FAQs for Evaluating a Staffing Firm, Part 1
Our favorite thing is working with clients over a long period of time – getting to know their business inside and out, strategizing with them about the staffing approaches that serve them best, and just getting to know them as people. Having an established relationship with a staffing firm that “gets” you and your business can erase a lot of headaches. Not all staffing companies are created equal, though, so it’s important that you look before you leap.
We’ve pulled together several frequently asked questions for you to ask the staffing firm you’re considering developing a long-term partnership with. (And I realized as I began writing this I have more than a blog’s worth to say on this subject, so stay tuned for Part 2):
Q: Does your agency specialize in recruiting the type of talent I need? What positions do you regularly fill?
A: Whether you’re looking to hire office administration staff, accounting and finance people, light industrial workers, technical staff, professionals, executives, or managers, you’ll want to work with a firm who can tap into the right candidate pool. It’s even better if you can find a firm with specialty divisions capable of servicing your varied needs. If you are interviewing an executive recruiter, make sure he/she has experience finding talent in your specific target area. Ask for examples of previous similar searches.
Q: What kinds of staffing solutions do you offer?
A: Different solutions fit different situations – one size does not fit all hiring needs. A firm that offers a wide variety of services (temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire/executive search, payrolling, technical contract, etc.) can help position you to meet whatever hiring challenges may surface – whether you need 50 customer-service specialists pronto or your CFO resigns today.
Q: What is your process for sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates?
A: A firm that follows a proactive, formal, rigorous process for maintaining a top-notch candidate pool will deliver the best results. The search for candidates shouldn’t start when the staffing firm gets your requisition – they should be continually building a pool of qualified talent that will be available to you. And you shouldn’t see a candidate until the staffing firm has conducted a face-to-face interview, followed up with at least two good references, administered any skills screening tests needed, and completed a thorough background check.
Q: Tell me about your client retention rate. Who is your longest-standing client? Why would they say they stay with you?
A: The answer to this question gives you a peek at how the company values and sustains its client relationships – an important factor as you consider working with this staffing firm over the long haul. Client testimonials provide a client’s-eye view of the firm. Look for other reviews online at sites such as Yelp! and Google Places. Pay attention to candidate and client reviews. You can find specific recruiter referrals on Linkedin. Never hesitate to speak with references; ask them why they chose a specific staffing firm over others.
Q: Why do candidates choose you over another agency?
A: The way a staffing firm treats its candidates makes a big difference in the caliber of talent they are able to attract and retain – the talent available for you to hire. The better firms invest considerable time in getting to know, and grow, their candidates. Staffing firms providing temporary or contract services will make available online career resources and benefits such as health, vacation pay, holiday pay, and referral bonuses.
Q: How much do your services cost?
A: As with most services, you get what you pay for with staffing and recruiting. Beware of companies that seem to offer top-tier services at a discount price. If a staffing company is competing on price alone to get your business, you can be certain you will sacrifice quality in the future. There’s a saying in the staffing industry: “There aren’t any low fees; there are only low-quality candidates.” Customers paying for quality typically see the best candidates.
Let us know what you think. What is important to you when choosing a staffing firm? What do you value most about the relationship? What questions would you add to those listed here?