How To Hire Workers Through An Employment Agency

If your business is in need of qualified employees, whether temporary or permanent, the right employment agency can streamline candidate vetting significantly. An employment agency can also reduce the time commitment and stress of the hiring process, and handle much of the payroll admin once you do make a hire. What you need to do as an employer is consider whether you need a worker with special skills or licensing, and if you need a permanent employee or someone to fill in for a short period of time. Having a firm understanding of your staffing needs makes it easy for you to determine which type of agency is most likely to fulfill your staffing needs in a cost-effective manner.

  • Traditional Employment Agency: This type of agency is ideal for a company that needs to bring in long-term employees but doesn’t want the expense of managing benefits and payroll.
  • Temp Agency: If you have short-term staffing needs, such as seasonal workers or a worker to replace someone on maternity leave, this type of agency is a good option.
  • Industry-Specific Agency: Industry-specific agencies are ideally set up to provide skilled labor for companies in the medical field, and other types of licensed professionals, such as accountants.
  • Recruiters/Headhunters: These specialized individuals and agencies are ideally suited for finding skilled professionals and executives to fill permanent positions in fields such as legal, business management, marketing, technology and finance.

Once you’ve determined the basics of what you need, whether it’s a competent retail salesperson to assist during the holidays, a team of data analysts to tackle a yearlong project, an administrative assistant to help sort through and file piles of paperwork and field incoming calls, or a permanent executive-level professional to step into a soon-to-be vacant top-level role, you’ll be ready to take the next set of steps:

  1. Weigh the benefits of a staffing agency against the cost of the service
  2. Reach out to employment agencies, and start asking questions.
  3. Make sure the agency understands your business, not what jobs you need filled.
  4. Get a clear picture of what the agency charges, and how and when you’ll pay.
  5. Get a good handle on the legal details.
  6. Be a partner with your staffing agency for best results.

Weigh the benefits of a staffing agency against the cost of the service.

Using a staffing agency to bring new workers into your company can help cut costs compared to direct hiring. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the average cost of direct hiring is in excess of $4,000 per employee. Using a staffing agency to bring in workers can help a company save on average between 30% and 40% off of that significant up-front amount. Some specific benefits of contracting with a staffing agency to find employees include:

  • No need to manage payroll: Staffing agencies manage payroll as part of the services provided.
  • No need to take care of employee income taxes: Staffing agencies manage employee HR and income tax paperwork, and they handle collecting taxes from workers’ pay.
  • Pre-screened candidates: A staffing agency will provide your company with candidates who are pre-screened for various factors, including job-specific skills, and attendance consistency at past jobs. They will also perform background checks.
  • Less stressful: Hiring through an agency can be a good way to reduce employee stress from both the hiring process and managing workers on an ongoing basis.

Reach out to employment agencies, and start asking questions.

When contacting employment agencies about your staffing needs, have a list of specific skills workers need to be successful at your company. It also helps to be clear about how long you need the workers and if there’s a chance you might eventually want to make  them permanent employees. Questions to consider asking before contracting with an agency include:

  1. How many clients does your agency serve?
  2. What industries do you specialize in serving?
  3. Have you worked with other companies in my industry?
  4. Do you have employees in your pool of temps who are experienced in my industry?
  5. What is your after-hours policy, and if a worker doesn’t show up, can you send a replacement quickly?
  6. What is your pricing structure, and is there room for negotiation?
  7. What training do you offer your workers? For example, do you train them to read materials safety data sheets (MSDS) or perform basic quality control (QC) tasks?
  8. If I like the employee’s performance, what are the terms for making them permanent?
  9. What sets your agency apart from other staffing services?
  10. Will I have a dedicated contact person if I contract with you?

Make sure the agency understands your business, not just the jobs you need filled.

In addition to asking questions, and explaining the specifications of the jobs you need fulfilled to your contact at the staffing agency, it’s also helpful to explain some details about the broader scope of your business. Describe what your business does and why, and show them your company’s website and social media profiles. Talk to the agency about your company culture so they can choose workers who exhibit the attitude and goals that match your business plans and will be a comfortable fit with your existing employees. Discuss some of the key elements that make your brand unique so the recruiter can confidently describe your company to potential employees. This helps the recruiter find the right people to send to you, and it helps potential employees feel energized and positive about coming to work at your business.

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Provide the employment agency with a detailed job description. While you may be looking forward to the agency freeing up your time for important business functions, as they screen candidates and handle payroll and employee admin, you do want to put in time up front creating a thorough and clear description for the job you need filled. Note specific tasks, deliverables, dependencies, and expectations. Are there weekly meetings the employee will be expected to contribute to? Note that. Is phone or email interaction with clients a major part of the position? Make sure it's spelled out in the job description. By putting this effort into the job description, you'll better equip your employment agency to find the best candidate for the job, and avoid problems down the road.

Get a clear picture of what the agency charges, and how and when you’ll pay.

An employment agency usually charges a percentage of the temporary employee’s hourly wages or a percentage of annual wages if you’re hiring a permanent worker. Traditional agencies are likely to use the percentage of wages process to set fees. Temp agencies typically charge a fee of 15% to 60% or more of the employee’s base hourly wage. Recruiters providing permanent employees typically charge a percentage ranging from 20% up to 30% of the worker’s annual salary.

Some legal protections to look for in your contract with a staffing agency include information about who is responsible for providing employees with PPE (personal protective equipment) and the training on its proper use as well as whether your company or the agency is responsible for providing safety training.

For best outcome, be an ongoing partner with your staffing agency.

Companies that experience fluctuations in demand may gain a significant advantage by being able to upscale or reduce workforce numbers quickly by hiring staffing agencies to manage employee fulfillment. This makes the staffing agency a partner in your company’s success. Some things you can do to make the most of the partnership with your staffing agency, regardless of the agency type you choose, include:

  • Be direct and clear about what skills you need in workers so the recruiting agent can find the best candidates to send you.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your contact at the agency to build a relationship. This helps them respond to your needs effectively.
  • Discuss concerns you have about legal issues and contractual details to hash out terms, ensuring the agency can meet your needs with no surprises.
  • Find an agency that specializes in serving clients in your industry, especially if it’s a niche industry, such as the medical field or accounting, which requires special licensing. This reduces the time you need to spend explaining your needs because they’re already accustomed to serving clients in your field who have similar needs.
Ready to hire? Here is our list of the best employment agencies near you.