So you need help with hiring and you’ve decided to work with a staffing agency. Now what? There are likely thousands of staffing agencies operating in your state. It’s hard to know who to choose, let alone how to get the most out of your partnership.
You’re not the first organization to be in this situation, though. At LG, we’re here to bring you some tips on choosing a staffing agency and working with them effectively.
Choosing the Right Staffing Agency
The first step to choosing a staffing agency is finding one that specializes in your industry. There are many generalist staffing agencies that claim to work with all kinds of employers, but in reality, these companies often lack a substantial candidate pool to choose from, especially for niche or skilled positions.
If you are hiring a warehouse employee, look for a warehouse staffing agency. If you are hiring an accountant, look for a professional staffing agency. You can also look at the agency’s current job openings to get an idea of the types of positions they typically work on.
From there, you can narrow down your list of staffing agencies by meeting with their representatives or employees. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does this staffing agency seem organized and professional?
- Do they have a good screening and candidate assessment process?
- Do they ask the right questions when taking a job order?
- Do they provide a dedicated point of contact rather than forcing you to deal with multiple people for every request?
You should also check to find out if a staffing agency offers additional services that could help your company. For example, most staffing agencies can handle payroll for temp employees, and some offer extra benefits like underwriting your health benefits or managing workers’ comp claims.
Top Tips for Working With a Staffing Agency
1. Cleary Define the Job Position and Requirements
No staffing agency will do a good job of finding candidates if they don’t know what you’re looking for! Take the time to clearly outline the job description you are hiring for, including tasks, required skills, training or education background, and helpful personality traits.
For example, if you are hiring for a warehouse unloading role, don’t just say you need someone to unload trucks. Specify that the position requires unloading containers by hand, using a sit-down forklift, sorting, palletizing, wrapping, regular movement, working with a team, and lifting up to 75 lbs. Be sure to carefully note the hours or days the candidate will need to be available, especially if they are not standard office hours.
It may also help to tell the staffing agency about your organizational culture and values. That way, the recruiter will have a better understanding of which candidates may best fit your organization.
2. Don’t Hire Too Early
If you know you’re going to have a job opening in 6 months, it might seem like a good idea to get a head start on hiring. There’s just one problem with that: Any candidates you find now will likely be unavailable by the time you need them.
Most good staffing agencies are able to find quality candidates in a few weeks, days, or even hours depending on the position. Unless you are trying to fill an unusually hard-to-fill position such as a C-suite executive, it’s best to wait until you’re closer to the start date.
3. Be Upfront About How Much You Can Pay
For highly skilled positions, it’s often tempting to give vague answers about pay or extremely open-ended salary ranges. After all, you don’t want the agency to only send clients at the top of your range.
Ultimately though, the staffing agency’s job is to give you the best available candidates. They will not rule out a candidate who is under your budget just to make an extra buck, nor will they rule out a candidate who commands slightly higher pay than you requested if they bring enough additional experience — unless you communicate that your budget is very strict. For best results, tell the staffing agency how much you wish to pay and whether there’s wiggle room.
4. Set Timeline Expectations
Finding the right candidate takes time, but you can’t wait forever. Depending on the position, staffing agencies can often work extra hard to find candidates within a few days or even the same day. Let the staffing agency know when you expect candidates to start working so they can speed up the hiring process if needed.
5. Make Sure Your Manager Approves the Staffing Budget
Occasionally, staffing agency clients will forget to check in with upper management before moving forward. The last thing you want to happen is to have the agency present you with a great candidate only to find out your boss isn’t willing to pay the agency’s fee, so make sure the budget is approved first!
6. Keep Lines of Communication Open
We get it: Your inbox is bursting with unread mail. But to work efficiently with a staffing agency (or any other partner), you need to keep some type of communication channel open.
Your agency will need to stay on top of any changing requirements and feedback as they go through the processing of finding, screening, and interviewing candidates. If you don’t reply to their questions or communicate changes in a timely manner, they won’t know how to provide the candidates you need.
It’s especially important to communicate when you do not like the candidates the staffing agency provides. Ignoring the problem is never a solution! If you feel the candidates are lacking a particular skill set or trait, it’s your responsibility to tell your point of contact so they can improve the screening process and find candidates who are a better match.
When staffing agency-client relationships fail, it’s usually because of a lack of communication. Be clear about where and how they can reach you, especially in the event of an urgent hiring question.
7. Stay In Contact After Hiring
It’s a good idea to stay in contact with your staffing agency even after hiring is over. If there are any challenges with your new hire, the agency may be able to help you fix the situation. And if the new hire is doing well, that’s good to share, too!
Looking for a Staffing Agency in the Warehouse, Logistics, Manufacturing, Clerical, or Professional Industries?
LG Resources is a specialized staffing agency with local offices throughout the U.S. Reach out to us today if you are looking to hire high-quality talent.