February 8, 2018    |    By

Successful company owners recognize that their success is due to their greatest assets: products/services and their employees. That’s why it is vital to hire, mentor and retain talented, capable, productive and reliable staff.

Easier said than done, of course. Company owners have businesses to run. The day-to-day urgency of doing that can make the hiring process – which is time-consuming and not always productive – a ‘back burner’ priority.

That’s when a staffing agency might be the solution.

Rather than trying to do it yourself ‘in-house’, a staffing agency can identify the best candidates for your needs and eliminate candidates who aren’t suitable. Bottom line: a good staffing agency will provide well-vetted individuals who could add great value to your enterprise.

With so many staffing agencies offering their services, how can you be sure that you’re collaborating with the best one? Here are some suggestions to consider:

Have A Clear Definition Of What Your Business Needs

When initiating discussions with a potential staffing agency, be as specific as possible about your staffing objectives. Do want to fill a position for the short-term? Long-term? Permanently? Or some combination? And if you have any unique requirements, such as federal or state background checks, share that information.

Based on your needs and hiring objectives, you’ll want to make sure that the agency’s hiring focus aligns with the type of hires that you need. This is especially important if you are looking to hire full-time employees, because you’ll want to avoid agencies that primarily place short- and long-term contractors.

How Long Has The Staffing Agency Been In Business?

While past results are never guarantees of future outcomes, a proven track record of success is a significant measure of a staffing agency. Ask for details about the agency’s establishment, including background on the founders, and its development. While years-in-operation is one good indicator of the agency’s viability, it’s not the only one to consider.

Does The Staffing Agency Have Experience In Your Industry?

When evaluating potential staffing agencies, it’s vital that you look for a provider who has experience staffing in your market segment. That eliminates the need to educate the agency on market conditions and challenges as well as your unique business needs.

While it’s no doubt useful, it’s less important that the staffing agency has a deep understanding of the technical aspects of your company’s products or services and much more important the agency possesses in-depth knowledge of your industry category, your company’s position, current marketplace trends, challenges and opportunities.

What Categories Of Staffing Does The Staffing Agency Offer?

Staffing agencies segment the marketplace into categories. While some agencies may provide staffing services across the entire range of categories, many focus their attention on select segments. Here are the marketplace categories that are frequently used.

Health Care

Physicians, dentists, nurses, hygienists, medical technicians, therapists, home health aides, custodial care workers, etc.


Manual laborers, food handlers, cleaners, assemblers, drivers, tradesmen, machine operators, maintenance workers, etc.

Engineering, Information Technology, And Scientific

Consultants, analysts, programmers, designers, installers, and other occupations involving computer sciences or communications technology, etc.

Clerical And Administrative

Consultants, analysts, programmers, designers, installers, and other occupations involving computer sciences or communications technology, etc.

Professional – Managerial

Accountants, bookkeepers, attorneys, paralegals, middle and senior managers, advertising and marketing executives, and other non-technical occupations that require higher skill or education levels.

Does The Staffing Agency Have The Talent Your Business Needs?

Make sure the staffing company fully understands your needs and determine whether they can identify appropriate, qualified candidates in a timely manner.

How Strong Or Large Is Their Talent Pool Of Candidates?

It’s easy to think that all agencies have the same pool of candidates to draw from but that isn’t the case. The size of the agency, their capacity to handle large numbers of candidates, their marketing, their reputation in the community, the way they treat employees and how they actively source candidates are all significant factors to the size of their talent pool and what kind of candidates they will draw. High end agencies will draw high end candidates for all positions.

What Does The Staffing Agency Consider Adequate Longevity?

Not all agencies will see longevity the same and knowing what their goal is will be critical to you finding the right match. The agency you choose should be very clear on your expectations and their goal should be to find you the right candidate the first time with as little turnover in the position as possible.

What’s Their Temp-To-Tire Ratio?

If your goal is to hire a long-term candidate to your payroll to stay and grow with your company, that should be the goal of the agency you select as well. While it is difficult to quantify, agencies should have an approximate idea of how often they are successful in making these long-term placements for their clients. This is a reflection of their ability to screen and coach candidates as well as educate them on the position.

How Does The Staffing Agency Source Their Candidates?

Ask about the online tools and platforms that the staffing agency uses – in addition to LinkedIn and Job Boards. Sourcing is the single biggest challenge for any staffing agency. Agencies that are particularly adept at sourcing utilize a variety of tools and platforms. In addition to the obvious, ask what other tools and platforms they use. Here are a number of options that the staffing agency should mention:

Social Platforms, Such As Facebook, Slideshare, Google+, Twitter, And MeetUp

Online Recruiting Sources, Such As Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, And Craigslist

Job Boards

Successful agencies will have their own job boards that are optimized for maximum traffic and draw candidates to their jobs.

What Screening And Background Checks Does The Staffing Agency Perform?

Pre-employment screening services include background verification, drug screening, skills assessment and behavioral assessment tools. A thorough background screen verifies important factual information about a prospective employee (i.e. identity, employment history, education credentials). It also helps gain critical information about an applicant’s character and past history that isn’t always apparent in an interview or application. The right agency will be able to conduct pre-employment screening as well as conduct a background check and drug screen once a position has been offered.

What Is The Staffing Agency’s Fee/Rate Structure?

For direct hire positions, agencies typically charge between 15% and 30% of candidates’ first year compensation. “Compensation” typically means just salary, but be sure to clarify that the agency is not also including potential bonus or commission structure in their fee calculation. The good news is that is somewhat easy for you to negotiate the fee, as most agencies will be flexible in an attempt to win your business, particularly if you have multiple positions to fill. The pricing for temp-to-hire and temporary positions will vary by agency and position as it fluctuates based on the price of workers’ comp and employer taxes. When comparing pricing of agencies make sure you are comparing apples to apples and getting what you pay for.

How Does The Staffing Agency Manage Poor Placements?

All agencies will have some turnover in their placements. Find out how that is handled when it happens. Will the agency end the assignment for you or do you have to? Is there someone available to you at all times in the event you need to end an assignment immediately? Depending on the nature of your work, it is important that you can reach someone from the agency at all times.

How Easy Is It To Contact The Staffing Agency Specialists?

Selecting a staffing agency is not easy – and a lot depends on your expectations and their ability to meet them. While it’s a professional relationship, don’t overlook the ‘personal’ aspect. You’ll need to trust and rely on the staffing agency to provide you and your business resources for sustained success.

Will The Staffing Agency Make Face-To-Face Visits?

Make sure the staffing firm will visit your location to get a feel for your culture, meet employees and get a first hand understanding of your business.

How Transparent Is The Staffing Agency?

In any business relationship, honesty and transparency is very important. Your staffing agency should never misstate costs, be vague in answering questions or try to rush you into making hiring decisions.

Finally, Shop Around

It’s absolutely vital to perform due diligence research. Selecting the right staffing agency is challenging – there are plenty of them providing great service to their clients. Don’t hesitate to ask a potential staffing agency for references to a few of their clients. The information you could gain from speaking to them will be very valuable in your decision-making process. Among many others, the Better Business Bureau and a local Chamber of Commerce are two sources to consult.

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.

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