Complete Guide to Working With a Staffing Agency

What Is a Staffing Agency? | Complete Guide |

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Using a staffing agency can be an efficient way to help you with your job search. Staffing agencies conduct most of the job search for you and they may connect you to top companies based on your qualifications and experience. This article covers what a staffing agency is, how they work, their benefits and what to expect with useful tips about using them.

What is a staffing agency?

A staffing agency is an organization that offers help setting companies up with short-term, long-term or permanent job candidates. Staffing agencies may also be known as a recruiting, search or employment agencies. Some staffing agencies are focused on providing staffing to industry-specific jobs.

How do staffing agencies work?

Here are the ways in which staffing agencies function for employers and employees:

For employers

An employer pays a staffing agency to find qualified candidates and they are responsible for providing pay, benefits and workers’ compensation, as well as withholding and remitting employment taxes. Staffing agencies begin by creating a job description using information given about the position by the company. They then post the job description on job boards, their website and several other channels.

Representatives of the agency may also search for qualified candidates on business social media platforms depending on the industry they are recruiting for. After the agency finds qualified candidates, they take care of the interviewing and screening process to further narrow the number of qualified candidates. The agency may carry out the entire hiring process depending on whether the position is short-term, long-term or permanent. The company is involved in the entire hiring process and they make the final decision on who is hired.

For employees

When you look for a job, you may contact a staffing agency or apply for jobs through an agency listing when you are interested in finding a new job. The staffing agency then interviews you to gain an understanding of your background, skills and qualifications to match you with the appropriate position.

Examples of positions:

  • Temporary. Staffing agencies may try to fill short-term and long-term temporary positions. In this case, the agency takes care of payroll for the company.
  • Temp-to-hire. The company hires an employee on a temporary basis and they may consider hiring permanently if the employee works well in the position and fits the company culture.
  • Permanent. If the position is permanent then the staffing agency usually finds and screens job candidates for the employer to interview. If the employee is hired by the company to work there in a full-time permanent position, then the staffing agency is no longer responsible to pay the job candidate. The company becomes the responsible party for remitting any payments.

Benefits of staffing agencies

Here are some of the benefits of using a staffing agency to find a job:

Offer job search expertise

Most individuals conduct a job search once every couple of years, but staffing representatives are job search professionals and they can help find the right job for you despite job market changes. Knowledgeable job search professionals help job seekers find a job with minimal challenges and surprises along the way. Staffing agencies provide their job seekers with practical job search advice and make them aware of what to expect from each job interview.

Save time

The job search usually takes up a considerable amount of time and you may have to submit multiple applications that require different cover letters and application information before you get called for an interview. Staffing agencies take care of the entire job search for you and guide you through their process.

Provide useful insights

When you work with a staffing firm,  you usually get feedback when you are not selected to fill a position. This may help you to understand why you weren’t the right fit for a role. Understanding key insights about your qualifications, background and skills may help you to further develop and increase your chances of success with job searches.

Staffing agencies typically know more about a company client and they can provide you with feedback about how a company handles employees. You can use these insights to make decisions about which job offers you choose to accept or decline.

Give access to more opportunities

Some top companies use staffing agencies exclusively to find qualified candidates. Staffing professionals know about which jobs would be the best fit for you and they know about opportunities you may not have access to. For example, some companies may not have advertised that they are hiring on job boards, but staffing professionals may know that the company is looking for recommendations.

What to expect when working with a staffing agency

Here are some things you can expect from a staffing agency:

They review your resume

First, candidates typically submit an electronic copy of their resume. A recruiter usually reviews the application within 24 hours before passing the resume along to a specialized recruiter. If the recruiter believes you are a qualified candidate, they contact you to discuss setting up an interview.

You may be required to take a skills test and a personality assessment

Before you come in for an interview, a staffing agency may require you to take a skills test and a personality assessment. The results of each test are usually discussed in the screening interview. This way, they can see what jobs are the best fit for you according to your personality and skills.

You undergo an agency interview

Recruiters are interested in finding out as much about you as they can to verify your background and job criteria. They may ask questions about your job preferences including commute, schedule and salary requirements.

The agency sets up a client interview

Lastly, the agency sets up an interview for you with a company that they feel you are well-suited for. If you are selected, the staffing agency usually takes care of the hiring process.

Tips for working with a staffing agency

Here are some helpful tips you may consider when working with a staffing agency:

Be honest about your employment history and what you are looking for

When you discuss your experience with a recruiter, make sure to be honest and specific about your employment history so the recruiter is well-equipped to find the right job for you.

Ask questions

If you’ve never used a staffing agency, you may need clarification about the process. Ask questions about the process and things you may not understand to help ease any uncertainty you may feel.

Use the free services offered by the staffing agency

Many staffing agencies offer free online tools such as classes and articles that provide useful information and may help you to improve your skills.

Be open to different job types

Even if you are looking for a permanent full-time position, be open to taking a contract or temporary position. These positions often allow you to gain new skills and you are introduced to great companies that may decide to hire you as a permanent employee after you’ve worked for them for a few months.

Make use of other resources

Keep searching for jobs on your own while your recruiter searches as well. Try making your recruiter aware of positions that you’ve applied for so they do not submit you for a job you’ve already applied for.

Treat the recruiting interview like a real interview

This includes dressing appropriately, showing up on time and bringing a copy of your resume along with any other materials the recruiter asks for.

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