Blog, Human Resources

4 Qualities of a Successful Staffing Agency

Hiring can be a difficult process. You need a position filled quickly but you’re not sure where to look, or you don’t have time to conduct a search with all the other things you have to do. There are lots of companies dedicated to helping businesses address this issue but weeding out the good ones from the bad can be almost as confusing as actually hiring a new employee.

With that in mind, here are four qualities of a successful staffing agency:

A Curated Network

A good recruiter knows that their strength is their contact list. Any respectable staffing agency will place the greatest emphasis on maintaining a healthy candidate pool and will screen candidates extensively before adding them to a database. A great network only stays great if it’s updated constantly. Look for staffing companies that maintain a strong presence within the professional community and are as engaged now as they were five or even 10 years ago. Otherwise, you may end up with a list of people who were fantastic prospects – a decade ago.

Regional Knowledge

Before you get too excited about the size of a staffing company’s database, make sure that the agency has a strong, established network where you’re hiring. If a company claims to hire across the country, find out where its presence is strongest. If your region one that the company is still “developing,” you might be better off finding another agency.

Industry Know-How

So, the agency has a solid network in your area and a strong commitment to keeping it that way. While it may seem like a great time to jump on board, make sure that the staffing firm you’re aligning with actually has experience hiring for the field and the type of position you need. A recruiting company dedicated to helping young professionals might not be the best place to find new senior management; likewise, a staffing firm with a history of helping sales and marketing professionals probably isn’t going to have the right structure to help you find a new developer for your mobile app. Research the companies you’re considering working with and observe whether they’ve hired successfully in the areas or types of positions you need filled. Meet with the companies on your shortlist and ask them about your industry to gauge how comfortable each one is with the subject.

They Ask Questions and Communicate

When sitting in a meeting with a representative from the agency, both sides should have plenty of questions. If you’re the only one asking questions, that should be a big red flag. Hiring can be a complicated process, and every company has different ideas about what makes an ideal employee. A good recruiting company will maintain a constant dialogue with you to ensure that they know exactly what you’re looking for. This is an ongoing process, since new questions can come up on a regular basis. For example, if a candidate has a great personality and all the skills required but only has four years of experience instead of the required five, should they still be considered for the role? Regular follow-up is key in ensuring that strong candidates don’t slip through the cracks in these situations.

Hiring is already hard enough without creating more headaches by having to deal with ineffective recruitment agencies. A bad hire (or several) can cost an organization considerably, both financially and in other ways. Focus on finding the one with the right connections, location, knowledge, and engagement level to suit your company’s needs.


– Lance Wang