How Do Staffing Agencies Work?

Working for a staffing agency

Whether you're a freelance financial consultant searching for projects or a seasoned executive scouting a new opportunity, staffing agencies have the inside scoop on which organizations are seeking consultants with your skills. Many employers rely on staffing agencies (or recruiters, search firms or staffing firms – they're often called by various names) specifically to help them find experienced professionals for senior and managerial accounting roles.

So how do staffing agencies work? Here's some information on how staffing specialists at these firms can help support management-level workers like you in your employment search:

The staffing agency process

The process for developing a relationship with a staffing agency starts with submitting your resume and cover letter, as you would do for most any employment opportunity. Once the agency reviews and accepts these documents, you may be invited in for testing, to confirm your knowledge and skills, and an interview, so recruiters can learn more about your professional qualifications and aspirations.

However, unlike a typical job interview in which you're considered for one position, an interview with a staffing agency could lead to numerous potential job matches.

How do staffing agencies work to find the best match for you? Staffing experts will take time to learn about your soft skills, especially your communication skills, as well as your technical skills, such as your knowledge of internal auditing processes.

An experienced staffing agency recruiter knows you're more than just the words on your resume; by getting the full picture of you as a financial professional, he or she will be better able to connect you with the right consulting or interim management opportunity.

Training and preparation

Many leading staffing agencies offer skills training in specialized finance and accounting topics, which can help to make you more marketable to potential employers. Online training opportunities provided by staffing agencies may also focus on specific software programs or processes that can help you to further expand your skill set.

The search

How do staffing agencies work with you once they've determined you're a viable candidate for placement? They compile all the data they've gathered and use their contacts within your industry to stay current on which positions are available that might match your qualifications and preferences. Once they find a possible match, they will typically arrange an interview for you with the client to determine whether you're a good fit for the employer. Some can even help negotiate pay and other terms of the engagement on your behalf.

While a reputable staffing agency will notify you when a potential job becomes available, it's acceptable to check in with your contact once every week or two. Also, be sure to keep the information the agency has on file about you as up-to-date as possible to help ensure your recruiter can match you with the right opportunities.

Types of positions

If you're a skilled consultant interested in working on an interim basis, staffing agencies can connect you to organizations looking for experts in your field to hire on a project basis. Staffing agencies can also help candidates who are looking for full-time jobs, as they regularly place high-level workers with organizations either as direct hires or in temporary-to-full-time positions.

A productive relationship

To collaborate effectively with a staffing agency during your employment search, follow these guidelines:

  • Pay attention to what the staffing agency tells you a business is looking for in a potential candidate.
  • Focus on quality rather than quantity of interviews they arrange for you.
  • Actively participate in your job search by thoroughly preparing for interviews.
  • Inform your recruiter about progress you've made yourself in your job search, especially if you've interviewed with any employers. The staffing firm representative may have contacts at the organization that can help you land the engagement.

A valuable opportunity

Project consultant, interim chief financial officer, financial analyst – no matter what type of position you're seeking, staffing agencies can help you find it. Even better: While a staffing agency can provide valuable guidance and support in your job search, you don't pay for their services. The clients staffing agencies work for will pay for candidate matches. So all you need to do is bring your skills, experience and ambition, and let a staffing agency help guide you to your next employment opportunity.