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Identifying when to use a staffing agency or in-house to engage a permanent placement

In today’s tumultuous labor market, finding qualified talent requires time, dedication and urgency. Connecting with the right person for a full-time, permanent gig is an undertaking many organizations struggle with, even in a more balanced job market.

Partnering with a recruiting agency can offer several benefits, including access to a broad pool of skilled candidates, thorough screening processes and onboarding assistance.

On the flip side, some businesses prefer to handle their hiring in-house for various reasons.  

When should you utilize the help of an agency, and when do you know to scale up your in-house talent investment?  

Hiring a permanent placement through a staffing agency 

Experienced staffing firms have refined the talent acquisition process and possess detailed knowledge of multiple industries and the job roles therein. Key advantages of hiring through a staffing agency include: 

Full-service hiring 

From writing job descriptions to screening candidates to presenting job offers to onboarding, a workforce agency takes the guesswork out of hiring and provides convenience and confidence throughout the process. 

A reputable staffing agency should have a proven, end-to-end process that encompasses: 

  • Understanding and planning: Engaging with the company to understand its structure, culture and operations, and the organization’s specific recruitment needs related to its core business goals.
  • Developing position specifications: Drafting specifications for open job roles based on a company’s existing job descriptions and discussions with key decision-makers; the specifications will also describe the desired competencies and characteristics of appropriate candidates to be used as benchmarks during the sourcing and screening stages.
  • Sourcing, screening and qualifying: Candidates are found through multiple platforms, including a vast internal database, online platforms and other methods; viable candidates are further screened before a final group of qualified prospects is presented.
  • Selecting and presenting: Agencies submit the most qualified candidates to the organization for consideration; the staffing agency should assist in developing and negotiating the terms of employment.
  • Background checks and onboarding: Conducting reference and background checks and, as applicable, education verification for selected candidates who have received offers; assisting in gathering appropriate documentation for onboarding. 

A respectable staffing firm will also offer a 90-day guarantee, such that if a candidate does not work out, the agency will replace that individual free of charge. 

Staffing is their business 

Most companies’ core business falls outside of talent management. . Hiring is often a challenging process for organizations to handle internally because it requires them to divert resources away from their regular business. 

For recruitment agencies, hiring is their full-time job. A good workforce partner offers sophisticated knowledge of the talent market,  a spectrum of talent-acquisition resources, a record of staffing success and flexibility to fit your organization’s unique needs. 

As-needed scalability

An organization’s workforce evolves over time, and a business may require only a few new hires over a year or need to fill multiple positions in a single month. 

Organizations that maintain in-house hiring teams but have fluctuations in their staffing needs must make continuous adjustments to their talent acquisition personnel. A staffing agency can scale to your monthly flow of requisitions without having to be concerned with resource management within your talent acquisition teams.  

Broad talent pool 

Many companies focus on online job boards when attempting to create a funnel of viable candidates. Fundamentally, using tools to attract candidates is becoming less effective in the current market. Instead, staffing firms and employers are finding new ways to cultivate their talent pool and reach passive candidates, who may not be actively seeking a position but who may be interested in an opportunity within your firm.  

Recruiting agencies have access to deep talent pools that can net qualified candidates who may not be actively searching through job listings. Staffing firms maintain extensive talent databases, and they have the resources to identify skilled prospects through targeted research, individual outreach and other approaches. 

Speed to hire 

The phrase “speed kills” does not apply to hiring, and in today’s marketplace, it’s crucial to act swiftly to attract the best candidates. 

A quality recruiting agency can generate qualified candidates quickly, thanks to their talent resources and pre-screening processes. Partnering with a staffing agency also saves time for an organization’s in-house management, who don’t have to take away from their regular duties to vet and interview multiple prospects. 

Brand partnership 

The best staffing agencies are extensions of their clients’ employer brands. As a third party, staffing agencies are uniquely situated to present your brand in a different way than your internal teams.A talent acquisition firm should understand a company’s business goals and culture. They should be intentional about representing a partner’s brand to candidates, as they are representing the employer’s brand when they are in the marketplace speaking with candidates. 

When to handle hire a permanent placement in-house 

While staffing agencies offer efficiency and peace-of-mind for many organizations, some employers prefer hiring independently. 

Following are a few significant hiring tips for businesses managing their talent acquisition in-house: 

Cost 

Working with a staffing agency can reduce hiring costs, particularly when businesses must fill several positions. But smaller companies with limited hiring needs can save money by dedicating internal resources to the hiring process. 

Many niche businesses may further save on hiring expenses through targeted job postings or candidate searches. It remains crucial to be committed to the hiring process; devote sufficient time to searching and screening, and be prepared to interview and make offers in a timely manner. 

Create a database of candidates 

Staffing agencies have large databases of job candidates that span multiple industries. Small businesses that handle hiring internally can take a similar but scaled-back approach. 

Keep a file of resumes or applications from qualified candidates who didn’t make the final cut for a specific position if future roles arise. Reach out to potential candidates you’ve met at business gatherings or conventions or heard about through word-of-mouth; if they’re not looking when you have an available position, ask if you can keep their information for future openings. 

Increasingly there are a number of lower-cost candidate database products (called “Applicant Tracking Systems’ or ATS,) that are affordable to smaller businesses and can help manage your hiring process more efficiently. 

Utilize job fairs for entry-level roles 

Recruiting conventions and college job fairs can be especially beneficial for organizations seeking to hire entry-level positions. 

These events are often attended by skilled workers who are eager for experience. They also offer a forum for employers to connect at a personal level and establish their recruitment standards and brand culture. 

Hiring is different for every business 

There is no single solution for hiring the “right” person. Recruiting is one of the most important challenges for any organization, and it is going to look different in each organization..For many firms though, it makes sense to collaborate with a staffing agency that can meet their hiring needs over time. For others, filling the occasional role is effectively handled internally. 

In either case, hiring begins by considering needs, goals and budget. From there, the process can become an individual or cooperative effort to find the right talent to help your company grow long-term. 

The recruitment landscape has changed

Over the past two years, we have captured hard won lessons learned across thousands of worker hiring engagement by our team of professional recruiters and distilled them into practical ideas that you can start using immediately. The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook is a step-by-step guide to help source, screen, select, onboard and retain talent in the New World of Work.

Download your copy today:

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Identifying when to use a staffing agency or in-house to engage a permanent placement

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