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Hiring for a small firm does not happen overnight. Reviewing applications, interviewing individuals, and calculating pay divert valuable time away from a business owner’s routine responsibilities, which may harm the company in the long run. That is why some firms collaborate with staffing services, who take a lot of the time and effort out of the applicant hunt by offering personnel for unfilled positions.

Using a staffing agency isn’t the best option for every company, but if you’re thinking about using one to meet your hiring needs, here’s what you should know about the process.

A staffing agency recruits employees for businesses that are seeking to fill certain positions. They help companies hire for different types of jobs: temporary (an assignment with a set start and end date), temp to hire (an assignment that’s initially temporary but is used to help an employer determine the temp worker’s long-term fit with the company) and direct hire (a permanent position in which the staffing agency acts as a recruiter). 

If the agency doesn’t have a readily available and suitable candidate in its talent pool, it will typically advertise the position on job boards like Indeed and other places where job seekers would likely look. The agency can also reach out directly to suitable candidates through professional platforms like LinkedIn, which allows them to filter search results by keyword, job function, location, industry and more. This approach is particularly effective when hiring a niche specialist with a specific skill set. 

The agency will then accept applications and conduct interviews and a background check if required, just as any other employer would. Once the right candidate is found, that person is hired as an employee of the agency (except in the case of direct-hire positions). The worker’s paycheck and benefits, if offered, are issued by the staffing agency, but the length of employment is determined by the business.

Because the market is so crowded with job seekers, firms are opting to hire more temporary or temp-to-hire employees through staffing agencies rather than hiring permanent personnel directly. While staffing firms can function similarly to human resources departments, they specialize in finding the right individual for the right job – and screening through all the wrong applicants. Make sure you have what it takes to impress a staffing agency with these expert temp agency suggestions!

1. Speak with Respect

If you’re wondering what to say when calling a temp agency, you should let respect be your guide. Job seekers tend to believe that since they are not speaking directly with a hiring manager from the company they want to work for, they don’t need to turn their A-game on for their contact at a staffing agency. Yet staffing agency interview questions can make up the bulk of interviewing experiences.

A recruiter at a staffing agency serves as the initial screener for an open position. If you want to be considered for a job with their client, strive to impress the recruiter. When coming up with questions to ask a staffing agency, feel free to ask for clarity on any parts of the process you may be uncertain about.

Make sure you speak professionally, honestly and politely with any representative you encounter from a staffing agency. Treat them as you would any other hiring manager in a job interview. If you can’t impress the recruiter, you’ll never even get the chance to turn your charm on for the hiring manager.

2. Follow Instructions

Hundreds of people can apply to the same job posting on a daily basis, so staffing agencies typically try to screen candidates before even viewing their resumes. For example, a job posting might say that all interested candidates need to include a cover letter or a salary requirement with their resume. If you don’t include the requested paperwork or information, you could be immediately disqualified without your resume even being viewed.

Whether you receive a response to your resume requesting more information or a recruiter asks you to call them at a certain time, the best temp agency tips dictate that you do your best to follow all the instructions you receive. Staffing agencies usually won’t waste their time talking to someone about a position if they have already proved they cannot follow basic instructions. If you are choosing questions to ask a staffing agency, make sure not to ask for information that they have already provided in their instructions.

3. Be Enthusiastic

Our next temp agency tip is to be enthusiastic. If you receive a call from a staffing agency and you are interested in the position they have, show them! Staffing agencies won’t want to send a candidate on a job interview with their client if they don’t sound enthused about the position. Some staffing agency interview questions are tailored to gauge the enthusiasm of potential applicants for positions.

While you don’t want to be overly eager, what you say when calling a temp agency lets them know whether you want a position. Enthusiasm shows you are willing to commit to the interview process and would accept an offer if you received one.

Read Also: How do You Use an Employment Agency?

It’s also important to be honest with a recruiter if you aren’t interested in a position. They won’t want you to feign enthusiasm only to turn down an offer at the last minute. Consider what questions to ask a staffing agency to help you know if an offer or organization would be a fit for your circumstances. Be straightforward with the staffing agency about exactly what you want and need in a position. The more honest you are with them, the more they will be able to help you.

Be on Your Best Behavior

If you do end up temping with a staffing agency while you wait for a full-time position, treat each temp assignment as you would a permanent position. A positive attitude and taking initiative go a long way towards impressing the employer you’re working for. You could potentially be considered for a full-time position should one become available.

Even if this temp assignment doesn’t help you gain a full-time position, you might do well enough on the job to impress the agency that placed you. As a result, they’ll want to continue working with you and place you in more assignments. The staffing agency will be more inclined to consider you for any permanent opportunities they have, as well.

On the other hand, if you treat a temp assignment as just a way to make money and have no respect for the client or the agency you’re working for, they will be less inclined to work with you in the future. Take that opportunity to formulate questions to ask as you deepen your relationship with the staffing agency with which you are currently employed.

