Staffing Strategies to Win the Recruiting Game: A Q&A with Brian Burnes

Posted by Bond Team | February 23, 2016 |

The staffing market is all systems go at the moment, with industry analysts expecting record growth in 2016. With so much competition, winning the recruiting game requires innovative approaches and tools for identifying and placing candidates. We spoke with Brian Burnes, a senior recruiter at Azule Staffing, to get his take on staffing strategies recruiters can use to elevate their performances.

Q: To start off, can you share what types of candidates you are placing?Azule Staffing

At Azule Staffing, we deal in a wide variety of positions, from the clerical to the professional. I tend to focus primarily on the technical side – product managers, Certified ScrumMasters, Agile coaches, business analysts, QA analysts, and other types of technical professionals.

Q: Can you share a couple of your go-to staffing strategies for finding skilled candidates?

The best candidates I get are from referrals. When I reach out to someone and they’re not looking to move, the first thing I say is, “Thank you for taking my call … do you have any referrals for us?” Obviously someone like a project manager is going to know great people because they’re working in the trenches.

Next, build and work your network. When I want to identify professionals within a certain area, I’ll reach out to all of those I’ve worked with in the past, also asking for referrals. Then I know what kind of talent I’m working with.

A few weeks ago, I was working with a project manager for an opening. He was calling in just to check on the status of that position, and he happened to mention a friend of his who had great experience. “Are you interested in talking with him?” he asked. I told him sure, of course. Turns out the friend was the perfect person to submit for a role that had opened up just a few hours before.

Q: How do you recommend maintaining a strong network?

Stay in contact with people, not only when you have a job to fill, but to help them professionally. For example, in a project management network, I’ll send people articles on Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall technologies via email or LinkedIn. When I call, contacts know I’m not just looking for something, but that I also want to help them develop professionally.

Q: How do you know when it is right to present a candidate to a client?

That starts with how well you know the client. One of the things that I like to do, in addition to providing paperwork, is to talk to my client. I ask, “What are the top 3-5 skills – both technical skills and soft skills – you’re looking for?” When I’m writing up candidates and can cover each of those areas, I know it’s a fit.

Q: How do you know when to cease engagement?

The relationship doesn’t stop once you make a placement. Staying in touch with the employee and the hiring manager is critical. Then you can get a sense of how the person is performing and how the project is going. That way you can put out any fire while it’s a candle instead of a forest fire.

A lot of times I have to end an employee role when a project goes from implementation to active phase. Instead of trying to continue with the same person, bringing in someone with a more fitting skill set is best. Again, you want constant contact with both contractor and client. The worst thing is to be blindsided.

Q: What technology do you rely on to support finding and presenting skilled candidates?

I use a wide range of tools to find and place candidates. LinkedIn is one I use heavily. ZipRecruiter, Dice, and Monster are other tools I use for various functions.

When submitting candidates, 50 percent of the time I’m emailing summaries. The other half of the time I’m submitting clients through Fieldglass, PeopleFluent, or another system used by larger companies.

Q: What technology can you not live without that helps you find and place the best candidates?

Monster – it has a lot of discovery functionality I rely heavily on.

Q: What is your overarching staffing strategy for effective recruiting?

Transparency. As a recruiter, you need to build stronger relationships with candidates. Being honest and straightforward allows you to do that.

Recruiting is a game. I see transparency as the way to win in what is a very competitive market.


Winning the recruiting game takes skill, training, perseverance, and the right partner with the right technology. Bond’s AdaptSuite recruiting software offers recruiters powerful candidate sourcing capabilities through its integrations with LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, Broadbean, Indeed, and eQuest. Contact us today to schedule your AdaptSuite demo.

Category: Recruiting

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