July 26, 2018    |    By

Undoubtedly you have heard the terms employment agency and staffing agency and wondered if they were simply two different terms for the same thing. No, they are not. There are some very important differences between the two.

What Does an Employment Agency Do?

An employment agency specializes in placing qualified individuals in long term positions. They have a pool of individuals who are seeking work and they are contacted by employers who have positions to fill. The employment agency then sends qualified employees to the employer who is hiring and the employer decides whether or not to hire the individual.

What Does a Staffing Agency Do?

Staffing agencies work mainly with filling temporary positions for companies. These may be a result of vacations, family leave or a special project. Staffing agencies also provide temporary help during peak busy seasons. They send qualified individuals that have been pre-screened and tested to the employer who puts them to work on the assignment they have been sent to do.


There are some similarities between the two types of businesses. These similarities include:

  • Both work as a middleman between employers and employees, making it easier for both sides to find the greatest number of possible matches.
  • Both may offer long term employment although the employment agency is more likely to do so.

The Defining Differences

There are some major differences between an employment agency and a staffing agency.

  • Staffing agencies are always privately run while employment agencies can be either privately run or government run.
  • Staffing agencies may deal with every level of employment from entry to management, while employment agencies may limit their offerings to only mid-management or higher.
  • Employment agencies normally deal with a lot of different industries. Staffing agencies very often limit themselves to only a few related industries.
  • Employment agencies seek to place individuals in long term positions. Staffing agencies mainly place temporary employees.
  • Employment agencies do not hire employees themselves or pay the people they place. Staffing agencies actually hire their employees and they, not the client company, are the employer of record.
  • Staffing agency employees rarely need to interview with the business they are placed in for work. Employment agency workers are always interviewed and must be hired before working for a company.

Which One is Best?

Your needs as an employer are what determine whether an employment agency or a staffing agency is the best way to proceed. If you are looking to fill a long term position and are confident in your interviewing and hiring skills, an employment agency may suit your needs perfectly. However, if your available position is not long term and full-time or you would rather someone else do the hiring tasks, you are better off with a staffing agency. There are also other times when it makes more sense to hire a staffing agency.

Why Choose a Staffing Agency?

Choose a staffing agency when the following statements pertain to your position:

  • You are only looking to fill a temporary position.
  • You don’t want to deal with the hiring, testing, training process.
  • You don’t want to be responsible for keeping track of employment laws and taxes and would prefer these duties are handled outside the business.
  • You want to try out an employee before actually hiring them to your payroll.
  • You are looking for special skills that are difficult to find in your normal employee pool choices.

Why Choose an Employment Agency?

Choosing an employment agency makes the most sense if:

  • You have a long term position to fill.
  • You need to fill a higher skill level position.
  • You want the control of interviewing, training and being the one to deal with any discipline issues.

Many agencies are now a blend of both the traditional staffing and employment agencies and offer placement across a variety of fields. This is especially common in smaller markets where agencies offer more services in order to accommodate local business needs. More and more, staffing agencies are specializing in long term placements as well as handling temporary needs for their clients. Finding an agency that can successfully fill both long term and temporary positions, at all skill levels from entry level to upper management, is often the best fit for businesses. It is beneficial to find an agency that will be able to handle all your hiring needs so you are not having to use multiple vendors. This also allows you to partner with an agency that really gets to know your business and can help you make the right hiring decisions without the time and expense of recruiting and hiring on your own.


Make a great first impression at your next job interview.

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.