A few years ago an article was released indicating that nearly 50% of all hiring managers who use contingent labor only knew of one or two staffing agencies. This data was met with skepticism followed by the questions of how coul

this be or why? There are thousands of staffing agencies! Could they all be possibly struggling to find the real procurers of temporary labor? Were hiring managers working with the first agency that called them and decided to stick with them without exploring better options? Did corporate dictate to the hiring manager who they could use and that was that? Or are these managers receiving numerous calls from staffing agencies and simply rejecting their advances figuring “all staffing agencies are the same. I’ll just stick with who I’m already using.”


Regardless of whether those findings were accurate, any one of these scenarios could be playing out for someone who utilizes temporary workers to help meet their business needs. And as recent studies indicate, the use and demand for engaging temporary workers will continue to grow. A recent study conducted by SIA indicates the growth being as high as 23% over the next two years. Higher growth means a continued reliance on staffing agencies to provide resources. If that is the case, should hiring managers consider their options as their needs increase? Or does this matter? After all aren’t all agencies the same? Well that could depend on how much time you are investing in getting to know them. By investing the time, this means a) not instantly dismissing one that has reached out to you as well as b) not instantly assuming they can help you because they say they can.


Here are some things you should consider the next time a staffing agency reaches out to you or you are in need of their services:

Don’t settle. Ask them areas of specialization. Don’t settle for a broad based answer of “we are great at filling IT, Life Sciences, or Manufacturing workers!” This is way too general and doesn’t really offer proof that they are best suited for your needs. Tell them specifically what you need and ask them for examples of relevant success.

Size doesn’t always matter. The size or bandwidth of an agency may matter depending on the breadth, volume and geographic scope of your needs, but the experience of the recruiters working on your needs has to be at the forefront. The age and size of the agency does not always reflect the experience of the recruiters working for them. For example, smaller firms may opt to bring on more experienced recruiters for reliability purposes. They can’t afford to take a chance on an inexperienced recruiter. Smaller firms may have fewer clients which can mean more time dedicated to your needs. Figure out your priorities when making a decision.

How do they do it? On paper, many agencies can show you a great resume, but how good are they at qualifying, closing and on-boarding that candidate? Rather than wasting time, ask the agency to explain and demonstrate their process for securing talent. You should feel comfortable depending on them to be sure your own deliverables can be fulfilled.

Handle with care. How does the agency manage the temporary worker once they have started? Do they keep in touch with the individual? Do they keep you apprised of any feedback the worker has about the assignment? Are there incentives in place for the worker to complete an assignment? Ultimately it is the agencies responsibility for managing the relationship with their worker. It’s not your responsibility, and leaving it up to you puts you at risk for a variety of reasons.

And speaking of risks… What are the risks of using this agency? Will they be around as long as the temporary workers they place? Can they afford to pay their workers and consistently? Are the workers their actual employees? Does the agency carry insurance to cover any worker injuries or negligence? The cost of doing business can be phenomenal if these questions are not asked and proof by the agency is not provided.

So, this all sounds well and good, but most likely you don’t have time to speak with every agency that reaches out to you. Well, consider the amount of time it will take to address these subjects and the potential time loss if you don’t vet out suppliers properly. If you still don’t have the time, then consider other options:

• Is there someone on your staff who can handle this task?
• Can your HR, Procurement, or Talent Acquisition divisions assist?
• Have you considered outsourcing this function?

Regardless of the avenue you choose, just remember that not all staffing agencies are the same. Take the time to get to know them for your own benefit. For more insight on this subject, please contact Talent Retriever at info@talentretriever.com.