Here Are The Most Frequently Asked Questions.
The staffing world is foreign to many and we are asked questions on a regular basis about recruiting, in general, and IT staffing, in particular. Learn more about how this industry works, what it can do for you, and what to watch out for.
Recruitment agencies facilitate both sides of the hiring process by simultaneously providing services and supporting the respective needs/desires of job seekers and hiring organizations.
For job seekers, recruitment agencies provide job matching services in specific industries like Finance & Accounting, Information Technology, and Light Industrial.
Recruitment agencies also help businesses find specialized talent for their organizations. These companies typically don’t have internal staff to support their hiring needs, and/ or their efforts to find the right candidates have failed or stalled. These circumstances create the need for companies to solicit help from a recruitment agency.
Recruitment agencies are broken up into two main groups: Professional Staffing Organizations and Temp Agencies/Day Labor Staffing
Professional Staffing Organizations
Professional staffing organizations listen to the needs and desires of job seekers, with the goal of matching them with positions aligning with specific skills, goals, and interests at that particular moment in their career. They also work with hiring companies to find and match the most suitable candidate based on the experience, education, and certifications required for a specific position.
Temp Agencies (Day Labor Staffing)
Temp agencies provide “day labor” to various companies, so interested candidates with minimum professional skills or experience have the opportunity for immediate employment and future growth. Entry-level positions and warehouse or clerical-based jobs are examples of positions these companies staff. Essentially, the goal of temp agencies is to help unemployed/underemployed job seekers find work quickly that doesn’t require specific experience or qualifications.
Recruitment agencies help candidates find available positions while simultaneously owning the process of finding available candidates for an external client’s job openings. Agencies act on behalf of both job seekers and hiring managers by aligning candidates with employment opportunities tailored to their unique needs/skillset and presenting hiring managers with a pool of qualified candidates they may not have otherwise come across.
Once a candidate is identified, the agency presents them to the hiring manager seeking to fill an open role within their team/department/company. Pira Consulting also offers value-added services to ensure candidates have the best chances of placement. These services include logistics for the interview process, preparing candidates with what to expect during an interview, and helping them position themselves to have the best chance of landing the role.
After the interview process is complete, we solicit feedback from the hiring manager/decision-maker, coordinate additional interview steps, pay rate negotiations, facilitate the job acceptance process and follow client procedures with the onboarding of new employees. The onboarding process varies by company but typically includes background checks, drug checks, employment verification, education verification, employment paperwork, payroll information, and benefits.
Once the job seeker has found the right position and the client is happy with their newly onboarded employee, we provide ongoing maintenance and support duties like employee conflict resolution, timecards/payroll, performance management, and job redeployment activities if needed.
As a job seeker, a staffing agency can utilize its expertise and network to match you with open positions that align with your personal and specific skills, goals, and interests within your field of expertise. In addition to bringing applicable, pre-screened active job postings directly to you, they can also leverage their network of professional relationships, affiliations, and organization-specific inside knowledge of different hiring companies. They use this information to market you to the right hiring managers, giving you the advantage to get in front of the right people for direct consideration and ultimately land a position within that company.
As a hiring manager, a staffing agency provides you with qualified candidates for open positions but also serves as an expert in the field of hiring and recruiting. Pira Consulting always knows the pulse of the market and can assist you with items like salary negotiations and adjusting your interview process to mirror the market and position you to get the right candidates in all economic seasons.
Good agencies provide relevant job opportunities and have clear, open communication.
At the end of the day, recruitment agencies are only as good as the positions we have open for each candidate. Job seekers engage with Pira Consulting because they have a need/desire for new employment. And regardless of how we can help a candidate with resume edits, interview preparation skills, etc. We can’t get to that part of the process without having open, qualified, job requirements for a variety of customers.
Communication issues are at the heart of all complaints regarding recruitment agencies. Job seekers being “ghosted” at any point of the process is typically why people write a negative review about an agency.
For job seekers, it should always be FREE and include services like resume critiquing, writing, or editing. Some staffing companies charge for these additional services but we strongly disagree with that.
For hiring companies, recruitment and staffing costs are broken down into two different paths: Permanent placement or contract-based hiring:
- With permanent placement, staffing companies charge a flat fee. Typically, this is a percentage of the placed employee’s permanent salary and ranges from 15-35%. Fees can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including the economy, previously agreed upon pricing schedules, or the volume of business done with a particular customer.
- For contract-based hiring, fee structures typically fall into two camps: “Mark-Up” or “Bill Rate”. Mark-Up is a scenario where the staffing company is charging a “mark-up” percentage fee to the placed contract employee’s hourly rate. Bill Rate is where the staffing company charges the client hiring organization a flat hourly bill rate. The rate is calculated based on market conditions and supply/demand rather than the contractor’s salary.
Typically the answer is twofold: The internal talent acquisition team is underperforming or contract-based hiring isn’t being handled by the existing talent acquisition team.
