December 29, 2018    |    By

Knowing how a staffing agency works will make it easier to decide on whether or not to use a staffing agency when you next have employment needs.

The Process of How a Staffing Agency Works

Staffing agencies work very much like a human resource department within one company. They simply work on a larger scale, supplying employees to many different businesses. Some staffing agencies only work within one particular industry but many others have several departments, making it possible to find employees with a variety of skill sets. Let’s take a look at the entire process.


Step 1: Companies Reach Out

Companies contact the staffing agency to seek out employees to fit open positions. They give the agency an idea of what jobs are available within their company and the job descriptions for those positions. This allows them to seek employees with certain skills and avoid hiring ones that may not be easily placed in a particular area.


Step 2: Post Job Advertisements

In order to get a pool of possible employees to fill the positions they know are in demand, the staffing agency then places advertisements in the places where job seekers are looking. This can include both online and offline sources. The staffing agency may buy advertising space on specialized forums that cater to people who work in a certain industry. The most proactive agencies are constantly investing in their marketing and advertising to ensure they draw the most candidates and have a multitude of skill sets represented in their pool of candidates.


Step 3: Proactively Seek Out Candidates

The agency will also seek out employees who place job wanted ads. They’ll scour every avenue possible in order to find the largest number of candidates to fit the requirements of the places that are actively hiring. They may also hire individuals who have very good skills in a particular industry even if there is no current position open but there is a likelihood of such an employee being needed in the near future. This helps them reduce the time needed to find eligible candidates when such a position does open up.


Step 4: Users Apply

Employees seeking work answer the ad or other notification for openings. They apply as they would for any job. They fill out applications and submit a resume highlighting their skills and education. They may even specify exactly what kind of position they are seeking. This will be taken into account if they are hired so that they are not placed in a position for which they have no interest. These specialized requests from employees are rare, however, as it seriously limits the chances of being placed unless they are very highly skilled in a particular area.


Step 5: Applications and Resumes are Evaluated

Now the agency recruiters go through the applications and resumes they have received. They separate them into ones that are not a good fit for the agency and ones that have potential. Just like any other employer, they look for education, experience, and skill sets. Knowing what positions are actively open in the area, particular attention is paid to applicants who are most likely to fit the current need.


Step 6: Make Appointments with Potential Candidates

Next is the most time-consuming part of the process. The agency calls in each applicant that it feels has potential. An interview is conducted with each candidate. For each one that is still considered, depending on the client and position specifics, references may be checked, drug testing may be ordered if it is required, and there may be testing conducted. The applicants that have made it through all these stages are hired by the staffing agency.


Step 7: Match Qualifications to Desired Job Roles

The staffing agency recruiters now go back to the original requests made by businesses in the area and start matching up employees with required skills needed. They also consider things like personality fit with the business and specific requirements of the job such as specialized license or credentials.


Step 8: Job Seekers Consider Offers

The recruiter next approaches the employee with the details of the position and the employee decides whether or not they are interested in the position. If the candidate agrees, the recruiter contacts the company to let them know they have an interested candidate for the position position. Depending on the specific job they are hiring for, in some cases, employees are sent to the client to start work right away. In most cases, the recruiter will send a resume then set up interviews with the clients and any qualified candidates. The client then makes the ultimate decision on who to hire from the pre-screened candidates sent over by the agency. This step is especially important in highly skilled, long term positions.


What Type of Jobs do Staffing Agencies Have?

Staffing agencies, as stated, may hire for a wide variety of fields or may concentrate on only one industry. In either case, the types of positions they handle vary in terms of length.



Sometimes a business only needs someone to fill in for a regular employee who is on vacation or out on sick leave. Other times, they may have an increase in work that won’t last for long, such as during the summer or holidays. A special project may require a certain set of skills the rest of the company employees are not proficient at carrying out. Whatever the case, the business only needs someone for a short period of time so the staffing agency will meet that need. They will let the candidate know the approximate length of time they will be with the company.



There are two different instances when a temporary to hire assignment may be made. In one case, a company has a long term need to fill within their company and wants the option of “trying out” an employee to see if that person is going to work out in regards to both work and fitting in with the work environment. The agency will go through the recruiting process and the selected candidate stays on the agency’s payroll during the temporary period, which varies by agency and business preference. At the end of a successful temporary period, the candidate is typically hired to the business’s payroll as a regular employee.


Another instance may be where a company only has a temporary position available and a person is placed by the staffing agency. As the company manager observes the worker they may be impressed by how well the employee handles the position. A long term position may open up and the manager feels the temporary worker would be perfect for that position so he then hires the employee once their temporary contract has ended.


Direct Hire

Finally, a business may be seeking a long term employee and would prefer to hire the candidate directly to the company’s payroll rather than having them work on the agency’s payroll.  In this case, the process of finding, screening, confirming and offering the position is very similar but typically slightly longer than that of temporary or temp-to-hire positions.


What Fees Should I Expect to Pay?

When working with a staffing agency, employees do not pay anything. The business that seeks the services of the staffing agency can expect to pay whatever salary the employee is to receive and an additional amount, based normally on a percentage of the employee’s wages, to the staffing agency for their placing the employee. The mark-up percentage also includes things like employer taxes, workers’ comp and liability for things like garnishments and unemployment claims. These are the responsibility of the agency to handle while the employee is on their payroll.


Remember, with a staffing agency, the employee is actually working for the agency and the agency is “renting” the employee out to the business for a specific number of contracted hours. If a business that wants to hire an employee for a long term position before the contracted hours have been met, most agencies will calculate a fee to “buy-out” the contract the business has with the staffing agency. These fees vary by agency as do the number of contracted hours.


Benefits of Using a Staffing Agency

When using a staffing agency to meet your employee needs, you can:

  • Access a larger pool of talented workers.
  • Avoid having to advertise, interview and hire candidates.
  • Have flexibility regarding the number of employees you have working at any given time.
  • Make sure employees are the right fit before you hire them to your payroll.

Now that you know how a staffing agency works, you can see that the correct agency can have you fully staffed with highly-qualified workers at a minimal cost and with very little stress to find and hire qualified workers. Everyone wins with this situation.


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.