With the unemployment rate in the US at 3.7 percent, the market for finding the right talent for your company has become more competitive than ever. 

This makes staffing services an even more important component of your talent acquisition strategy. Having key relationships in place with a trusted firm ensures you have the scalability to deliver on unexpected increases in demand for hires. The staffing industry has blossomed: The American Staffing Association (ASA) states total staffing and recruiting industry sales have risen over 40 percent in the last decade, reaching $161 billion in 2017. The study found there are approximately 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies in the US, so there are plenty of options from which to choose.

The average cost to hire an employee is $4,129 and it takes approximately 42 days to fill a position according to the Society for Human Resource Management. So, you want to select a firm that will be the best fit for you and able to deliver the candidates you need.

Here’s your blueprint for selecting, onboarding, and monitoring the progress of your staffing services provider:

Select a Staffing Services Provider that Aligns to Your Values and Needs

Get the basics out of the way:

• Find out other organizations the staffing services provider has supported and in what capacity.
• Ask about their size and location to understand their resource model and market penetration. This can be a good and bad thing – a large firm with strong market presence may have a more robust network, however, they may also have non-solicitation agreements in place with other clients, which could limit their ability to proactively recruit talent for you.
• Understand their annual volume of hires, segmented by location and level, to understand if they have the market knowledge to quickly and effectively meet your hiring needs.
• Ask tough questions about the tenure and retention rate of their recruiters – you don’t want to invest time and energy in up skilling a staffing services firm if their own staff has a high rate of turnover.
• Look for a staffing services firm that can bring an external benchmarking, outside-in perspective with a pulse on your competition and job market.

"Having key relationships in place with a trusted firm ensures you have the scalability to deliver on unexpected increases in demand for hires"

Then, dig deeper: Your staffing services firm should have a true desire to understand your organization and talent strategy as well as clearly articulate how they define and assess high-caliber talent. Does their approach mirror your company’s definition? If so, further review their candidate search methodology as well as how they plan on representing your employer brand externally.

The best way to find this all out is through reference checking with their existing clients, listening to the story of their impact over time. It’s not just about filling open seats – it’s about how staffing services can elevate the talent attraction game for your company.

Onboard your Staffing Services Firm from Day One

Once you select your staffing services firm, weave their recruiters into the fabric of your talent acquisition team and business. Job shadowing, as well as inviting them to attend leadership team meetings and town halls, is a great way to help them understand the company’s strategy, pressures, successes, and energizing factors to aid in successfully attracting and assessing talent.

Second, define key performance indicators (KPIs), service level agreements, and areas of priority. The importance of recruitment quality versus speed versus cost differs from business to business. What’s most important is that your staffing services firm knows what matters to you most and can deliver accordingly.

Third, make sure knowledge is being shared across teams. Many larger organizations have talent acquisition earmarked by business or function. Bring the entire talent acquisition team together (both internal and external partners) on a regular basis to share lessons learned and best practices. It’s not only a great opportunity to share insights, but also to spotlight successes and further emphasize one common goal.

Monitor Progress Closely to Proactively Resolve Issues

As your staffing services firm begins its searches for your future talent, fostering relationships with your talent acquisition team, the business, and candidates are top priority. Assess their progress by measuring hiring manager satisfaction and candidate satisfaction. If the satisfaction metrics are high, then the other KPIs such as time to accept will come.

It’s also important to monitor the firm’s speed, sense of urgency, and agility with which they remedy issues. For example, when a new staffing firm starts, they should quickly realize who on their team can nimbly navigate your environment. Your partner’s ability to act on underperformers to reach a stable team rapidly is a key indicator of their commitment to a successful relationship.

Staffing service firms are essential to fulfilling your company’s pipeline in today’s competitive job market. By following these steps to select, onboard, and monitor progress, your staffing service firm will become a true extension of your talent acquisition function.