About Debbie Fledderjohann
Recognized as the industry expert for technical, professional and healthcare contract staffing since transitioning to this growing industry in 1993. The primary focus is to help recruiters make contract placements. Top Echelon Contracting takes responsibility for all the back-office tasks associated with being the legal employer of record. Experience includes all areas of human resources, financial management, accounting, payroll, state and federal laws, legal contract reviews, benefit administration, and sales and marketing for the placement of professional contractors in 49 states. Eleven years experience as a primary vendor with the Federal Government for professional healthcare contract placements. Speaker and Trainer for industry conferences such as NAPS, CSP, and Top Echelon Network. In addition to writing for various magazines, newsletters, The Contracting Corner, and a Contracting Blog.

PROSPER – Principles for Success

Guest article by Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS, CEO of Good as Gold Training, Inc. As a recruiter, you must dedicate yourself to discovering principles that will allow you to do your job better, and as a result, increase sales, profits and your income. This article will address seven areas that will help you prosper the remainder of 2015 and beyond. P         Plan and Prioritize R         Results Oriented Activity O        Organize S         Share Expectations P         Principles of Sales E         Elevate Sales and Profits R         Right Things at the Right Time P – PLAN AND PRIORITIZE Any business exists for one reason: to make a profit. Recruiters are not in business to: Provide jobs for their employees Do everything themselves React to issues rather than proactively take control Planning and prioritizing requires a higher level of skill than shooting from the hip. You must: Know and understand your goals and focus Schedule important issues Be precise and detailed Commit to completing your six top priorities daily Coordinate efforts Plan for the entire week (1/52 of your annual plan) Stop preventable interruptions and issues R – RESULTS ORIENTED ACTIVITY Here are some realities in our profession: Constant distractions People on both sides of our sale Everyone’s demands can appear like a top priority Stuff happens Working hard or long hours doesn’t guarantee success Despite these truths, results oriented activity requires that you: Determine actions closest to the profit Understand best business (what business should be written and worked) Create systems and follow them Issue send-outs for most placeable candidates O – ORGANIZE It is simple – prosperity is not drawn to disorganization.  You must be the most organized person in your office.  Organization also greatly assists time management. S – SHARE EXPECTATIONS You should create expectations for the following: Clients What they can expect from your firm What you need from them to attract talent they will hire Candidates What they can expect from you What you need from them in order to find them a job Recruiting is a relationship building business.  Communication is key to your success and sharing expectations up front greatly improves communication. P – PRICIPLES OF SALES Principle #1 – Demonstrate Top Production Behavior Arrive early Address issues that are not in alignment with your firm’s vision and goals Talk with a strength of purpose Maintain a positive attitude Hit or surpass daily minimum results Principle #2 – Always Sell Staffing and Recruiting is a sales profession.  Continue to pre-close throughout the entire placement process to enhance your ability to successfully close deals. Principle #3 – Measure For Success The expression, “What gets measured, gets focused on,” is true.  Measurements of activities in sales provide feedback in order to: Set standards for activities that lead to desired sales results Measure activities at different parts of the sales process Make adjustments to activity areas that need improvement Measure against the new results and then repeat the process Principle #4 – Minimum Standards Sales is a repeatable process. You can accurately predict your production when you know your personal minimum stats and ratios. E – ELEVATE SALES AND PROFITS Most of your focus should be directed at consistently increasing production to enhance sales and profits.  The number that is most important to monitor is your send-out totals and your send-out to placement or fill ratio.  If you consistently increase send-outs you will consistently increase production. R – RIGHT THINGS AT THE RIGHT TIME Define the areas of responsibility that are most important for you to accomplish and focus on top priorities. Determine the 20% of actions that provides you with 80% of your results and then focus on consistently increasing the 20% of your actions that are result oriented. Conduct weekly reviews to keep your sales and business growth on track. What did I do right? How did I waste time? What do I need to change or implement next week? Follow these principles and you will help your business [...read more...]

How Did a Solo Recruiter Earn $101,047 on One Contract Placement?

