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Top Tips for Working with a Staffing Agency in 2021

Using a staffing agency allows you as an employer to focus on your business's growth. Follow our tips to streamline your process.
February 2021 — 10 min read
Tips for working with a staffing agency

Did you know staffing is a 174 billion dollar industry and one of B2B services' fastest-growing sectors? There are over 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies in the U.S., operating over 39,000 offices combined. So why are staffing agencies becoming such a prominent and powerful resource in today’s workforce?

Locating and hiring candidates is tedious and complicated—especially now as businesses transition to remote strategies. Precisely why staffing agencies coordinate companies with a global pool of potential job seekers. By utilizing a staffing firm and a hiring manager, you save time and make multiple connections outside your direct scope, so you fill openings faster. Streamline operations and uncover opportunities you might not discover using a staffing agency.

How Staffing Agencies Serve Your Business

Staffing agencies verify references, screen resumes, shortlists candidates, schedule interviews, and place candidates who work on-site on the employer’s behalf. The best part? Applicants can work as employees of the staffing agency under the employer. This way, any risks of poor matches are on them. But before you begin exploring the best possible employment agency sites, it’s essential to know the different services they provide.

Contract staffing services

Contract staffing, or temporary staffing, occurs when an employer engages a staffing agency to provide a candidate for completing a short-term project. These staffing agencies cover the costs associated with contract personnel. This typically includes but is not limited to general liability insurance (FICA, FUTA, SUTA, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance). Contract staffing firms also distribute year-end W2’s for employers.

Contract-to-hire staffing services

During a contract-to-hire agreement, an employer and staffing firm agree to terms on a predetermined length of employment before a full-time offer can be made to the employer's candidate.

Once the contract period has been completed, you as an employer have several options. You can hire the candidate to their payroll as a full-time employee, continue the contract if both parties agree, or end the contract.

By working with a specialized staffing agency, you will have the opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s skills, work habits and gauge the candidate fit in your unique culture and working environment before a direct offer is made. Perhaps the biggest benefit of contract-to-hire is flexibility in the hiring process.

Direct hire staffing services

Direct hire staffing involves employers engaging a staffing agency to fill a long term position. The candidate is recruited by the staffing agency and then is placed with an employer. The candidate receives benefits associated with being a full-time employee of the employer. The staffing agency is compensated by receiving a predetermined fee based on a percentage of the candidate’s first-year compensation.

Tips for Selecting a Staffing Agency

Staffing organizations want the best employees possible for your company—exactly why it's vital to be transparent about your demands when working with staffing agencies. Communicate openly and directly about your job opening, your company’s goals, and the type of candidate you desire.

Tips for Selecting a Staffing Agency

Do you need help searching for a staffing agency? Follow our tips to streamline your process.

Clearly Define The Position and Necessary Skills

78% of employers think they set clear expectations and communicate well during hiring; only 47% of candidates feel the same. Take time to define the skills, personality type, goals, and objectives for the position. Explain your culture and values so the recruiter can understand the kind of candidate you seek.

Ensure The Position is Ready to Be Filled

You may want to contact an IT staffing agency and have them start sending you candidates when the position is 5-6 months away from starting. Why? Candidates they send now will (if they’re good) will likely not be on the market by the time you are ready to hire. This wastes everyone’s time as a staffing agency should find you candidates for a role in days or weeks, never months—unless it’s tough to fill a position or executive-level position.

Find a Skilled Agency

Work with a skilled staffing agency that makes you feel comfortable and stays engaged. Ensure they ask the right questions when taking the job order and if they follow up after submitting candidates. Also, make sure they stay engaged after a candidate has been placed and provide excellent customer service.

Keep a Dedicated Point of Contact

Try and work with one point of contact from start to finish. If you are dealing with multiple people, you can get lost in translation. Find a recruiter who works with you every step of the way until you find the right candidate for the position.

Look at The Agencies Current Job Openings

Suppose you see a staffing agency is looking for several candidates similar to the position you are looking to fill. In that case, it is typically a good sign they have an idea of the talent available for your position.

Ask How The Staffing Agency Accesses and Screen Candidates

Ensure your agency doesn’t cut corners and aren’t floating resumes over to you without the candidate’s knowledge—this can happen. Agencies should be speaking with the candidate and screening them for your position's skills and abilities.

Screening candidates ensure your candidate has proper employment eligibility status.

The recruiters should also check references with former supervisors before submitting a candidate.

Work With Specialists, Not Generalists

Never engage an engineering staffing agency to find an accountant. While obvious, it’s important to remember a skilled technical staffing agency has spent years talking to trained industry talent from a range of industries. They’ve built up their talent pools, giving you access to niche candidates who have the skills for your project.

Give Precise Job Requirements

Never be vague with staffing agencies. For example, “I need a mechanical engineer” is not specific enough.” Ensure you give staffing firms the exact requirements you require. This saves time when filling roles.

Understand Your Options

Understand every service the staffing firm provides. Contract, contract-to-hire, or direct hire services are just some they could offer. Most agencies can also pay candidates if you want to try a contract before offering a long term full-time position. In fact, 35% of temp staffing employees were offered permanent positions by their clients after working a temporary job, while 66% of those workers accepted employment offers.

Know Your Budget

As an employer, you may think agencies will only send candidates at the top of the pay range. However, an agency’s goal is to find you the best candidates available and never rule out a candidate under your budget to make more money. The more data you provide the staffing agency, the better candidate the recruiter will provide.

Be Patient When Expecting Resumes

It might take time to find candidates for specific high-level technical jobs—precisely why you should create a timeline with your recruiter so they can allocate the appropriate recruiting resources.

Communicate Quickly and Effectively

When working with a staffing agency, it is crucial to maintain the lines of communication. Make sure you provide details about the work environment, benefits package, and what makes your business unique. Additionally, the faster you offer feedback to your recruiter, the better. They need to know why or why not a candidate works for you.

Remember, poor communication is one of the biggest reasons staffing agencies move to other positions where the hiring managers engage more and respect the recruiter’s time. If a staffing firm does not provide feedback on candidates, they can’t enhance their search and find the candidate you need.

Be Honest and Direct

Honesty is always best when talking with recruiters. It won’t hurt any feelings if you feel a candidate lacks a particular skill set. Plus, they will let the candidate know they’re not a fit tactfully.

Stay in Contact After The Hire is Made

It’s essential to keep your recruiter informed after you have brought on an employer. Also, provide honest feedback quickly and promptly. Is the hire a fit, or are there any challenges? If there are, they can help provide insight and resolve the issue the best way possible.

Why Use a Staffing Agency?

The five leading industries that utilize temporary, on-demand workers include retail, finance, healthcare, professional services, and public service. However, due to the pandemic and need/potential for skilled remote help, most industries are jumping on board at a rapid rate.

Using a staffing agency allows you as an employer to focus on your business's growth, take on additional short term projects without adding to long term headcount while having the ability to downsize staff and overhead when the projects are finished.

Most business owners are typically seeking to maximize profits while minimizing unnecessary business expenditures risks. For most companies, the most considerable operational cost is staffing and employment.

During a year, America’s staffing companies hire approximately 15 million temporary and contract employees—exactly why employers are looking into alternative ways to cut costs when training and testing new employees.

Have you ever used a staffing agency? What do you think? Are they worth the hype, or do you find it easier to hire new employees independently?

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