5 Questions to Ask a Staffing Firm Before Hiring Them

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Every vendor that serves your business should be vetted. That way, you can make informed decisions and have a better chance they’ll provide you with the solutions you need to efficiently run your business. 

That’s why it’s smart to ask a staffing firm some pointed questions before you hire them. 

A staffing agency is responsible for helping you find your company’s most valuable resource; your people. Legwork on the front end helps you avoid the costly mistake of a bad hire.

When you’re considering a new staffing firm, congrats! Recruiters know secrets about hiring that employers don’t, and can land a better hire faster than if you tackle finding one yourself. Just make sure you’re working with a firm that’s a good fit by asking these 5 questions before you decide to hire them. 

How much experience do you have with my industry? 

Staffing companies may be experts at placing medical professionals. That’s great, unless you’re hiring accountants. 

Find out what industries and positions that staffing firm has direct experience handling, and what percentage of their business comes from the industry you’re in. This will tell you how well they’ll do at finding you a high-quality candidate. 

If they offer little experience in your industry, or with the role you have open, another agency may be your best choice. 

How deep is your talent pool?

This question is important because you don’t want to work with a firm that doesn’t have access to much talent. If they have “low inventory” you may end up interviewing someone who isn’t a good fit because the firm doesn’t have anyone more appropriate to send you. 

Hopefully they can talk about their deep pipeline of candidates they’re working with and can narrow it down to their top 3 that best meets your requirements and budget. If that’s the case, you can feel confident their talent pool is deep enough to serve you well. 

How do you source for passive candidates?

Active candidates are easy to find via job boards but how does your staffing firm find that “purple squirrel”? Great recruiters have a deep network of industry leading professionals they can reach out to for referrals. The passive candidates are not checking their 100’s of inmails about the “Next Best Career Opportunity”. Instead, they are looking to their mentors and peers in the industry to network for their next career advancement. Great recruiters can instantly reach into their network to tap into these passive candidate pools.

How do you handle a hire that doesn’t work out?

Even with the best of intentions, staffing firms are working with human beings who are unpredictable. Poor placements can happen. However, your staffing firm shouldn’t leave you high and dry. 

Make sure you understand the staffing agency’s policy on replacements or refunds on poor placements, and any other guarantees they offer. If their policies are hard to understand, or they hem-haw around about them, this is a red flag. 

What is your screening and selection process?

Agencies that properly screen their talent pool save you lots of time. Skill assessments, background checks, and preliminary interviews are valuable tools that, if your agency does them, saves you from having to do it. Skipping these steps is a costly mistake to make during the hiring process. Already screened candidates can decrease the time-to-fill and give you more confidence in your decision to hire that person. 

If the recruiting agency pre-screens their talent and truly does their due diligence, that’s a checkmark in their favor. 

When you’re thinking about working with a staffing firm for the first time, or are changing from the one you use already, make sure you ask these questions before you decide. It will save you lots of headaches down the road. After all, the point of working with an agency is to ease the burden of filling open positions and have more high-quality candidate choices to fill your open roles faster than if you handled it in-house. 

Do you want to work with a staffing firm who specializes in certain businesses and roles? Reach out for a conversation with Kendra today.

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