7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Staffing Agency

Start by asking: What expertise do you have with recruiting in my industry?

By Tracy Streebel, VP Marketing, Inavero

Nearly 3 million temporary employees go to work in the United States each day (American Staffing Association: Quarterly Trends in Temporary Help Services, http://www.americanstaffing.net/statistics/employmentdata.cfm), and 35 percent of companies have used a staffing agency to help them hire a permanent or temporary employee in the last 12 months (Inavero and CareerBuilder Research: 2012 Opportunities in Staffing, http://opportunitiesinstaffing.com/)

Do you think we’re done dealing with economic uncertainty and fluctuations in workflow? Me neither. But with more than 6,000 staffing agencies in the United States alone, how do you even begin to find the right staffing partner? After a decade of research and more than a million survey responses, Inavero has boiled down your search to seven key questions you need potential partners to answer. Get answers to these questions, and the daunting task of hiring a staffing agency becomes much simpler.

What to Ask

  1. What expertise do you have with recruiting in my industry? 
  2. How do you measure your client satisfaction and what is your most recent satisfaction score?
  3. What was your turnover rate for internal staff last year?
  4. What is your most recent satisfaction score for your permanent and temporary placed talent?
  5. What current trends and recruiting issues should I be aware of?
  6. Do you expect your rates to be higher, lower or about the same as other agencies we may consider? 
  7. What are your expectations of me in this partnership?

Analyzing the Answers

1. What expertise do you have with recruiting in my industry? Inavero research has shown that while an ability to effectively match technical skills and culture fit are critical, it is the staffing agency’s knowledge of your industry that is most important.Does the agency attend your industry events? Has it filled positions for your competitors? If it isn’t one of the key contributors to your industry, find an agency that is and partner with it instead.

2. How do you measure your client satisfaction and what is your most recent satisfaction score? One of the most reliable indicators of future performance is past performance. Ask staffing agencies to provide you with their most recent client satisfaction score and how they compare to competitors. Don’t just accept three client testimonials from the staffing agency—anyone can find three people who love them. 

Inavero’s Best of Staffing list is the nation’s only award that recognizes staffing agencies that receive remarkable reviews from their clients. Less than 1 percent of agencies in North America make the list. The 2013 Best of Staffing Client winners all have achieved a minimum Net Promoter Score of 55 percent, more than double the industry average score (17 percent) for staffing agencies.

3. What was your turnover rate for internal staff last year? Partner with an agency that has low turnover of its internal staff so you can build a long-lasting relationship. It’s important that your account manager and recruiter know you, your business, and your industry. This is tough to accomplish if they leave the staffing agency. A recent Inavero and CareerBuilder study found 32 percent of staffing agency clients had a different contact this year compared to last year at their primary staffing agency. The best agencies should have internal turnover of less than the most recent industry average of 21 percent.

4. What is your most recent satisfaction score for your permanent and temporary placed talent? A staffing agency with happy people working for them is invaluable. Dissatisfied permanent and temporary employees who are working for you are twice as likely to quit their job early.These types of avoidable disruptions are painful and costly for you and your team. Gauge the satisfaction of permanent and temporary employees currently working for a staffing agency by viewing testimonials, reviews, and satisfaction scores. 

The industry average Net Promoter Score for permanent and temporary employees working for a staffing agency is 30 percent,but those who earned the 2013 Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for talent satisfaction achieved a minimum NPS of 50 percent, with average scores that are more than double the industry benchmark. 

5. What current trends and recruiting issues should I be aware of? Choose a staffing agency you trust as a strategic advisor for your company. Your agency should provide you with useful and enlightening information that makes you smarter, even before you hire it. Did you learn anything new the first time you met with a representative? If not, continue your search. 

6. Do you expect your rates to be higher, lower, or about the same as other agencies we may consider? Don’t just buy from the staffing agency with the lowest price or markup. It’s important to make an informed decision based on value and not solely on cost. Inavero research shows that if your organization makes a bad hiring decision, it will cost you up to four times more than if you had just hired a staffing agency with expertise in filling the needed position.

However, if an agency is higher in cost than its competitors, it should be able to explain and illustrate why. Pay for concrete value and true differentiation, not clever marketing or a persuasive sales pitch. Choose a staffing agency that provides you with permanent and temporary employees you can’t necessarily access yourself and invests in training the talent who will be working with you.

7. What are your expectations of me in this partnership? A high-performing relationship with a staffing agency won’t happen without your investment of time and resources, too. Partner with a staffing agency that you trust enough to allow it access to learning about your business and culture. The success of a partnership is rooted in valuing each person involved—clients, job candidates, and the hired staffing agency. With this commitment in place, hiring a staffing agency and developing your flexible workforce strategy can be a transformational component for your organization’s growth, flexibility, and sustained success.

Click here to download the full guide – How to Hire the Best Staffing Agency

Methodology

Those recognized on Inavero’s 2013 Best of Staffing Client list earned the distinction based on the strength of more than 37,130 survey responses. Participating staffing agencies were required to survey all clients they had worked with during a recent consecutive three-month period, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology. Net Promoter Score is calculated by taking the percentage of clients who rate their likelihood to recommend the staffing agency with a score of 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percentage who rate the staffing agency a 6 or lower (detractors). A minimum response rate of 20 percent (with at least 15 responses), or 500 responses per brand were required to ensure the score’s validity. Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

Tracy Streebel is VP of Marketing at Inavero, a global leader in employment research that administers staffing agency client and job candidate satisfaction surveys. Inavero’s team reports on satisfaction surveys from more than 500,000 staffing agency clients and talent each year, and the company serves as the American Staffing Association’s exclusive research partner. Inavero recently announced its 2013 Best of Staffing award winners, presented in partnership with CareerBuilder. The fourth annual Best of Staffing lists reveal which staffing agencies are delivering exceptional service to their clients and the permanent and temporary employees they help to find jobs. For more information, call 800.921.2640; e-mail bestofstaffing@inavero.com; or visit inavero.com and bestofstaffing.com

 

 

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