Review a Recruiter

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How to Adopt a Client-First Approach to Staffing Agency Success

Jul 26, 2023

More and more staffing agencies are prioritizing candidate-first business models. But there’s a problem: candidates aren’t your end client. If you want to grow, you need to adopt a client-first approach. 

One company leading the charge on this client-first approach is Amare Medical Network, an agency building their business around the central question: “How do we orient our operating structure to best support the client?”

Over the past three years, their client-first model has resulted in:

  • Winning the Top 100 Staffing Firms to Work For in 2023 from World Staffing Awards
  • Winning the Top Rated Healthcare Staffing Firm award from Great Recruiters twice
  • 60% revenue growth from 2021-2022, then 111% from 2022-2023

All this to say: Amare’s approach works, and there’s a whole lot we can learn from them. Here’s a summary of a recent conversation between our CXO Adam Conrad and Amare President & CEO Scott Shelander. 

What is a client-first model of success?

Many staffing agencies have set processes and try to force-fit their clients into them. Amare operates differently, working to align their unique resources, processes, and people to best meet client goals. 

According to Shelander, “When we onboard a new client, we work to understand what their needs and priorities are. Then, from an operational standpoint, we’re able to execute.” 

Culture: attract and retain the right people

For Shelander, the value of a culture is simple: “You create a winning culture, you bring the right people into the organization.”

Especially in a post-Covid, remote world, people have more opportunities for employment than before. They’re always going to have the opportunity to work somewhere else. If they’re going to stick around, they need more than money—a deeper purpose behind why they show up to work.

For Amare, culture is key to not only attracting the right people, but keeping them with the organization. They do so by making sure they’re supported to do their jobs and execute the mission effectively. 

Amare’s leadership is constantly asking whether their people have the resources, tools, and support necessary to do their jobs. The more available support, the more likely they are to succeed—and stick around. 

What’s more, Amare prioritizes creating an atmosphere where it’s fun to win and be successful. This extends not only among their internal staff, but also the care providers they work with. 

As times toughen for many recruiting agencies, Shelander reminds people of the importance of taking care of people. “These people are what’s going to get you through the tough times. The more you support them, the more they’ll hold up the organization.”

Brand: building a strong reputation from the inside out

Amare’s core brand principle is that they deliver care worthy of a thousand smiles. As an organization, their brand efforts are geared to make sure the market perceives them the same way they view themselves.

In the recruiting and staffing sector, this can be an uphill climb.  “Google your brand. Or Google ‘recruiters are’ and see what comes up,” said Shelander. Last we checked, the top results are: overpaid, trash, shady, pushy, annoying, sociopaths.

Unfortunately, this is the perception most people have in mind when they engage with recruiters. Amare’s brand team, then, works double time to build a brand from the inside out. They start with internal reviews and feedback, then take the best of those insights and surface them on their website.

They adopt what Shelander calls the 32-second rule: “Within 32 seconds, you’re going to win or lose. If you have credibility coming into the conversation, it may give you more time in the conversation.” This is one of the main reasons Amare leverages Great Recruiters—to enable that credibility in the recruiting space. 

What’s more, Amare has won several coveted industry awards, further strengthening their reputation. This includes having multiple GR Certified recruiters, being a two-time Top Rated Healthcare Staffing Firm recipient, and also Winning the Top 100 Staffing Firms to Watch in 2023 from World Staffing Awards. 

Growth: increasing support for clients & candidates

In order to continue providing exceptional support to the clients and candidates they serve, staffing agencies have to grow. According to Shelander, Amare views growth holistically, encapsulating many areas:

  • Hitting financial & sales targets
  • Improving engagements with clients
  • Transplanting client needs into action and processes across the business
  • Elevating candidate experiences to maintain long-term relationships

While Amare has a client-first model, the candidate is at the heart of what they do. The more resources and support they give to care providers, the more easily they’ll retain them. A solid candidate base, in turn, benefits the clients. 

“It’s about creating an ecosystem where they don’t want to leave,” said Shelander. 

Additionally, Amare is adamant that putting more resources into care providers’ hands and maintaining the human touch is key to their growth. “Every care provider has a point of contact, someone dedicated to supporting them along their entire journey,” said Shelander.

This is part of the reason why Amare is so adamant about collecting feedback. It keeps both candidates and clients engaged along the process of continual improvement and growth. 

How technology enables a client-first approach 

Technology is key to Amare’s client-first approach. However, just buying and onboarding the technology won’t cut it. The key is to use it—it’s like buying a gym membership but never showing up. 

Shelander made clear that Amare is very selective in the technology they use. They laid out a technology roadmap to help them understand which tools would move the needle. He was very clear: they don’t spend on software that doesn’t offer value to the organization.

As such, they have a lean, mean tech stack: 

  • Applicant tracking system. The center of the roadmap is Labor Edge, their ATS and what Shelander called the “nexus” of their operation. 
  • Experience management. Great Recruiters to automate reviews and different stages in the candidate process
  • Referral automation. Staffing Referrals drives Amare’s #1 lead source—referrals.

The goal of their technology: remove friction from the process. This drives a great experience not only for their team, but also for the clients and candidates they serve. 

Final thoughts on Amare’s client-first approach

Amare’s client-first approach has generated undeniable success for their organization. By focusing their efforts on culture, brand, and growth, they’ve built an ecosystem that supports care providers, serves the client, and takes care of their internal team. 

In other words: they’ve become a model for staffing agencies—regardless of whether or not you’re in healthcare

To learn more about how Great Recruiters helps Amare measure the experiences they create down to the desk level—and sourced 20% of their referral business—check out our case study.