One New York-based solo recruiter offered his client a contracting solution in January 2014, and that decision has certainly paid off. His first placement through Top Echelon Contracting, Inc. (TEC) has netted the recruiter $101,047. Even better? The candidate is still working, so the recruiter is still making money. For the average recruiter commanding a one-time 25% fee on a direct hire placement, those earnings would require placing a $404,000+/year candidate. How did he do it, and what wisdom can he offer to other recruiters? We asked him to answer those very questions. What were the circumstances of your contract placement? The client was a large corporation that needed a specialized person to fit a very specific role. The candidate was not easy to find, and that rarity benefitted me. I spent the majority of my career getting to know this industry and building relationships within it, so I was uniquely suited to search for this particular candidate. How much experience do you have with contract staffing, and how did you come to use TEC as your back-office? I worked in contract staffing throughout most of my career with large staffing corporations, so I had a solid base of knowledge when I eventually went off on my own. Because I had experience with contract staffing, I knew that handling the back end of contract placements was much more than I wanted to deal with by myself, so I asked for recommendations. A close friend and colleague referred me to TEC as a “perfect match,” and he was correct. How was your experience with our service/ using a back-office? My experience using TEC as the back-office has been stellar. Your company makes it realistic to venture out on your own as a recruiter making contract placements, because TEC takes care of the hardest, most complicated part—the legal, monetary and organizational headaches of the back end. What advice would you offer to someone looking to break in with a well-established client company? First and foremost, you need to learn how the organization works. What do they need, and what are their pain points? Talk to employees, past and present – they often have the clearest viewpoints to offer. Then, you can offer the client something that nobody else can – a true understanding of their needs. But remember that testimonials on your behalf are always more effective than representing yourself. What insider tips do you have for recruiters who are just starting out? The single most important thing you can do is truly differentiate yourself from your competitors. Also, when you are talking to a hiring authority or gatekeeper within a client company, you need to understand what’s in it for them—that individual specifically, not just the company in general. Then, address their need. Don’t be broad – be specific. Finally, even when you succeed in making a direct or contract placement, don’t lose touch with your client or candidate. Continue your relationships with them and make sure it is a fit for both parties. Would you recommend contract staffing to direct hire recruiters? I would absolutely recommend it. If you can improve your services and set yourself apart, then go for [...read more...]