Underperforming teams: Internal talent acquisition/HR teams of any size can underperform in their recruiting efforts because of being over-taxed from having too many open positions at one time. Or, they can underperform because of the niche components of the positions needed staffing. Specialized staffing firms like Pira Consulting understand the unique needs of Information technology (IT), finance/accounting, and other niche industries better than generalized staffing firms. We regularly engage with clients and work closely with their internal talent acquisition staff to address struggles filling open positions.
Contract-based hiring needs: Recruitment agencies are typically engaged when hiring companies deem a position best filled by a temporary staff temp assignment, short-term project-based work, etc. In these cases, the hiring company’s internal structure usually isn’t set up for hiring contract-based staff, and this task can be outsourced very effectively to a recruitment agency.
For job seekers:
- Access to open positions otherwise not found on regular job boards or want ads
- Established relationships and inside client knowledge can lead to a higher likelihood of getting an interview
- Knowledge of who you would be interviewing with helps prepare you for what to expect in the interview instead of walking in blind with no knowledge of the company, hiring manager, departmental needs, etc.
- Valuable, in-depth feedback on how to best market yourself via your resume
- Having an impartial advocate while on the job. We can help you with issues pertaining to your manager or other colleagues while on-site, help you negotiate conversion salaries, and provide you with industry and hiring market knowledge to make the best decision when looking for a new job.
For hiring managers/companies:
- Immediate access to available talent curated through countless hours of relationship building, networking, database organization, etc.
- A real-time look into the hiring market and /or related economic conditions. We guide you on when to hire, how to market your job descriptions effectively, when to adjust pay rates either up or down, etc.
- Someone to handle those tough employee feedback conversations for you.
- For contract-based placement, the hiring manager/company doesn’t have to worry about the HR process if they need to let someone go. Since those contract-based workers are employees of the staffing company and not the client hiring organization, you don’t need a written history of issues to convince an HR team to legally terminate someone. For these same reasons, there are no concerns regarding unemployment insurance/tax rates.
Job seekers: Start by asking your recruiter about their client relationships and familiarity with their customers. While you may appreciate and like the specific recruiter you are working with, the real question is whether they are best positioned to help you get the position you want. Asking these questions will help you understand whether the agency is the right fit and positioned to help you get your ideal job:
- Does the recruitment agency have an agreement to do business with the hiring company?
- If yes, does the recruitment agency know the hiring manager directly?
- If yes, does the recruitment agency have any consultants on this particular team?
- If not, have they placed consultants with this client in the past?
Hiring companies: The right questions to ask before engaging a recruitment agency should include:
- Cost structure and whether your budget supports that cost
- Does the recruiting company specialize in hiring the type of person you need?
- Do you need employees in multiple markets? If so, can the recruitment firm handle that?
- Your most updated resume
- A thorough understanding of your present working situation
- What types of roles interest you
A recruitment agency needs this information to understand your goals/interests for a new career opportunity in addition to what skills you bring to the table. Then, we can use that information to filter through various job openings and provide you with potential positions matching your skills and preferences.
The most common length for contract roles is roughly six months. For example, our contract-to-hire positions are typically 6 months in duration. After that time, the job seeker has the opportunity to transition into a full-time position with the hiring company.
For positions labeled as a “permanent placement,” the hiring company is the job seeker’s employer from day one and therefore, responsible for paying the employee directly.
If the position is either contract or contract-to-hire, the job seeker is paid directly through their staffing firm.
Unfortunately, this can vary greatly. For example, information technology (IT) staffing involves a variety of positions, all of which include variables like technologies, seniority, duration of position, and type of role (contract vs. permanent). Any of these factors can change the length of time needed to get qualified candidates to you for review.
In addition, there are multiple other factors such as market location. For example, it might be easier to find someone to work remotely instead of in the office, or it might be easier to locate candidates to work in a major metropolitan area as opposed to a rural office location. Lastly, your recruiter may or may not be in a position to have already identified candidates based on their staff’s existing connections.
While the above answer doesn’t exactly give an expected duration, please do bring this topic up with your staffing firm Account Manager. They should be able to set expectations based on current conditions relating to your firm and the skill set needed for this hire.
Thankfully, this shouldn’t be complicated.
For job seekers, the only issue switching from one staffing supplier to another would be if you are currently under contract through the firm in question. Contractors typically can’t switch firms until the current contract ends. If you are not on a contracted assignment and are having issues with a staffing organization not providing you adequate service, you can easily find and switch to a recruitment company that better serves your needs.
For hiring managers, the only issue switching from one staffing supplier to another is if you want to keep your existing contract-based staff obtained through the firm in question. Due to legal agreements, that option isn’t normally doable. Therefore, you’d have to start using another staffing supplier for future hires and move on from the troublesome supplier as their current contractors finish their assignments. If the above situation doesn’t apply to you, then switching to another supplier is fairly straightforward.