industry.
“The more that we’re aware of how things are changing, the more we can impress on the candidate the importance of keeping up with technologies, too,” Ciak noted. “A lot of our clients expect the same. They expect folks to keep up with the latest and greatest and to stay educated and to challenge themselves with new technology.”
This, along with a mission to find the right fit for a candidate and client, is what makes FIT Solutions stand out from the competition. It’s what landed them on the ITS63 list as the only Western Mass. vendor, and it’s also what keeps clients and candidates in the area staffed and employed.
“It really comes back to providing value to our candidates and our clients,” Fallon said, “and being a trusted adviser to both of them.”
Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]