Staffing firms: what to look for and how to choose one

Staffing firms: what to look for and how to choose one

Any company that wants to succeed needs to have the right people behind it, which makes hiring staff one of the most important jobs at your company. A capable HR department is vital in ensuring you have top talent on your team, but if you're considering working with a staffing firm for your company's hiring needs, then you may want to know what companies look for when choosing a staffing firm and how they choose the best staffing company so that they get the candidates they need to grow and achieve success.

Use this guide to understand why companies use staffing firms, what they look for, and how to choose the right one for your company.

Why do companies use staffing firms?

staffing firm is a company that assists other companies and corporations with hiring talent for their open positions, which are often temporary or temp-to-hire jobs but can also be direct hires. Many companies choose to use staffing firms because they can:

Free up time

Using a staffing firm can free up the time of those working in an HR department. Instead of writing up a job description, advertising the open position, holding interviews, and calling candidates back, team members can focus on onboarding, preparing benefits packages, and other tasks related to hiring new employees. This free time can trickle into other areas of the company, resulting in more productivity overall.

Find better talent

Because staffing firms have a large pool of potential employees, they can often find better talent for the open role at a company. They can seek people who have the skills, experience, and education to do the job well. Typically, their recruiters will connect with a company's HR department to understand what's required in a candidate, and from there, they'll recruit someone who can do the job.

Have the guidance of a professional

When a company opts to use a staffing firm, it will have professionals on its side that can relieve some of the stress that its hiring staff may feel. Taking advantage of the experience of a staffing agency could give your company the boost it needs to get to the next level. Once a staffing firm gets to know a company, it will understand exactly who to hire.

"A recruitment agency that has the tools and resources to seek out the right candidate for your role can be an asset to your company."

What do companies look for when choosing a staffing firm?

Every company has different needs when it comes to recruiting and hiring staff, but there are key things that you'll want to know before you decide on the agency you want to use. Here's what many companies look for when choosing a staffing firm:


The experience level of the staffing agency is important because you want to work with an established company that has a history of finding high-quality talent for businesses in the area. A recruitment agency that has the tools and resources to seek out the right candidate for your role can be an asset to your company. Make sure they have a good process for learning about the role you need to fill so that they can find someone who meets all your requirements. An experienced staffing firm should have no trouble answering your questions or addressing your concerns.


Your company needs to know the rates of the staffing agency you'll be working with. Most staffing agencies charge a percentage of the employee's wage, ranging from 25% to 100%. This means that if the employee makes $10 per hour, you will end up paying the staffing firm anywhere from $12.50 per hour to $20 per hour. They may charge other fees associated with the initial hire or charge a buyout fee if your company decides to hire the employee permanently. Make sure you understand the fees involved when using the company so you can include them in your budget.

Communication style

Communication is important between a staffing firm and a company they recruit for. When choosing a staffing firm, you want to assess the communication style of those you may interact with regularly. Regardless of whether it's a phone call or an email, you want to be sure that all your communication is professional and pleasant. If you prefer a quick phone call, but the firm only seems to respond to text messages, you may want to find someone else to work with.

Industry knowledge

You not only want to work with a staffing agency that has experience with hiring, but you also want to find an agency that understands your own company's industry. A staffing agency that knows about the specialized skills and experience you need from employees will be better equipped to locate people with the right combination of talents to fit your requirements.


Proven results are what many companies look for when choosing a staffing firm. A company that can show it has successfully helped fill temporary jobs in other companies in your industry demonstrates that it can help you hire the best people for your team. Past results from the staffing firm can lead to future success for your company.

How to choose the right staffing firm

Here are some tips to help you choose the right staffing firm:

Know what you need

Before you start shopping for a staffing agency, assess the needs of your company. Decide whether you want to direct-hire an employee or contract-to-hire them. Look at your budget to see what you can realistically pay a hiring company. Learn about the positions in the company that you'll want the agency to recruit for and how often they'll need to be filled. When you have all the details, you can start searching for the right staffing agency.

Ask questions

Once you've found a couple of staffing firms you might want to work with, you can schedule to meet with them or start the communication process. You'll want to ask a lot of questions before you agree to work with any of them. Consider asking:

  • How do you recruit people to fill roles for companies in our industry?
  • What is the screening process for potential candidates you hire for us?
  • Do you have a timeline for the hiring process from start to finish?
  • Are you experienced with hiring people in our industry?
  • If we're not happy with an employee, how will you handle it?
  • What services does my fee include exactly?

Learn their process

Learn about the process the staffing firm uses to recruit employees as well as how they screen them for your role. If you understand their process, you can decide if it works for your company and your own hiring needs. It also gives you insight into how they hire people, which means you can provide better information that helps them dial in your company's needs.

Pros and cons of using a staffing firm

Although using a staffing firm has many benefits, there are also downsides. Some of the pros and cons of using a staffing firm include:

Staffing firm pros

The advantages of allowing a staffing agency to help you find talent are that you can:

  • Hire candidates quickly
  • Assign HR to do other tasks
  • Get specialized workers easily

Staffing firm cons

Of course, some of the cons of working with a staffing firm are the:

  • Added costs for hiring
  • Disconnection from the team
  • Chances of hiring the wrong talent

Now that you know more about what companies look for when choosing a staffing firm, you can decide if working with one is right for you. Because hiring the right people for your team is vital to your company's growth and success, you need to have the necessary tools to get the job done, and for some, a staffing firm can help.

Learn more about finding the best candidates for your open positions:

Reengaging candidates in your talent network can be tricky but using these three best practices could help.

Using a staffing firm could lead to success for your one-person HR department.

Find out why you might be losing staffing clients so you can stop it from happening.

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