When your business needs temporary staffing help, you may look in the phone book or online for a staffing company or call a business colleague for a recommendation or two. But once you get the staffing provider on the phone, how do you know if the agency is right for your business? Before you pick a staffing provider, remember that filling positions fast is not a magic pill to solving your staffing problems.
“The reality is that all staffing companies draw from the same pool of talent; no one has the monopoly on recruiting,” says Ray Culver, Regional Vice President for the Southeast region for Talent Tree, Inc. of Houston. “Better to base a decision on what the staffing company does to ensure a quality fit for your organization than one that promises to fill every job with a warm body.”
Smart Business spoke with Culver about what you should look for when selecting a temporary staffing agency and some red flags to avoid.
What can happen when a business picks a temporary staffing agency that is not a right fit?
A business simply won’t get what it needs in terms of staffing. Jobs won’t get done, and turnover will increase or remain the same. A staffing provider that only cares about filling slots but not necessarily filling it with the right candidate for a particular business culture is not a provider that is listening to its clients.
How can business owners know if a staffing company is more interested in placing the right person rather than just a ‘warm body’?
You will know if this is the provider’s goal because you will not only talk to the outside salespeople at the staffing firm, but you will talk to or even meet the inside team the people who do the actual recruiting. A member of this team should actually come into your office space to get to know your business, even if just for one meeting. These are the people who need to get a feel for the culture of your company so they can send you the right talent.
Another conversation that needs to happen between the staffing provider and client is identifying the client’s ‘pain’ surrounding staffing issues. It could be, for example, that turnover is high and that is why there is a need for temporary help. The staffing company ought to ask the business why that is happening, and if it doesn’t know, then lead the discussion in discovering why; it could be internal management, pay rate or a host of other reasons. A truly consultative staffing provider helps to dig in to what is hurting the company and works to help ease that pain.
What are some red flags to look out for when selecting a staffing provider?
- If the provider is not honest. There
will always be problems and times when
a provider can’t find good candidates.
But a good staffing provider should always keep you in the loop about what is happening. This honesty needs to go both ways.
- If the provider fails to offer solutions to deeper staffing problems. Don’t pick a staffing company that throws people at a client to see who sticks. This wastes time and money. The provider needs to take the time upfront to get to know your needs and the company’s culture.
- If the provider is not reachable. The level of customer service needs to be extremely high for temporary service personnel, because, frankly, if one does-n’t work out, there are 15 other ones waiting in the wings. If you are not being treated like you’re the only client, even if you are a small client, if the provider is not returning phone calls, not responsive to needs and not taking an active approach to sending the best people, that is a huge red flag; it’s time to look for a new staffing provider that is a better fit.
What are the benefits of having the right fit?
If you have the right fit, it will make your job easier. That staffing provider acts as an extension of your HR department. If you have the right staffing provider, the ‘pain’ your business feels, in terms of staffing issues, should subside and your business should run smoother. Whatever your ultimate goal is to increase production, phase out departments or any other goal using a temporary staffing provider should mean your business ought to be moving in that direction.