Hit Your Targets With Contract Staffing

Any recruiter can ramp up contract staffing services in 3 easy steps! It’s undeniable: contract staffing is here to stay. In a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 46% of employers reported that they plan to add more contract and temporary workers in 2015, despite the fact that the economy has rebounded from the recession. With the progression of the blended workforce model, it’s becoming clear that contract workers are an integral part of the modern business world. If you don’t already offer contract staffing as an option to your clients, there has never been a better time to start. After all, you don’t want to miss the mark with contract staffing and the cash it provides. You may be surprised to find that you already have the resources you need to get started with contract staffing. It’s simpler than you think to hit your targets! Just follow these steps: 1. Put Yourself on the Map. First, focus on making “contract staffing provider” part of your brand. After all, nobody will come to you for contracting if they don’t know your firm handles it. Website. Add a paragraph or a full page to your website describing the new services you offer. Use keywords so those using search engines can find you easily. Make sure to direct separate messages to clients and candidates. While they both benefit from contracting, their needs differ and it’s your job to make the advantages clear to them. Social Media. Add a line to your email signature, your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, your Facebook and Google+ “About” sections, etc. If you are actively involved in industry groups or conversations on social media sites, post an announcement. If you have a business blog, write a post about your new offerings and continue to post regularly about them. Anywhere that you have a business presence is an opportunity to advertise your contract staffing services. Marketing. Get your business cards, fee schedules, and other printed or electronic marketing materials updated. You never know when a chance encounter might lead to a recruiting prospect, so be prepared! 2. Communicate with your Direct Hire Client Base. Many direct hire recruiters new to contract staffing are apprehensive about building a contracting client base from scratch. What they don’t realize is that their existing client base is ripe with contract opportunities; statistically, 80% of your contracting business will come from current clients. You may find you only need to inform them of your new services to receive your first job orders (sending a marketing message can be very helpful for this purpose). Remember, there are three main reasons client companies utilize contractors: Contract staffing is flexible. If the client has a special project, they can bring in a contractor with a specific skill set to hit the ground running. As a business’ workload fluctuates, so can its workers (think IT upgrades, accountants during tax season, etc.). Clients can also “try out” a prospective direct-hire employee with no long-term commitment through a contract-to-direct hire arrangement. Contract staffing eliminates liability. All the risks of bringing on a W-2 employee (workers’ compensation, discrimination, compliance, tax and HR issues) are taken on by the employer of record, NOT by the client. This solution also erases the risk of misclassification-related consequences if the client was considering bringing the person on as a 1099 independent contractor. Contract staffing is cost effective. The client pays one flat hourly bill rate and incurs none of the overhead costs associated with direct hire employees, including benefits, unemployment, etc. (an estimated 35 – 45% on top of salary). They also don’t have to waste valuable time tracking legal and administrative issues like Health Care Reform; they simply pay the invoices. 3. Start a Dialogue with your Candidates. Will you need to source brand new candidates to find all of your contract workers? Probably not. Any candidate can benefit from a contract arrangement.  Again, the key here is ample communication. In every conversation you have with a current or potential candidate, ask him if he is willing to work on contract. Make sure to mention the top four candidate advantages of contract arrangements: Contracting is flexible. The lifestyle lends itself more readily to the work-life balance that people need. Contractors tend to have more flexibility in hours and location and they can schedule time off around their assignments. More and more candidates are choosing to work long-term as contractors because of this advantage. Contracting is lucrative. In fact, it can be more financially rewarding than direct hire employment. Unlike salaried employees, contractors are paid for every hour worked and can typically earn overtime on any hours over forty in a week. Contracting leads to job satisfaction. A contractor can spend time in a company without committing to long-term employment, then leave at the end of a contract without having to explain why he “job hopped.” Even better, the skills and experience he adds with each contract assignment only increase his marketability for future placements. This leaves more room for career exploration and growth. Contracting through a back-office grants access to benefits. Many full-service back-offices offer health insurance at group rates, in addition to dental, vision, life insurance, and 401(k) options. Since all qualified individuals are now required to have health insurance under Health Care Reform, this is a major incentive for many workers. Front-Office (Recruiter) and Back-Office Tasks Contract staffing can seem intimidating at first glance, but from the recruiter’s perspective, the front-office tasks are essentially the same as they are in direct hire recruiting: get the job order, locate the candidate(s), and facilitate the placement. At that point, either your firm or a third-party service will become the employer of record. This entity will handle the back-office tasks of employing the candidate on a W-2 basis while he works for the client company on the contract assignment. Don’t get hung up on the administrative, legal, and financial tasks of the back-office. If you outsource your contract placements to a reputable back-office service, they will handle these details and complexities. Then, you’re left with only the front-office tasks you know and enjoy—recruiting! What If You Are Unsure About Outsourcing? If you decide to set up your own in-house back-office, be aware that the complex ramp-up and ongoing tasks are costly in terms of both time and resources. Among other requirements, you must: Purchase adequate liability insurance. Register for applicable state and federal taxes, state unemployment insurance(s), and Workers’ Compensation insurance. Write and process contracts with your clients and employees. Handle employee onboarding, including background checks and I-9 verification. Collect timesheets and fund and process payroll regularly. Issue invoices and handle collection efforts in the event of nonpayment. Administer benefits and handle Health Care Reform issues. Additionally, you are obligated to comply with all applicable employment laws and regulations, not to mention dealing with the various human resource-related tasks that crop up when you have employees. If this sounds like too much to handle on your own, refer to the “Top 10 Questions to Ask Providers” in the 4th quarter 2014 issue of the Contracting Corner for guidance on evaluating back-office service providers. The Bottom Line: Get the Word Out! Successfully ramping up contract staffing services can be easy and profitable. It just comes down to getting the word out to existing clients and candidates. Remember, you’ve already done the work of finding them, getting to know their needs and wants, and earning their trust. With just a little extra effort, you can reap twice the reward! This article was also published in hard copy format via our quarterly Contracting Corner newsletter. If you would like to view a PDF version of the newsletter, please click [...read more...]

