Why To Work with a Staffing Agency — Employers

By Marc Poirier, General Manager of Abbey Placements LLC

My father, Ken Poirier, started Abbey Placements in 1982 during the height of a recession. He tells the story of a phone call with a prospective client from those early days, a call that tested his understanding of our industry and the value we bring.

A few seconds into the conversation, the prospective client said, “I’ve got a stack of resumes on my desk a foot high. Why on earth would I need to work with you?” Temporarily taken aback, Dad stumbled for an answer and the prospective client ended the call. Dad considered the question and immediately called the man back saying, “I’ve thought about what you said. The reason you’d work with me is so you don’t have to waste your time going through that pile of resumes to find a good hire. You could meet a great candidate right now and save yourself the effort.” The man agreed to work with Dad and ended up hiring an accountant almost immediately.

Why would anyone want to review hundreds of resumes when they could have a hiring expert sort through every application, interview people on their behalf, and send them the top 2-3 people to review? Especially if it can save them money in the process. By working with a staffing agency, you get to spend more time doing the work that actually makes you money—and you can save money from the value added services they offer.

Last week, we explored the not-so-obvious benefits that job seekers receive from working with a staffing company. This week, we will look at not-so-obvious benefits that employers receive from working with a staffing company.

Staffing Agency Benefits to Employers:

  1. Not Wasting Time with Unqualified Candidates – Your screening process will utilize real people asking tough questions, not just algorithms looking at whatever data a candidate happens to put onto their resume. By the time you see a staffing agency’s recommendations, you are likely choosing your favorite from among several good candidates rather than sorting through stacks of unqualified resumes. The time you save can then be used on the more important moneymaking work of your business.
  2. Finding the “Holy Grail” – Assume you need to hire a perfect person; a “holy grail” candidate with the exact set of skills you need who is willing to accept the wage you can afford to pay. If you were to run an ad on Indeed, you would only get responses from people who use Indeed. For better results, you could also run an ad on CareerBuilder. And continuing that logic, you could use Monster, Craigslist, your local newspapers, LinkedIn, and so on. By using many different tools, you give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect candidate. Or you could work with a staffing agency already using multiple tools and save yourself the time and money. Staffing companies also may have a robust referral network exclusive to them, meaning they have access to candidates you would never see otherwise. You can be confident that the candidates sent by a staffing agency are among the best available in the job market.
  3. Ability to Use Working Interviews – Your time is precious. Your staff’s time is precious. The staffing agency is already saving you time by pre-screening candidates, but there is another way to utilize their service and save even more time. Let the staffing agency send someone to start the job without you interviewing him or her first. The staffing agency will do everything necessary to onboard a new hire regardless of whether or not you interview, so why add another step? If you feel the person is not a good fit, you can always ask for a replacement for the next day. In most cases though, you’ll be happy with the first person the staffing agency sends. Especially if you have to hire a large number of people, this process of working interviews can add great value to your company.
  4. Reinforcing Your Policies – Once you hire someone, any number of problems can arise to jeopardize their employment. The staffing agency can assist you by enforcing discipline for safety violations, attendance policies, and any number of other rules your company may have in place. Additionally, if a separation needs to occur, the staffing agency will do an excellent job following best practices to ensure a separation least likely to create problems with unemployment.
  5. Assisting with Employee Retention – Staffing agencies have a variety of ways they assist with employee retention. Most agencies offer benefits like major medical health insurance and retirement plans. A staffing company’s benefit package may be especially valuable to small businesses that otherwise would be unable to offer something similar. Staffing agencies also like to provide perks to their employees ranging from ice cream on a hot day to flu shots in autumn to hockey tickets in the winter. Finally, they provide a listening ear to employees who may need to talk about the problems with their jobs. Staffing companies are happy to provide advice to their workers and sometimes keep the workers from throwing in the towel too early.
  6. Scaling Your Workforce – Being able to hire many people quickly and then lay them off after a project completion gives your company the ability to handle contracts you may not have been able to handle otherwise. Having a scalable workforce makes your company more dynamic.
  7. Providing Value Within the Rates – Staffing agencies usually charge a markup on the wage of the worker (e.g. worker’s wage = $10/hr, staffing agency’s bill = $14.50/hr). That markup may seem high, but when you consider everything that it includes you may find that it saves you money. Your taxes and workers’ compensation insurance alone are likely costing you 15% to 25% already (e.g. $11.50-$12.50/hr on a $10/hr wage). The staffing agency’s markup may cover any or all of the following hiring expenses:
  • Advertising
  • Prescreening applicants with experienced recruiters
  • Drug testing
  • Criminal background check
  • Social Security Number verification
  • OSHA safety training
  • Employer taxes (FUTA, FICA, & SUTA)
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Benefits to the employee (including health insurance)
  • Increased unemployment rate if the employee files after job completion

Working with a staffing company is about your bottom line. People are the lifeblood of your business and effective hiring is essential to your ability to grow. Work with professionals and you should see professional results.