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Why Staffing Agencies Get a Bad Rap and How We Can Fix It


Despite the fact that temporary and contract employment has become more prevalent than ever after the Great Recession, staffing agencies still get a bad rap in the minds of many people. If you browse the internet long enough, you'll find plenty of personal stories and rants about bad experiences with staffing agencies. As a staffing company, we know that all staffing companies aren't bad, but maybe we're being misrepresented in the eyes of many former, present or potential employees.

What upsets people about staffing agencies? Common complaints include:

  • Poor communication between recruiter and candidate, including bad follow-up and lack of details about the role
  • Mass messaging/contacting the wrong candidates
  • Impersonal relationships (i.e. never hearing from the staffing agency after placement)
  • Over-promising
  • Turnover

Though there will always be dissenters, there are a few things the staffing industry can do to better represent themselves in  the public sphere and demonstrate their value to the economy.

Educate yourself and always follow up with the candidate

Granted you are not an employee of the company your staffing agency is recruiting for, but if you don't know how to answer basic questions posed by candidates about the position, it's unlikely that candidates will want to be submitted for your jobs. Both clients and candidates will be impressed if you really understand the role: clients will get better candidates and candidates will feel as if you're finding them a position that works with their experiences and goals.

After you've wowed everyone with your knowledge of the position and company, don't drop the ball. Follow-up with your clients of course, but never forget to follow-up with a candidate. Staffing companies are constantly slammed on this sloppy move. Some recruiters or agencies will disconnect with candidates if a job closes or if the person turns out to be a bad fit for the role.

Treat people as you'd like to be treated and let candidates know the status of their application. Keeping your communication frequent and honest will help build better relationships with your candidates, as most people appreciate timely feedback.

Slow down your sourcing

Some agencies may value quantity over quality, but often mass messaging can result in tremendous failure, wrecking any relationships of trust you've built with your candidate pool. Finding the right candidates, not just semi-right candidates is important for upholding the integrity of your organization. Most candidates can tell that they're being mass-messaged for an opening and it's a huge turnoff. Personalized emails with relevant information is an easy fix.

If you're reaching out to someone to offer them a job, you don't want to let them down after sparking their interest. This will ultimately sever your ties with potential candidates for other future positions! In addition, when you fill the position with a sub-par candidate, most likely your turnover rate will be higher. No client wants to re-interview and re-train an employee every two weeks.

Be honest

Clients and candidates alike do not like to be led-on. Over-promising only makes it hard to over-deliver. Most clients are turned off when a vendor agrees to work on a position they've never worked before without disclosing that information, or when a vendor cannot fill the role and doesn't communicate that. Similarly, candidates do not like to be over-sold on an opening only to find out in an interview or on site it is nothing like described. They feel as if their time has been wasted, which is never good for someone who is job searching. Being honest about your capabilities and delivering on those promises is much more important and will impress both your clients and candidates.

Don't forget about your employees

Possibly the largest complaint candidates have about staffing agencies is the fact that they never hear from the agency after they start their assignment. Calling the candidate after the first day or week on the job to make sure they've gotten settled can make all the difference to your relationship with the candidate turned employee.

Following up doesn't end with the assignment: periodically calling to check in, maybe after 30 days, 90 days, etc. to ensure the employee has no issues or questions makes employees feel valued, even if they're not working at your office. These relationships are important: when the employee's assignment ends, there will probably be another job order to fill that you can submit them to!

Staffing agencies serve an economic purpose and they help many people get their foot in the door for some practical experience before finding the career of their dreams. As staffing agencies and the temporary workforce continues to grow, it's important to take these tips into consideration in order to continue building positive vibes towards the staffing community. We do good work and want to help people reach their career goals!

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