4 Experts Weigh in on What You Need to Know About Working With a Staffing Agency

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Welcome to Recruiter QA, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you'd like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter QA!

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Today's Question: What tips do you have for getting the most out of a relationship with a staffing agency? What kind of organizations benefit most from working with staffing agencies? How can organizations ensure they choose the right agencies?

1. Move Quickly – But Try Not to Change Course Suddenly

Organizations and staffing agencies partner best when there is urgency to fill the role. The best staffing agencies have a speed-to-hire mentality. If the agency submits 4-7 qualified candidates and the line managers at the company are not quick to begin interviewing them, they stand to lose those candidates to the other companies on the market.

To help prevent this, hiring managers can suggest as a guidepost when they would like the hire to be completed by.

Organizations should also make sure that recruiters calibrate quickly. If the recruiters who are sourcing for your open role(s) do not understand what the requirements are, they will inevitably sling mud – or submit numerous unqualified candidates.

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The solution here is to schedule 1-2 intake meetings and ask recruiters questions to check whether they truly get what you are looking for.

It's important to avoid drastically changing the job requirements mid-course. One of the biggest frustrations for recruiters is when hiring managers do not understand what they are looking for until weeks well into the search. Recruiters spend days sourcing, screening, and writing up notes for your roles. Recruiting on phantom roles is not the best use of their time. Small corrections are expected, but try to only initiate the search when the job description has been fully defined.

- Christopher Ortega, Nuvola Staffing ">

2. It's Best to Be Honest

The top of my priority list isn't necessarily the highest fee – it is the company where I know what is going on. Many companies will keep quiet about their sign-off process or other candidates in the pipeline. If you are upfront with me on what is happening, it is much easier for me to secure the best people for your business. I also feel valued, meaning I will go above and beyond to repay that value, ultimately getting you more out of the process.

— Karla Jobling, BeecherMadden

3. Trust Matters

Our firm relies heavily upon staffing agencies. Because we are producing events all across the country, we have major staffing needs.

We prefer to work with small, owner-operated staffing agencies. It is crucial that we have more than just a working relationship with the agency owners and their top managers. The more that ownership of a staffing agency understands our style and culture, the more they can serve us.

We insist that we have direct access to the staff if needed. It is critical that we be able to communicate with staff directly when needed. An agency must trust that we will honor our relationship but also will understand that, sometimes, talking directly to personnel before, during, and after a program is essential.

Once we find a staff member whom we love, we will ask for that person by name. We even will fly them across the country to an assignment because staff matter that much.

— Patrick West, Be The Machine

4. Recruiters Want to Understand – So Help Them

Recruiters want to take the time to understand your business, the specific skill sets you seek, and the unique challenges you may face in finding talent. This information is invaluable to helping them find candidates who have the appropriate skills and who will integrate easily into your company's culture.

To best communicate this information to your staffing partner, work with your teammates to compile a list of desired skills, open positions, hiring challenges faced to date, and personality traits that help employees succeed at your company. Then, be sure to set aside time to walk through this list with your staffing partner and make yourself available for questions throughout the hiring process.

— Lauren Griffin, Adecco Staffing USA