6 Critical Contract Staffing Back-Office Considerations

Are you thinking about moving forward with adding contract staffing to your business model? If so, step one is figuring out how you will handle the “back-office” tasks – the legal, financial, and administrative issues involved in being the contractors’ legal W-2 Employer of Record. This involves more than your traditional recruiting, or “front-office,” tasks. For the back-office tasks, there are two options: In-house: Run your own back-office and employ the contractors on a W-2 basis. Outsource: Have a contract staffing back-office take on the W-2 employment and tasks. Before you decide, it is important to know what is involved in running the back-office. Here are some critical considerations: Financial Risk. If you run your own back-office, you must have cash on hand or a line of credit so you can float the payroll for 30, 60, or even 90 days until your end client pays. You must pay the candidate consistently whether or not your clients pay you on a regular basis. For clients that are slow to pay or fail to pay their invoices, you need to have an invoicing and collections process in place. Payroll Process. Payroll must be run at least every two weeks, if not weekly. You have to decide how you will collect, verify, and track timesheets, including making sure that each timesheet has an authorized signature from the client company agreeing to the man-hours worked. The actual mechanics of running payroll involve handling state and federal taxes and following the specific payroll laws of each applicable state. Legal Liability. The legal W-2 Employer of Record must handle a variety of responsibilities, including: Federal Compliance. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Immigration (I-9 and E-Verify), IRS, COBRA, etc. State and Local Laws. These are becoming increasingly complex, and the ongoing changes can be difficult to track. For example, you must stay current with which cities and states have enacted mandatory paid sick leave laws. Contracts. The contractor should sign an employment agreement with the back-office defining the terms of his/her employment. There should also be a master agreement between the employer of record and the end client defining the terms of the assignment and the relationship between the parties. This helps protect the client from potential co-employment liability. Certificate of Insurance. Most clients require the employer of record to have general liability limits as high as $6-8 million, with special situations sometimes requiring up to $10 million. Human Resources. This includes onboarding procedures (background screenings are particularly important), employment paperwork, terminations, employee matters, etc. Workers’ Compensation. You need to set up Workers’ Compensation and find out which jobs/industries your Workers’ Comp insurance carrier will allow you to place. For example, anyone can place contractors in an office environment (Workers’ Comp code 8810), but if you want to place engineers, you must find out if your Workers’ Comp carrier will allow that and if they restrict any environments or industries. Remember, rates vary by Workers’ Comp code (job description), so you need to make sure you will earn a high enough profit to justify a steep rate. Unemployment. In each state where you are going to have contractors, you must set up unemployment insurance. Keep in mind that the cost varies per state; it is critical to make sure that the total cost of employing a contractor in a specific location does not erode your income from the placement. Contractor Benefits. Benefits are important to attract and retain candidates in the professional and technical sector, especially now that Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act) requires most Americans to have health insurance. In addition to health insurance, a good benefits package typically includes dental, vision, and life insurance and a 401(k) plan.  The final decision about a contract assignment could hinge on the benefits and the employer contribution. If you choose to outsource the back-office, the provider you select should take on all of these tasks and liability, letting you spend your time on the front-office tasks. These are basically the same as direct hire:  matching the CANDIDATE and JOB ORDER. Whichever choice you make, be sure all the employment tasks are handled with precision and accuracy. Your reputation as a recruiter depends on it. To evaluate your own firm or an outsourcing provider’s ability to handle the back-office responsibilities, download our Contract Staffing Back-Office Audit at [...read more...]