Pros and Cons of Using a Staffing Agency

As employers increasingly turn to part-time, freelance and temporary workers to fill their workforce gaps, staffing agencies have become a valuable resource for finding talent quickly and efficiently. Below are just a few of the many Pros the right staffing company can offer your business.

Fast hiring

The job market has changed considerably over the past several years, and the hiring process is longer and more difficult than in previous decades. Working with a staffing agency makes it quicker and easier.

“Great talent becomes harder to find, and it becomes extremely time-consuming for managers to review résumés and conduct interviews, all while still being responsible for their day-to-day operations,” said Matthew Rowles, senior manager of talent acquisition operations at Coca-Cola Consolidated. “Turning to a trusted staffing partner can save time and money. A staffing firm can prescreen and qualify candidates to ensure the manager is always interviewing candidates that are a fit for the role.”

Reduced team workload

One of the upsides of employing the services of a staffing agency as opposed to assigning hiring responsibilities to a member of your team is that it frees that individual to concentrate on critical role-specific tasks. A staffing agency can focus on the hiring process; that is its main function, after all. But if your employees have to dedicate some of their work time to vetting and interviewing numerous candidates, it might disturb their day-to-day routine and reduce productivity. A staffing firm solves that problem.


AJ Brustein, co-founder of on-demand staffing platform Wonolo, said that many companies are holding back on hiring for full-time positions for several reasons. A focus on leaner operations has a lot to do with it.

“Companies are trying to be more productive and only have workers when they are absolutely needed,” Brustein said. “They need to find ways to make sure every dollar they spend is going to help the business. Temp staffing allows them to only have people when they need them, and those people are being productive.”

Jason Leverant, president and COO of national staffing franchise AtWork Group, said that employers have come to realize the value of having a fluid workforce that can be dynamically adjusted to meet their hiring needs on an ongoing basis.

“The flexibility [of using a staffing agency] became the primary driver in the push to bring on a workforce that can adapt with the ebb and flow of a client’s business demands,” Leverant said.

Specialized hiring

According to Monster’s Future of Work Report 2022, more than 9 out of 10 employers are struggling to fill a position due to a skills gap. If you’re looking to hire a niche worker with specific skills, a specialized staffing firm can make the process more painless. 

For example, some agencies solely focus on recruiting employees in the tech or legal fields. They have the necessary connections, resources and accumulated pools of passive candidates looking for new opportunities, allowing them to locate a perfect fit for your role. Additionally, their extensive knowledge of area-specific salary ranges and market history, and their ability to spot red flags during the screening process, can save you money in the long run. 

Reduced risk

There are a lot of legal responsibilities involved with being an employer, like covering certain taxes, providing health insurance coverage and following labor laws. From a financial and operational standpoint, hiring employees also comes with financial risks, especially if someone new has to be fired or unexpectedly leaves. When you use a staffing firm, the agency assumes many of these liabilities for you.

“Staffing firms are generally considered the employer of record when it comes to the temporary associates that are placed, so … [staffing firm clients] appreciate the fact that, for the most part, the staffing firm maintains full responsibility for the employees while they are on assignment,” Leverant said.

While there are plenty of benefits when using a staffing agency for simplifying and accelerating your hiring process, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and Cons

Additional hiring costs

There is no getting around it: Using a staffing agency comes with, on average, a 15% to 25% annual salary fee that varies depending on the industry and other factors. On the other hand, Zippia research shows that having an in-house HR team can increase a company’s hiring costs by more than 50% when you factor in those team members’ annual salaries. It’s also worth considering the productivity, time and resource investment that comes with handling hiring internally. Each company has to ask itself which is the real disadvantage.

Wide culture gap

While a good staffing agency takes time to get to know your business and its values, it will likely lack deeper insight into your company’s culture. This means that its proposed candidates while possessing relevant skills and experiences, might end up clashing with the rest of your team when it comes to ethics and attitude. However, this can be mitigated by introducing an internal culture screening process in addition to the agency’s vetting procedures. 

Reduced team bonding

The traditional in-house hiring process usually involves several rounds of interviews conducted by different team members. This method allows the staff to get to know the prospective candidate and form a certain bond with them before they become an employee.

Using a staffing agency to primarily fill the role of an interviewer means that a new hire often comes to your business as a complete stranger and will require additional time to build relationships. This downside can become even more problematic with temporary workers, who might be unfairly perceived as inferior to permanent employees. 

Reputation consequences

Establishing a stellar internal hiring process can help strengthen your company’s reputation with both prospective and current employees and become an integral part of your culture. Even if a candidate doesn’t receive a job offer, they can still spread the word about their positive experience with your organization.

But if you decide to use a staffing agency, you are relying on its established brand, reputation and professionalism. In that case, if a candidate has a poor hiring experience when interacting with the agency, it can reflect poorly on your own business.

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