We find ourselves being swept along in the current of the COVID-19 pandemic: lives disrupted, jobs lost, routines shattered, incomes reduced or vanished. But let us not despair. With the United States starting to reopen and people anxious to get back to work, we need to be ready to help.

One way to help the recovery along is to stay with what you know best. You know how to recruit the best candidates for your clients. Keep in close touch with them so that you understand fully their problems and know their thoughts on short and long-term labor needs. Work with them now to plan for an orderly and speedy transition back to normalcy. Don’t be seduced by the impulse to stray from your familiar ground and experiment with fad schemes. Your reputation can be enhanced by being the source of calm, steady advice, and thoughtful assistance in difficult times.

When negotiating the terms of a placement, keep leverage for use when the market returns to normal. Don’t give away too much on payment terms. Once given away, this ground is difficult to get back. If you must lengthen payment terms, suggest putting your candidate on a long-term contract and you will receive your full fee over the term of the contract. If the opportunity opens up and your client wants to convert your candidate to a direct hire, invoice your client for the remaining amount due to be paid within 30 days with no further guarantee. All parties can benefit: the employee is working, the client’s labor needs are served, you are receiving income, and the overall economy receives a nudge in the right direction.

Allow yourself to act quickly when the opportunity arises. Help the hiring managers that you are working with by clearly defining the benefits of utilizing contract labor. Overall labor costs and benefits burden can be reduced, the risk of maintaining direct hire staff is minimized, and projects can start to move forward again. Helping educate your clients on the benefits of adding contract labor will be appreciated.

Partner with a back-office provider to fill your client’s labor needs quickly. Get set up in advance so that you won’t have the stress of collecting timesheets, processing payroll, preparing invoices, tracking AR, covering taxes and insurances. Prepare yourself now by having an agreement in place which includes temp and contract as well as temp-to-hire options. Concentrate on what you do best – finding the right people for the job!

We all want to help the nation’s workers get back to work and put this nightmare behind us. The floodgates are starting to open. Let’s All Work Together for success.

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NAPS Harold B. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award Winner