5 Questions to Ask Your Interviewer Before Joining a Staffing Company

From Joe Bradley 9/10/2018

So, you’ve decided to explore a career opportunity in the staffing space. Congratulations! The staffing industry is a global business that provides a key resource to growing companies looking for hard-to-find talent. This is especially true in the high-tech space, where talent is at a premium and hiring companies need strong staffing partners more than ever.

As you embark on your journey, you will have the opportunity to speak with many firms that will be looking to build your skills. Black Diamond Networks is an active participant in the campus recruiting scene as we are always looking for junior recruiters and junior account executives who are interested in getting into the highly lucrative technical staffing industry. The question is, what direction do you want to go? What kind of company do you want to work for? As you explore your career opportunities, here are some important questions you should consider asking potential employers during the interview process.

How much training will I receive?

Every company has a different training model and will teach you to function within that framework. The content you’re taught and the duration of the training provided will be the foundation on which you build your long-term success. Many staffing agencies invest minimally into the training process and operate off of a “sink or swim” model where new employees are hired in bulk with the expectation that only 25-30 percent of whom will end up being successful.

You’ll want to dig into this question, as the right company will be willing to invest in your long-term success. Here at Black Diamond Networks, we have a director of learning and development who has built what we call “BDN University”, a comprehensive 3-month program designed to give our new hires the skills they’ll need to be successful with us. Constant support and learning opportunities ensure our new hires are ready to hit the ground running when they’ve graduated from our training program.

For more information about the training programs at Black Diamond Networks, read our recent blog post.

Tell me about the quality of my teammates?

Success in the staffing industry is always heavily reliant upon teamwork and collaboration. A recruiter’s success is directly tied to the quality of the job listings generated by the account executives. Likewise, an account executives’ success is directly tied to the quality of candidates being interviewed by the recruiters. You should be prepared to ask questions centered around the number of job listings taken, current recruiter/account executive tenure with the company, and other similar topics.

Black Diamond Networks has been in business since 1999, and over the years we have built up an impressive list of clients and contract candidates. New hires, either as junior recruiters or junior account executives, will have the opportunity to tap into this existing network for quick ramp up and income growth. We also have a well-tenured team where over 60 percent of our employees have been with BDN for more than five years. Many of our employees have over 10 years of service to the company and our first employee, who we hired in 1999, is still employed with BDN today. This longevity is a valuable resource when it comes to supporting our new hires.

Can you explain the compensation structure? Will I get a base salary? Is it a draw?

Ultimately, all recruiter and account executive roles in the staffing industry are sales-based positions where the bulk of your earnings will come in the form of commission. The most successful people in our business understand that their base salary is simply a starting point. With that being said, you’ll want to make sure you fully understand how the base salary structure correlates to your total earnings. Many staffing agencies offer a large base salary with minimal, or even zero, commission opportunities to start. This is especially true with larger, publicly traded staffing firms. These companies typically have the resources to pay a higher base salary that will lure junior candidates, while their commission structure allows the firm, its board of directors, and its shareholders to reap the benefits of its employee’s hard work.

Other companies may entice you a high base salary as a “draw”, meaning that you will earn a high base salary, but are required to pay it back through your future deals. This cycle makes it difficult to gain any traction beyond the amount of your actual draw.

Finally, some companies will quote you a base salary, but then only pay you a portion of that amount while you are still in training. Here at Black Diamond Networks, we pay a competitive base that is not a draw, and you receive that base salary even while you’re in training.

How does the commission plan work? Will I receive commission on every deal?

This question is hugely important as the answer could have a significant impact on your earnings. As previously discussed, the bulk of your income as a staffing professional will come in the form of commissions based upon your sales. Every company in the staffing industry has a different commission structure. Some companies will require you “build up” your gross revenue in order to earn the highest commission percentages. You’ll hear comments like, “we have a great plan that rewards you for building up your weekly revenue, and in time you’ll be able to earn up to XX% of your revenue!” What they usually don’t tell you is that you’ll have to step up to that top tier and most employees will never make it to that level.

Some companies even have a first tier that starts out at zero percent, meaning you earn nothing in commission for your first few deals. Here at Black Diamond Networks, our commission plan is structured on a deal-by-deal basis that reflects the gross profit made on each deal. For example, if your very first deal was at the highest gross profit percentage, you would earn the highest possible commission percentage for that deal. This is true whether you have been with BDN for two months or two years. At Black Diamond Networks, you do not need to work your way up to the higher tiers, allowing you to be rewarded more quickly for your hard work.

What about the culture?

How does the company reward your hard work? Do employees socialize with one another outside of work hours?  Is there an overall positive attitude amongst employees?

Let’s face it – any sales role can be a grind. You’re asked to make a high volume of calls, build long-term relationships from scratch, and rely on the decisions of others to increase your personal earnings. You will want to ask these questions to make sure the company has a plan in place to keep you feeling fresh and energized about your job.

For example, here at Black Diamond Networks, we plan at least one event every quarter to reward the hard work of our employees and give them opportunities to socialize and decompress outside the office. Recent employee appreciation events have included summer kickoff parties at local restaurants, boat cruises, epic holiday parties, and more. Additionally, BDN employees are encouraged to foster a “work hard/play hard” mentality that includes events like mid-day workouts, after-hours competitive sports leagues, golf outings, dinners, and other events.

We'd love to meet you!

Whether you are a recent college graduate looking for their first position in sales and recruiting, or a seasoned industry professional, Black Diamond Networks has the culture, benefits, and compensation package that your career has been looking for. We’re currently hiring technical recruiters and account executives in all four of our office locations.

At Black Diamond Networks, we believe that our company’s success starts with a commitment to our employee’s growth. If you’re a motivated individual looking to grow your career with a company that cares, look no further than Black Diamond Networks. Work hard, make money, and give back with the team at BDN.

Ready to get started? Check out our open positions today! Interested in learning more about opportunities at Black Diamond Networks? Call our Talent Acquisition Manager, Joe Bradley, at 978.289.9754.