Three Pointers for Selecting the Right Staffing Firm

Robert Half Staffing Firm

You've already thought about the benefits of using a staffing firm to meet your company's personnel needs versus attempting to hire employees on your own. But how do you choose the right staffing firm? Aren't they all basically alike?

In a word, no. It's true that whether you call them staffing firms, employment agencies, staffing agencies, recruiters or search firms, they all fulfill the same basic function: They find job candidates for client firms. Their ability to help you can vary widely, however, and you need to thoroughly vet an agency before making your choice.

Below are three pointers to help you narrow down your options and select a staffing firm that checks all the right boxes:

1. You get what you pay for

Never make your decision purely based on price. Yes, you have a budget and don't want to exceed it, but that doesn't mean the lowest-priced staffing agency is your best option.

The expense of hiring the wrong person can be huge. In fact, in a recent survey we conducted, 41 per cent of hiring managers and other HR professionals who've made a bad hire believe it cost them thousands of dollars.

But if you use a staffing firm, finding the right candidates is their job. This alone can do a lot to ease the hassle of the recruitment process because it means you'll have a team of staffing specialists using their expertise to shortlist suitable candidates.

Any amount you spend on ensuring you hire the right candidate the first time, every time, is money well spent, preserving your budget and mitigating headaches over the long term.

2. Reputation and reach matter

Before you decide on a staffing agency, always independently check its reputation. It's easy for a staffing firm to say they're the best, but can they back it up? To get the best candidates, you'll need a staffing firm that's been in business long enough to develop rapport with and respect in your industry. Those are the firms that attract the most skilled candidates.

Alongside its reputation, consider the staffing firm's reach. If you feel you've already tapped your local market for the right candidate and come up dry, you may be surprised at what a specialized staffing firm can do. The best firms have access to candidates you don't. This includes professionals who may not have seen your job posting – or passive candidates who aren't actively looking for a new job but are open to the right opportunity.

3. A specialist company needs a specialist staffing firm

The more specialized the role you want to fill, the more likely you'll need a specialized staffing agency to staff it.

Candidates with specific expertise are typically in high demand, but a firm that specializes in the field in which you're looking to hire can offer more targeted, high-quality candidates than generalist firms can. Their broader networks and staffing specialists with deep expertise and industry knowledge can give you an edge in finding top talent before your competitors grab them.

Before choosing a staffing firm, ask them how many potential candidates they expect to find for your vacancy and how they'll select the best for your shortlist. If the numbers don't sound promising (or if they sound unreasonably optimistic) or the staffing company doesn't have enough knowledge of your industry to identify the top candidates, go somewhere else.

In short, you need a staffing firm that offers specialization, industry recognition and a wide enough reach to satisfy your recruitment needs. If the agency has those four principles nailed, skilled candidates will follow.

If you're looking to hire now, watch this three-minute video to see how Robert Half can help.