Best Staffing Agencies

Are Staffing Agencies Worth It? The Pros and Cons of Staffing Agencies

Consider the benefits and drawbacks before partnering with a staffing firm for your hiring.
October 2020 — 8 min read

Recruiters and staffing agencies will tell you the concrete benefits, but it’s also important to note some of the intangible aspects of partnering with a staffing service. In this article, we'll analyze the pros and cons of staffing agencies before diving in how to make the right choice for your company. 

The Pros of Working With a Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies are all different. They can specialize in certain placements, such as tech or medical or general office. They can focus on direct placements or short-term projects or some combination of both.

But there are a few things that staffing agencies have in common, including these benefits. As you consider your options and how to move forward with a staffing partner, these are the things to think about on a deeper level.

1. Provides Short-Term or Seasonal Solutions

Probably the biggest benefit of using a staffing agency is the ability to work with contract employees. There are many possible needs for your business that don’t require long-term or full-time employees. When these needs arise, having a resource to find employees who understand the nature of short-term or seasonal work will be critical. There are some considerations for seasonal employees as defined by the Department of Labor, so working with an agency that handles these positions regularly is the right solution.

2. Mitigates Employee Risk

Any hiring is a risk for your business. No matter how much pre-screening and vetting you do for a new employee, you are always taking a chance. That’s one of the benefits of working with a staffing service. You share the risk for the employee and if things aren’t working out, you have a built-in safety net. The staffing agency also holds all of the necessary insurance, such as workers' compensation, so situations on the job won’t impact your operations in the long run.

3. Allows You to Try Before You Buy

In staffing, recruiters will often use the phrase “contract-to-hire” or “temp-to-perm.” This means the employee is working on a temporary basis for an established timeframe so both the employer and employee can determine if the company and job are the right match. This evaluation period allows both parties to see for themselves and if it doesn’t work out, the staffing agency can work on a replacement for both the job and the assignment.

4. Get Access to More Talent

They say that finding a job is all about who you know. The same may be true for finding a qualified employee. Networking may be one of the most important tools, and partnering with a staffing agency can give you access to their entire network of talent. Recruiters specialize in sourcing and pre-screening people who have exactly the skill level you’re looking for so you now have access to the work they’ve done and the candidates they’ve discovered.

5. Saves on Cost and Time

Hiring is not inexpensive. When you look at the complete process from start to finish, you notice that it’s not only the money but also the time you spend on the experience. Advertising, reviewing potentially hundreds of resumes, conducting initial phone screens, scheduling interviews, meeting candidates, handling reference and background checks, and making the offer will all take time away from your regular work. When you partner with a staffing agency, it’s all included in your contract agreement.

Dallas-based CornerStone Staffing says, “There is no getting around the various expenses involved in the hiring process. But a staffing partner will work with you to create a staffing plan that fits your budget. You pay for the services without the additional cost of employment until you’re ready to hire an employee on your own payroll in the future.”

6. Improves Time to Hire

With all of these steps from advertising to making an offer, doing it yourself while still handling the money-making aspects of your business can take a long time. Jobs can go unfilled, which will also cost your company and impact your current employee morale. There’s a benefit to hiring quickly, as long as you can still make a quality hiring decision.

The Cons of Working with Staffing Firms & Recruiters

Not every agency experience will be a good one. And for as many success stories that are out there, you’ll find a few nightmares. There can be a lot of reasons for these relationships to go wrong, including a lack of chemistry between recruiters and hiring managers. Knowing can be half the battle, and cons can always be mitigated or overcome.

1. Mismatch With Your Culture

One challenge in today’s workplace is often referred to as “culture fit.” That means the individual fits in with the current culture of the office, including the current employees. There’s always a sense that a short-term or temporary employee is not part of the team, which can cause personality classes with the rest of the organization. However, there are a few ways to manage this process in-house by making the experience better for your team and the incoming employees.

CornerStone Staffing Agency offers this advice: “Many hiring managers focus on the candidate’s “fit” with their corporate culture. But what if we looked at the issue from another direction? Rather than ensuring that the individual will fit well with your current team, imagine what they can add to the employment experience at your company. What do they bring to the table that no one else does?”

2. Leads to Incomplete Training and Onboarding

Onboarding is the process by which new employees are integrated into your company. It’s not just about skills training, though that is a part of it, but also about the overall experience and expectations. When working with staffing agencies, you may not be in control of the training and onboarding for temporary employees. You may also find that while an incoming contractor possesses the skills you’re looking for, they may also bring with them some bad habits that don’t mess with your procedures.

3. Alters Your Recruiting and Hiring Process

While working with a staffing agency you also won’t have control over the individual aspects of the hiring process. You won’t see the incoming resumes; the agency will only submit a handful to you. You may fear that you’re missing out on other candidates if you can’t have access to all of the information at your fingertips. There is a measure of trust in any staffing partner relationship, and if you don’t have that it may not be the right staffing agency for your company.

How To Determine the Fit of the Staffing Agency

Not every staffing agency is created equal, either. You may discover the individual pros and cons of various recruiting partners you talk to.

For instance, some staffing agencies may not understand your company or make an effort to, thereby resulting in less than ideal candidates. Look for those that have recruiters and talent matches that understand your situation and therefore can make great staffing recommendations. If you need to hire a developer, then an IT agency makes more sense than one focused on light industrial work.

You’ll need to vet a staffing agency in the same way you would consider any other vendor for your business to ensure the right business relationship is cultivated.

Consider Freelancers For Additional Staffing Help

Staffing agencies aren’t your only option for short-term or contract employers. Many people are engaging in what the industry calls the “gig economy.” Freelancers are different from temporary employees in that they work independently. Rather than having a financial arrangement with the staffing agency, you would pay the freelancer directly. They would not receive a W2 at tax time, but your company would have to issue a 1099.

Conclusion: The Pros and Cons of Staffing Agencies

Ultimately, the decision to partner with staffing agencies will be a personal business choice. It has to work for your company, industry, size of the business, and overall staffing needs. Part of the process is to determine your staffing plan to understand what you need to do next if the need to hire arises. That’s why it’s recommended to cultivate a relationship with a staffing agency ahead of any needs. The feeling of desperation can lead to poor hiring decisions, which is what partnering with a recruiter is supposed to help you avoid.

Understanding the pros and cons of staffing agencies will save you potential frustration and even heartache as you find the best employment solution for your organization moving forward.

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