6 Essential Principles of Recruiting Success

Guest article by Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS, CEO of Good as Gold Training, Inc. There are six essential principles that all successful staffing and recruiting firm owners have in common.     PRINCIPLE #1 – AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET How you perceive your business and your life determines your reality. Entrepreneurs embrace change and take calculated risks Owners with an entrepreneurial mindset don’t think like a “worker bee” Entrepreneurs are willing to fail to eventually win You can do your best and still experience frustration by a lack of progress or difficult periods in your business. Entrepreneurs avoid negative thinking You were not born an entrepreneur.  You build your success through constant study and tenacity. PRINCIPLE #2 – A DEFINED BRAND Your brand is the personality of your company and service, but you need to embrace what makes the express brand great.   Your brand can also accomplish the following: Enhanced performance Transparency of your company Project a sense of social responsibility Ensure business continuity during difficult times It’s up to you as the business owner to embrace and promote your brand. PRINCIPLE #3 – RICHES IN NICHES Successful business owners understand they can’t be everything to everyone.  Having a narrowly defined group of customers will help you grow and prosper. Imagine the benefits of only placing “six primary titles” where your database of candidates would match the business you write.  Other candidates surfaced or job orders out of your niche can be filled through your partners in the Top Echelon Network.  PRINCIPLE #4 – OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE Successful entrepreneurs understand that excellent customer service will keep customers coming back. In this age of Social Media, outstanding customer service is more important than ever. How you handle clients and candidates directly affects your company’s performance.  Proper utilization of Big Biller can track the value of each customer to your business.  Tools like auto responders can ensure a strong follow-up and touch program. PRINCIPLE #5 – GOOD BANKING RELATIONSHIPS AND FISCAL DISCIPLINE It is advisable to build relationships at two banks separating your personal from your business assets.  It is wise to nurture relationships with the bank manager and head teller. Successful business owners utilize budgets and realistic sales projections to run their business.  They understand how to use a line of credit and use it for short-term cash needs, not long-term funding needs like marketing expenses. Also, if you place contractors and handle the payroll and funding yourself, you may want to consider outsourcing that liability and responsibility to Top Echelon Contracting. This would significantly reduce your line of credit and funding needs. PRINCIPLE #6 – EMBRACE TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS Successful business owners realize retention of top performers is enhanced by providing consistent training.  A conversation with the right trainer or advisor can be more valuable than years of formal education. Develop relationships with other entrepreneurs who can provide insight and guidance into running a successful business.  Surround yourself with people more successful and knowledgeable than yourself.  If possible, join a Mastermind Group that can provide insight and advice.   Implement these six principles and you will enjoy higher level of sales and better [...read more...]

5 Common Recruiter Questions about Contracting

As a contract staffing back-office service, we get calls every day from recruiters who want to add contract staffing services to their business model. For other recruiters who may be interested in contract staffing, here are the “Top 5” questions we receive and our answers to them:  How do I get started in contracting? This definitely our top question. The most difficult part of getting started is handling the initial set-up and ongoing employment of the contractors. If you outsource this part to a third-party back-office service, you are only left with the front-office recruiting tasks. This means your biggest job is just spreading the word about your new service. Statistics show that 80% of contract job orders come from a recruiter’s current client base, so start by notifying all your direct hire clients that you now offer contract staffing. Also, ask current candidates if they are willing to work on contract. This will help you build a pool of contract candidates. Finally, make sure your existing marketing vehicles (website, social media profiles, business cards, marketing documents, etc.) contain your contract staffing message. How do I figure out the bill rate and pay rate? Negotiating rates can seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. First, note that most contractors are paid on an hourly basis, so the bill rate charged to the client and the contractor pay rate will both be hourly. We recommend obtaining a range of bill rates the client would be willing to pay up front so that you can negotiate with confidence. Then, you will need to determine the contractor pay rate. Start by taking the annual salary for a comparable direct hire position and dividing it by 2,080 (the average number of full-time hours per year). You can then multiply that pay rate by a markup to get the hourly bill rate. The average markup for professional, technical, and healthcare nationwide is currently 1.63, but that can vary based on industry, location, demand for the position, and other factors. The spread between the bill rate and the pay rate covers taxes, unemployment, Workers’ Compensation, professional liability, administrative costs, and your recruiter profit. Still confused? Don’t worry. A quality back-office provider will help you through it. For instance, by asking some simple questions, Top Echelon Contracting, Inc. can generate a recruiter “Quote” that includes a matrix to help you negotiate the bill rate and pay rate. It covers a $20 bill rate spread and $11 pay rate spread, so if the client or contractor try to negotiate a different rate, you can see how that will impact your recruiter profit (which is also hourly). What if a client doesn’t pay the invoice for hours already paid to the contractor? If you run your own back-office, this is one of the biggest risks you take on. Collecting on unpaid invoices will be your responsibility, and if they prove uncollectible, you will have to take the loss. If you are outsourcing, be sure to ask the back-office about their collection practices.  Some service providers involve the recruiter in the process and may hold you responsible for all or a portion of unpaid invoices. This is one area where it pays to do your homework when selecting a back-office – in this case, it all comes down to the money. Do I have to sign a contract with a back-office? That depends on which back-office you select. This should be one of the main questions you ask, because a contract could tie you into using their services exclusively or for a certain length of time. You could also be opening yourself up to potential co-employment liability, depending on how the terms are phrased. You need to be very certain which entity is functioning as the legal W-2 employer of record for your contractors. How should I explain why I have outsourced the back-office? Simply tell your client that you have outsourced the administrative tasks so you can focus on the recruiting aspects of the placement. Depending on the back-office, they will become the contractors’ legal W-2 employer, handling payroll, legal compliance, Workers’ Compensation, unemployment insurance, and all the employment tasks, and giving the contractor access to group benefits that you could not provide on your own. Most importantly, assure your client that YOU will still be their main [...read more...]

