Choosing a staffing agency can certainly be an arduous process, but doing your research—as you are now—can save you time, money, and headaches. Just think, it will all be worth it in the end when you have a long-lasting business partnership!
7 Things to Look For in a Staffing Agency
Industry professional and fearless leader, Matt Twyman, sat down with us to talk about the top seven things that can make a staffing agency stand out from the myriad of options in front of you. Learn more below!
Look for a staffing agency that…
1. Has a time-tested recruitment technique
Put simply, the more experience a staffing agency has over time, the more fine-tuned their method is. This means that they can reach the right candidates faster and more efficiently, especially when it matters most.
“I’ve been in the IT industry since 1994, and I have never seen such a demand for talent,” says Matt Twyman, owner and Vice President at Adaptive Solutions Group, a technology-focused recruiting firm. “If you don’t have a time-tested recruitment technique, then you’re not going to be able to find the right talent, and you’re not going to be able to please your clients.”
When looking for a staffing agency, it is always a good idea to inquire about their sourcing techniques. Watch out for the ones that simply slap their logo on a resume and push it along.
“A staffing agency shouldn’t ‘post and pray.’ Scouring databases and sending out mass mailers does not work as a long-term technique,” says Twyman.
Instead, find the staffing agency that is committed to excellence and has perfected their strategy over many years, and don’t be afraid to ask about it. A worthwhile recruiting firm should be happy to share their approach with you!
“Our value is to be involved face-to-face and build lasting relationships with people. It’s meeting them, and then once we meet them, it’s mattering to them. It’s about maintaining [that relationship] over a long period of time,” says Twyman.
2. Has a thorough understanding of you, your business, and the candidate they put in front of you
An important question to ask yourself is, “How in depth is the staffing agency willing to go to learn about our business and the candidates they put in front of us?”
“[You need a staffing agency] that will ask an appropriate amount of screening questions to vet the candidate. Questions to see if they will fit culturally, or questions to see whether or not their goals align with your business’ pace and work ethic,” says Twyman.
In part, the staffing agency is helping the candidate tell their story, and that’s how you, the employer, will best be able to pick and choose whose stories most align with what you’re looking for. By thoroughly vetting candidates, “we [as the staffing agency] can attest to why we think they will fit the role. We can help provide that narrative alongside a resume, which is what grabs attention.”
By getting both sides of the story, the staffing agency is able to work its magic. “The trick is, you have to blend the client’s needs back to the candidate’s goals, tech skills, their cultural fit, salary range, and more. There are many ingredients that go into making this work,” says Twyman.
3. Is specialized in the industry you’re looking for
One of the first things you need to think about is if a general recruiting firm will truly be able to meet all of your needs. According to Twyman, “If an agency is trying to do it all, they only scratch the surface on the talent pool of each industry. They are too distracted, diluted, and spread thin.”
In the technology industry, which is often very niche, staffing agencies have to stay abreast of the ever-changing technical skills and all the new positions that emerge with it. This takes a lot of time and effort and includes participating in user groups, attending technical events in the community, and so on.
“[With] the state of unemployment right now—especially with IT being under 2%— you simply must go to a specialist for your recruiting needs.” says Twyman. “Because that’s what we do all day, every day. For 40-plus hours a week, we live, eat, sleep, and breathe finding technology people. By channeling all of our efforts into one industry, our odds are statistically greater in finding the right person.”
4. Treats the candidates how you want to be treated
The staffing agency that you hire will act as an extension of your HR department, and as such, they will be representing your brand. Therefore, how they target and maintain their relationships with candidates (i.e. your future employees) reflects on your company just as much as theirs. “You have to treat people with respect and make sure they feel like they’re part of the team,” says Twyman.
Treating everyone as a valued client—no matter what job or salary range they’re looking for—is a sign of a staffing agency that conducts themselves in a trustworthy manner. You should not lose any sleep in knowing they are representing your best interests.
“At the end of the day, we’re a service provider. We don’t have a product, we don’t make a widget, we’re not a manufacturing company, we’re not even strictly a technology company— but as a service provider, we have to provide a top-notch experience that leaves everyone who works with us with a positive impression,” says Twyman.
5. Gives you the attention you deserve
If you choose an agency that is too big, you may run the risk of your account falling through the cracks. However, if you choose an agency that is too small, they might not have the manpower to fulfill your needs. You need to find the right agency that will give you the attention you deserve, no matter what their size is.
“There is no magic number on how many recruiters [a staffing agency] should have to an account; it’s more about being in-tune with the most pressing priorities and whether or not [the recruiters] are addressing those accurately,” says Twyman.
In many cases, an agency that is long-established will have many years of practice in gauging and handling priorities so that you, the client, will never feel as if you’re being short-changed.
6. Can meet your timeline
Every minute your position goes unfulfilled you’re missing deadlines, and there are costs associated with that. As an extension of your business, a staffing agency should be attentive to your timeline and provide service in a timely manner.
“It’s a speed thing, but it’s also a quality thing. It can’t just be speed for the sake of speed; there has to be substance behind it,” says Twyman.
Recruiters should deliver on speed AND quality, not one or the other. “We [as a staffing agency] are not going to throw ten resumes at the wall. We’re going to go back and send you one or two that will statistically be more on point because we’ve taken the extra steps to vet them the right way.”
7. Measures success beyond just key performance indicators (KPIs)
Once you are a client, a staffing agency should be able to report on a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs), including…
- Submittal-to-interview ratio
- Interview-to-hire ratio
- Temporary-to-permanent conversion ratio
- A percentage of candidates that they placed that have either met or exceeded client expectations
More specifically, the metrics we are most often asked about at Adaptive Solutions Group are…
- How many people were submitted to each job?
- How many of those submissions were interviewed?
- How many of those interviews were offered a position?
- How many of those offers were accepted?
While you should certainly keep track of these metrics in order to determine your return on investment, they are not the end-all, be-all. A staffing agency should reach far beyond just numbers on a page and show you their worth every day.
“If we just tracked our worth simply on how many people we sent alone, that wouldn’t be a fair snapshot of the total story. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily the number of resumes we presented or the number of interviews you had, it’s how many people we got hired. How successful we were based on the amount of people we put on your team and the number of lives we positively improved. That’s what we care about the most,” says Twyman.