Your business is your business. Staffing is the business of staffing agencies, and you should invest in one to elevate your company. In the current job market, a majority (73%) of the workforce is passively searching for jobs. This makes it quite difficult for companies to find qualified candidates to fill positions and grow into the future. Having a staffing agency on your side will help mitigate this issue and reach candidates who are right for your company

Understand Your Hiring Needs

First, you need to know what your current staffing needs are. Do you need short-term, temporary work? Or is it time to hire further up in the company for a permanent position? These questions will quickly narrow your choices. Recruiting and staffing agencies may specialize in one of these different areas, so you want to be sure that you communicate what you need. Finding the one that fits these needs is key to weeding through the field of options.

Understanding your budget is another important consideration. Ask how much you want to or can spend on this search and whether it will be worth it. This is why contract-to-hire is often used. It allows you to pay as you go instead of allotting a lump sum upfront, which will often be a percentage of the salary. This option works unless the candidate ends up being a poor fit. In this case, you lose that sum.

Be aware of anything that seems too good to be true when it comes to a new staffing agency. If a representative offers an incredibly low price or promises an unimaginably quick turnaround time, something might be off. This could mean a multitude of things, including their lack of experience in staffing your specific sector or poor retention history. While you want to have the best results, know what you can bend on to fit with the most reliable agency.

Hiring Your Hiring Agency

Think about standard hiring practices for candidates when looking into a staffing agency. Familiarize yourself with the companies in your area or the ones that will be able to work with you immediately. This depends slightly on your time frame, but it is better to be looking at companies that you will be able to start a lasting relationship with. You may also be interested in their history and longevity as a company. What are their plans for the future? Are they looking ahead? Once you have a reliable company in place, you can focus on their specialties.

Staffing agencies typically break up the market into sectors like health care, industrial, clerical and administrative, and managerial. IT headhunters and manufacturing recruiters are also quite in demand in the current market. A mechanical engineering headhunter will not have the resources or knowledge to fill an accounting position. Find the right agency for your field.

You want to understand what the hiring agency will bring to the table, and what they value in their hiring practices. These should align with your company’s mission. Ask about their process for engaging and attracting new candidates for your openings. What tools do they use for recruiting? How do they network within the community, and how has that provided more candidates for them in the past? Find out their track record with past placements. You may even reach out to other companies to discuss their experience with the staffing agency.

When you ask about their hiring practices, make sure they are not focused on job board postings. That is only the tip of the iceberg in recruiting, and something that could be done in-house. They should mention their activity across multiple networking and social media platforms. It is also a plus to hear that recruiting agencies are participating in user groups and conferences. This will give them access to candidates outside of the job boards.

The standards of their screening processes are important. This will ensure you are presented with high-quality candidates for the company. In other words, figure out if you can trust the process they use. Ask about their process for checking references and previous managers. Make sure they are used to verifying information provided on a resume before it even hits your desk. You want a team that is passionate about being the best staffing agency they can be.

How Does the Staffing Agency Handle Problems?

You should not shy away from the problems that can arise through a hiring process. Though it sounds negative, you want to hear about how they eliminate candidates. This will give you insight into their screening processes that may not have come up in your preliminary questioning of their screening process. It may also reveal some faults in their system. This will be something to keep in mind while you go through the final screening for your headhunting agency.

Ask about how the agency handles poor placements. This will let you know their history with ending professional relationships. Do they have to do this often? And if so, why? If not, look for structures to be in place for them to follow in the unfortunate case of poor staffing.

You will want to understand the thread of communication between staffing agency and company. Ask about how agents are assigned to accounts and the experience level of all the agents. Make sure you will have a personal agent assigned to your company. You do not want any information to get lost in the shuffle between different agents working on your account. These questions will make sure you understand and approve of the way your agency handles issues.

Your Timeline

Having a staffing agency as a resource is great, but what if their turnaround time is terrible? Ask how long it will take to get results and do some research to find out about the average time of response in your area. This will make sure that the agency you are speaking with is on par with other companies.

Understand that this will vary based on the position you are attempting to fill. Hiring for a high-level programmer position will take more time than hiring for an entry-level position. Discuss how they manage timetables and provide your expectations for turnaround time on a specific position. This information will help you and the agency decide to move forward or move on.

Your Company Culture

The perfect staffing agency fit for a company includes the way that the agency attends to its own business. You should feel confident that the agents at the company will treat prospective employees, your company, and your time with respect.

You want an agency that will respect what you do and support it. Allow the agency to talk about the structure of the company from their point of view. This will help you understand how they function as a business seeking their clients. Any discussions should include the future of your company and how their placements will promote the culture in the workplace. Whether this is by hiring productive employees or expanding the marketing department, you want to have conversations that look far ahead at company growth.

Finding an agency that will help you locate the top overall candidate is the best thing for your company. Short-term solutions are just that. Dedicate time and energy to fostering a long relationship now, and you will see benefits far into the future.