Should You Hire a Recruiter to Focus on Contract Staffing?

There is no doubt that contract staffing is continuing to increase in almost all technical and professional sectors. As a reminder, the top five industries for contract staffing in 2014 were:     IT (consistently a strong field) Engineering/Manufacturing Healthcare (degreed professionals) Accounting and Finance Business Professionals Are you considering adding contract staffing to your business model? If so, you have probably wondered if you should hire new staff to work solely on contracting. There are essentially two pieces of a contract staffing business: 1) The FRONT-OFFICE job order and candidate recruiting tasks 2) The BACK-OFFICE administrative, legal and financial requirements The good news? You don’t have to hire someone  to handle the back-office tasks if you outsource them to a full service back-office provider. Additionally, the ramp-up time is significantly less if you outsource the back-office. You can place a contractor in a matter of hours instead of the months it would take to establish your own Workers’ Compensation, payroll funding, legal contracts, payroll processing, taxes, insurance, etc. Even MORE good news…  Since 1992, we have worked with recruiting firms who have added contract staffing to their business model without hiring any additional recruiting staff. We have also worked with firms who have decided to add a recruiter who focuses exclusively on contract placements. In the end, there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to your firm’s unique requirements and aims. Let’s consider the pros and cons of both avenues.  Using Existing Staff/Recruiters The biggest “pro” of utilizing your existing staff (or doing it yourself if you are a one-man show) is keeping your overhead low. Moreover, our statistics show that 80% of a firm’s contract staffing business comes from their existing direct hire clients. Many firms and clients already have a strong working relationship entailing a great deal of trust, so it is easy to transfer that relationship to contract staffing. The potential con here lies in the learning curve. Thankfully, it isn’t that steep. For recruiters new to contract staffing, learning how to set the rates is a common challenge, but it is not nearly as complicated as it looks. If you are working with a contract staffing back-office, they can lead you through the entire process to make certain you are quoting fair and reasonable rates with the maximum amount of recruiter profit. Hiring Contract Staffing Recruiters The “pro” in this situation is that the recruiting firm can hire someone who already has experience with contract staffing. That way, the recruiter hits the ground running with little to no training. If you are looking to aggressively build the contract staffing side of your business, it is also helpful to have someone who is completely focused on contract job orders. Of course, unlike your current team, this new recruiter won’t have an established relationship with your clients. This could initially be a stumbling block, and your clients may not like having to work with different recruiters for direct hire and contract. What’s Best for YOUR Firm? Again, there is no definitive right way. We have seen great success using both approaches. And in some cases, a recruiter has started doing contract staffing with existing staff and it became so successful that he/she had to hire additional recruiters to handle the large volume of contract job orders.  It ultimately comes down to what is best for your firm. Perhaps statistics will also factor into your decision. We analyzed the data of recruiters making contract placements with our back-office: Only 11% hired additional staff, while the other 89% started offering contracting by doing it themselves or using their existing staff. Rest assured that no matter which choice you make, you have already increased the value of your firm simply by adding contract [...read more...]

