You've already thought about the benefits of using a staffing firm to meet your company's personnel needs versus attempting to hire employees on your own. But how do you choose the right staffing firm? Aren't they all basically alike?
In a word, no. It's true that whether you call them staffing firms, employment agencies, staffing agencies, recruiters or search firms, they all fulfill the same basic function: They find job candidates for client firms. Their ability to help you can vary widely, however, and you need to thoroughly vet an agency before making your choice.
Below are three pointers — plus a bonus tip — to help you narrow down your options and select a staffing firm that checks all the boxes:
1. Reputation and reach matter
Working with a firm that has global reach can help ensure your business can access skilled talent quickly as it expands into new markets.
Before you decide on a staffing agency, always independently check its reputation. It’s easy for a staffing firm to say they’re the best, but can they back it up? To connect with top candidates, you’ll need a staffing firm that’s been in business long enough to develop rapport with and respect from top businesses and leaders in your industry. Those are the firms that attract the most skilled candidates.
Working with a well-established agency also gives you a “behind-the-scenes” advantage: Recruiters who are confident they’re working for a stable company won’t feel pressure to make a placement just to help keep the staffing firm afloat. They therefore will be more likely to take the time to find the best candidates for your business.
Alongside reputation and stability, consider the staffing firm’s reach. If you feel you’ve already tapped your local market for the right candidate and come up dry, you may be surprised at what a staffing firm can do. The best firms have access to candidates you don’t. This includes professionals who may not have seen your job posting — or passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new job but are open to the right opportunity.
Also, consider whether the agency has a strong national and global network. Even if your business does not need to hire outside of your local area at this time, it might in the future. Working with a firm that has global reach can help ensure your business can access skilled talent quickly as it expands into new markets.
Robert Half is one of the world's leading staffing agencies. Learn more about our strategic alliances and partnerships.
2. A specialist role demands a specialized staffing firm
The more specialized the role you want to fill, the more likely you'll need a specialized staffing agency to staff it.
Candidates with specific expertise are typically in high demand (and therefore, hard to find). But a staffing firm that specializes in the field in which you’re looking to hire can offer more targeted, higher-skilled candidates than generalist firms can. Their broader networks, and the deep expertise and industry knowledge of their staffing specialists, can give you an edge in finding top talent before your competitors do.
Robert Half welcomes your inquiries and is happy to answer your questions. We invite you to reach out to us today.
3. You get what you pay for
Never make your decision purely based on price. Yes, you have a budget and don't want to exceed it, but that doesn't mean the lowest priced staffing agency is your best option.
The expense of hiring the wrong person can be huge. In fact, in a recent survey we conducted, 41 percent of hiring managers and other HR professionals who've made a bad hire believe it cost them thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, a U.S. Department of Labor estimate equates the cost to almost 30 percent of the employee's first year's salary.
But if you use a staffing firm, finding the right candidates is their job. This alone can do a lot to ease the hassle of the recruitment process because it means you'll have a team of staffing specialists using their expertise to shortlist suitable candidates.
Any amount you spend on ensuring you hire the right candidate the first time, every time, is money well spent, preserving your budget and mitigating headaches over the long term.
With more than 325 staffing locations, Robert Half can provide assistance where and when you need it. Find out where we're located in your area.
Bonus tip: Don’t discount the numbers
When choosing an agency, be sure to ask how many potential candidates the staffing firm expects to find for your vacancy and what process its recruiters will use to select the best options for your shortlist.
Some employers will specifically seek out a boutique staffing agency because they’re concerned that a larger staffing firm will be focused only on “meeting the numbers.” It’s true that professional recruiters have goals they set and work toward; after all, a staffing firm is a business. But helping employers locate skilled candidates is the top priority for any reputable agency — otherwise, how could the firm survive?
When it comes to staffing, the number of successful placements is actually quite important. It is a strong measure of an agency’s effectiveness in finding the right talent. And if you look to your network for recommendations, you’ll likely find that many leading employers, regardless of the size of their business, rely on larger staffing firms.
So, when choosing an agency, be sure to ask how many potential candidates the staffing firm expects to find for your vacancy and what process its recruiters will use to select the best options for your shortlist. If the numbers don’t sound promising (or seem unreasonably optimistic) or the staffing firm doesn’t have enough knowledge of your industry to identify top candidates, go somewhere else.
In short, look for a staffing firm that offers specialization, industry recognition, stability, a wide enough reach to meet your specific recruitment needs and satisfying answers to the “numbers question.” If the agency has all of the above nailed, skilled candidates are likely to follow.
If you're looking to hire now or will be soon, watch this quick video to see how Robert Half can help.