How to Use a Staffing Agency

Here’s a sad story about a business owner who burned an hour of precious time — for nothing.

He met with a recruiter to discuss an opening at his company.  They met for an hour. The recruiter pulled some resumes from her pile. None of them fit.  Not even close

“It was like we weren’t even in the same room,” the owner told me.

He learned the hard way: Some staffing agencies just want to place someone (anyone) from their pile of resumes. It’s all about the next placement, not the right fit.

I don’t blame those agencies. Many employers ask for a flood of resumes. The more the better they think. Quantity, not quality.

I’ve dropped clients that think that way because it’s a waste of time and money — for me and the employer.

Recruiting isn’t trench warfare. You don’t find the right person by throwing bodies at the problem.

It’s more like matchmaking for a long-term relationship. It takes time, good criteria, and a sensible approach.

Here’s how to use a staffing agency the right way.

Work With Knowledgeable People

When you buy a car, you want advice from someone that knows a lot about cars.

Hiring a new employee is the same way.

Your recruiter should know something about what makes a good employee in your business.

That way, when you sit and talk to them for an hour to detail what you’re looking for, they can give you good advice.

A recruiter should know how to change your job title, word your job description, and approach promising candidates in the field you’re looking to hire in.

How to Use A Staffing Agency as a Partner — Not a Hired Hand

Think of a staffing agency as external HR.

They are another line into a lake swarming with fish.

Working hand-in-hand with them can bring in the kind of haul you want. Not being straight with them or ignoring their advice can lead to hooking a fish you have to toss back.

Be up front and clear about what you’re looking for, along with everything you’ve done to try and recruit the right people.

Work with them to tweak what you’re looking for.

I had a client that thought they wanted a Controller. After meeting with them, we decided what they were looking for was an Accounting Manager.

Their willingness to trust our expertise and outside perspective saved them time and money and got them the employee they didn’t know they needed.

Targeting and Time

Earlier I said to view a staffing agency as ‘another line,’ not ‘another net.’

You want a recruiter that has expertise in your field because you want them to target the right people in the right way.

I’ve had clients that expected immediate results and a hurricane of resumes. All that got them was a parade  of bad hires and wasted money.

View a staffing agency like you would any investment advisor.

Once you target what you want, let them search and wait for the results to come in.

It can take weeks to find a promising candidate that will fit into your culture and requirements.

Trust them to do their job.

If you want a staffing partner…

…we’re here for you. 

Give us 30 minutes to share how our recruiting and screening process will give you the right candidate, the first time.


Chuck Vogel