How to Hire a Staffing Agency to Discover the Best Candidate

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The year 2020 was the most difficult year for the American workforce since the Great Depression. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose to a record high of 14.8% in April of 2020.

While the economy has rebounded since then, and unemployment has dropped (it’s remained between 3.5% and 3.7% since March 2022), layoffs and persistent inflation have led many Americans to worry about a recession. In fact, 98% of CEOs are planning for a US recession.

Despite these concerns, many industries continue to experience growth. In September 2022, job openings increased to 10.7 million, slightly offsetting the steep decline seen in August 2022. The largest increases in job openings were in:

  • accommodation and food services (+215,000)
  • health care and social assistance (+115,000)
  • transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+111,000)

For companies in growth mode, many are looking to replenish top talent lost in 2020. To do so, some businesses turn to complex software, artificial intelligence, or overworked HR departments. We believe that there’s a better solution: supporting your efforts with a staffing agency and experienced recruiters. If you’re wondering what it means to hire a staffing agency and to work with a recruiter, keep reading. If you already know it’s time to partner with a staffing company, contact Insight Global today!

What is a Recruiter?

A recruiter, also referred to as a headhunter, is an individual who works with companies to source talent for open positions and to match candidates with a new opportunity.

Since businesses usually hire a headhunter to expedite the talent search, a recruiter’s primary focus is to find people for jobs — not jobs for people.

What’s the Difference Between an In-House Recruiter and an Agency Recruiter?

An in-house recruiter is only looking to fill jobs at one company — their own. A large business might have a dedicated team of in-house recruiters. On the other hand, a smaller firm might have a single in-house recruiter, or none at all.

If they work in-house for a staffing agency, they are called agency recruiters. They typically work with multiple businesses at once, usually in the same industry. They become experts in the job market, the necessary skills and experience for different roles, and the best way to find candidates.

When a company works with an agency recruiter to fill a role, they often refer to that person as a “headhunter.”

What Does a Recruiter Do?

In-house recruiters and agency recruiters both do similar work to find job candidates for open positions. Their responsibilities can include:

  • Meeting with the hiring manager to understand the role before it’s advertised
  • Attracting and sourcing candidates from professional networking sites, career fairs, internal job postings, and personal networking
  • Pre-screening and presenting qualified job candidates to the hiring manager after an initial call and portfolio review
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Serving as the main point of contact for all parties throughout a multi-departmental hiring process
  • Conducting reference checks and background checks
  • Drafting and extending job offers
  • Designing and executing onboarding for new hires

An in-house recruiter will also encourage internal employees to apply for a role and ask employees to refer external candidates for open positions.

If you’re working with an agency recruiter, you can decide how much of the hiring process to outsource and how much you prefer to do internally.

What is a Staffing Agency?

Staffing agencies (also known as employment agencies or staffing companies) can be used to fill or locate any kind of role from temporary (temp) positions to contractors to permanent roles. As already mentioned, staffing agencies employ a team of recruiters.

Staffing agencies work with companies of all sizes to fill jobs at all levels. Whether you’re a small business looking to hire an essential employee, or a Fortune 500 company searching for a new senior executive, a staffing company can help.

How Do Staffing Agencies Work to Fill Jobs?

A company may have one or more roles that need to be filled at once. These could be permanent roles, or roles to fill temporarily while a current employee takes an extended vacation or parental leave.

Each staffing agency, and each company who works with one, will have a slightly different process to fill jobs. However, the overall steps are the same as the company representative (hiring manager) and staffing representative (hiring partner) work together to find the best candidates for the job.

First the hiring manager meets with the hiring partner to clarify all of the job requirements. A well-written job requisition or job description is essential to finding the right talent.

From there, the hiring partner and their team will recruit for these roles through existing connections, on job boards, on professional networking sites (like LinkedIn),  and at job fairs. They will pre-screen candidates and either conduct interviews themselves or set up interviews for the hiring managers to do.

After the hiring manager extends a job offer, the next steps depend on the type of role. If it’s a permanent role, the new hire starts as an employee of the company. If it’s a temporary or contractor role, then typically the candidate will be an employee of the staffing agency.

How Do Staffing Agencies Get Paid?