The Hidden Costs of Obamacare

As a professional in the business world, you are likely aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also referred to as Obamacare) is not without costs, but some are more apparent than others. Among the obvious requirements, individuals must purchase health insurance or pay a penalty for non-compliance, unless they are exempt. Additionally, employers that are subject to the law must offer health insurance to employees and their dependents or be faced with a penalty. One of the hidden costs of Obamacare is the administrative drain. The tracking and paperwork burden that has fallen to businesses can cost thousands of dollars and countless hours of productivity. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard, as they were typically operating on a tight margin even before the new law became effective. Now, they are drowning in the paperwork that is required to track workers’ hours, the business’ liability for health insurance premiums, and the resulting cost calculations. Those that choose to outsource the new administrative burden to human resources providers and payroll services save on time, but still have to pay for those extra services. According to a survey by the National Small Business Association, ACA compliance costs small businesses $15,000 per year on average. While painful for the businesses that have to comply, these new burdens present opportunities for recruiters. One way or another, compliance requires hiring. Some companies will add additional HR or payroll personnel to their core staff, and other companies may simply hire contractors to handle their paperwork [...read more...]

Are You Protecting Yourself from Negligent Hiring Claims?

Do you run background checks when placing individuals in direct hire or contract positions? If not, you should highly consider it. Negligent hiring claims are made when there is something in the individual’s history that could have predicted the offense in question. Commonly, negligent hiring lawsuits emerge because of one oversight – neglecting to do background checks. Having a background screening program is vital to help mitigate risk and protect your business from litigation and adverse publicity. It’s in your best interest to conduct a background check on your candidates after an offer has been extended. Top Echelon Contracting, Inc. (TEC) runs background checks on all its contractors through background screening vendor IntelliCorp.  As a benefit of our national contract with them, customers we refer to IntelliCorp through our preferred vendor program can get discounted rates on a variety of services, including validated criminal searches, SSN verification, employment and education verifications, motor vehicle reports, drug testing, credit reports, professional license verifications, and I9 and E-Verify services.         Discount Offer IntelliCorp is accredited through the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and provides cost-effective screening packages and easy-to-use services. Through the preferred vendor referral program, you will enjoy the following benefits: Preferred pricing System & product training sessions Compliance information/online sample forms Personalized customer support Criminal product validation Secure online report ordering & retrieval To take advantage of this preferred pricing, go to the Preferred Vendors page of our website: https://www.topecheloncontracting.com/about/preferred-vendors/ For more information, call IntelliCorp at (800) 539-3717, ext. [...read more...]

Should You Ignore Job Hoppers?

(Original post date 9/6/11, updated 3/11/15) For many recruiters, the knee-jerk reaction to the question of whether or not job hoppers should be overlooked is a resounding “Yes!” After all, your clients don’t want to pay you good money to place a candidate, only to have to do it all over again in a few months. But you might want to think twice before uniformly rejecting resumes that show a pattern of frequent job switching. As De Lara mentions in her article, “In Defense of Recruiting the Job Hopper,”  relying too heavily on a candidate’s resume dates to determine whether they are qualified for a position is often a big mistake. Job hopping can actually be the sign of a high performer who thrives on challenge and is easily bored. Although these workers may not stay for a long period of time, their potential contribution could be bigger than that of a long-tenured employee who is “boxed in a comfort zone.” Rather than simply passing them over based on their resume timelines, consider giving them a chance to explain their job-hopping ways. Times have changed. As one recruiter pointed out, “The reality [is] that with this and previous recessions, and with this slowest of all time recovery, really good people are under-employed or holding on to leaky lifeboat positions for survival.” People have had to do whatever it takes to get through the recession, including switching jobs frequently. For this reason and others, you are going to find fewer and fewer people who have spent long portions of their career with one company. Still, it’s understandable that you might shy away from job-hopping candidates for your direct placements. They are, however, perfect contract candidates for the following reasons: Contract assignments will give them the constant challenge they crave. They are quick learners who are undaunted by new, demanding situations. They can make an immediate impact by working on critical deadlines and projects. They can pad their resumes with a wealth of knowledge, skills, and references. They may be able to bring a competitive advantage to the table that another candidate could not provide. So before you overlook a candidate for switching jobs too many times, consider how this perceived weakness could actually be an asset for your [...read more...]