Companies pay staffing agencies for the service of finding employees. This might be a flat rate, a percentage of the employee’s salary, or a different fee structure. It varies based on the roles filled and the specific employment firm. If you’re not sure, ask your hiring partner how they work.

4 Things to Know About Using a Staffing Agency

If this is your first time working with a staffing company, you may not know all they can do or how they can benefit your business. Here’s a start:

1) Staffing Firms Aren’t Only for IT Jobs

While several staffing firms got their start in Information Technology (IT), many now work with companies across multiple industries. Agency recruiters become experts within a specific field, helping find candidates for open positions in industries like:

Whatever industry you’re in, or whatever job type you need to fill, you can probably benefit from working with an employment agency.

2) Staffing Agencies Work with Companies of All Sizes

You don’t need to be a large corporation to benefit from staffing services. If you own a small business and:

  • Have seasonal fluctuations? A recruiter at a staffing firm can find qualified temporary workers.
  • Need to hire your first employee? Staffing experts can help you determine exactly who you need and walk you through the hiring process.
  • Need extra help for a one-off project? Your hiring partner can identify the skills you need and find the right temporary workers.

3) Staffing Companies Can Do Much More than Hiring

Staffing firms can offer more than staffing services including including:

4) Staffing Firms Can Find Workers for All Types of Roles

Staffing agencies find temporary or contract workers if that’s the role needed by the client. However, a hiring manager can also work with an agency recruiter for full-time employees in a direct placement or a temporary-to-permanent role.

Why Hire a Staffing Agency to Find Candidates?

With so many resources available to HR professionals, why use a staffing agency? There are a variety of benefits to this relationship.

Reduce Overhead Costs

Health care, 401k retirement plans, sick days, vacation pay, and employer taxes can often accompany hiring on full-time, permanent staff. But if the position could be filled by someone in a contract role (or you need to assess the full-time need for the position), consider temporary workers hired through a staffing agency.

With an agency, you’ll bypass those other expenses, and instead just need to budget for the work being completed by the contractor.

Reduce Overtime Pay or Bring in Seasonal Staff

During a busy season, a company may elect to bring in temporary staffing in order to shoulder some of the workloads.

Avoid burning out your permanent staff with a fresh set of hands while saving on hourly overtime costs of long-term employees.

Hire Short-Term Staff

If a permanent employee is on leave, sabbatical, or an extended vacation, you may need temporary help to minimize interruption to operations. A staffing agency can help with this.

Minimize Training

Training new employees can be an expensive task. Acquiring talent through a staffing agency or recruiter may help to bring in somebody who already knows the ropes of the job type and needs minimal training to get started.

Expand Your Talent Network

Are you screening and interviewing the right candidates? If you’re sourcing through limited pools, you may be missing out on the perfect fit for your team. Hiring managers and HR departments have plenty of other tasks to complete aside from hiring, so some outside help may save the day when it comes to finding new resources.

Rather than spending hours of precious time sourcing and screening candidates, it may be more useful to connect with a recruiting expert or staffing agency.

Hire Quickly

To get down to work when things are busy or when a huge new project lands in your lap, roles need to be filled efficiently and quickly.

Rather than sifting through dozens of applications, connect with a staffing agency. They can have a role filled in a short period of time.

Utilize Trial Periods

It’s nearly impossible to determine if an employee will be the perfect fit after just a handful of interviews.

If you want to see a candidate in action before offering them a full-time offer, start an employee on a staffing agency contract. This contract-to-perm arrangement can improve the hiring relationship and lock in the perfect long-term fit for your organization.

What to Look for in a Staffing Agency

Start with a few questions. Is your current recruiting system working? Does your internal talent acquisition person or team need a helping hand? Does your current staffing agency partner want to get to know you and understand your unique staffing needs?

At Insight Global, we’re much more than just a staffing company. We believe that cultivating those relationships is the first step to a successful hire. That’s why we pursue genuine relationships and purpose-driven opportunities for our customers, consultants, and candidates.

We want them to be cared for in ways that far exceed any expectations. And we believe that if we can develop our staff, clients, and the talent we work with, then they will turn around and take care of everyone.

If you’re ready to discover how a staffing agency can help your business, contact us today.

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