Written by Kristi Telschow, CEO of Jersey Staffing, 2/21/2018

For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don’t, I was raised on the principles of a strong work ethic, being honest with integrity and always following through on a promise.  Those same principles are how I run my businesses. The clients that work with my team and I at Jersey Staffing know that we put thought and care into every position we recruit for. Our passion goes “beyond the resume” to find the best fit, not just for skills, but for personality and most of all a company culture fit.

How do you know if the firm you choose to partner with has your company’s best interest in mind?  I read an article the other day from Inavero Inc. that shared some great questions on choosing the right staffing partner.  I posted it to my LinkedIn Feed and received a large volume of Likes. 

The reaction to the post prompted me to write what you are now reading, so let’s take a moment to walk through each question that Inavero provided and why they are so important to ask, when working with a Staffing firm:

“What industries do you specialize in?”

Not all Firms need to specialize in an industry but should be an expert in recruiting for the role you are giving them.  There are some industries and positions that you do want a Niche Recruiting firm as a partner for, such as Medical; Legal; Engineering; Scientific; Finance; Restaurant; Pharma and IT.

“What clients do you currently represent?”

This question helps determine if the Firm works with Clients in a similar industry space, size and general location.  This will also give you an idea of their bandwidth.

“How large is your client database?”

I think this question is referring to how many candidates are in your Applicant Tracking System.  What a great question! You are hiring the firm because they bring something to the table you can’t do internally, right?  We can all access the job boards, but no one has access to the database of candidates that the firm has curated over the years, but them.  This is pure gold. Be sure to ask this, so you know the firm will be touching on recruiting avenues you won’t have access to internally.

“Are your recruiters certified?”

Staffing Recruiters are often acting as HR Generalists for the individuals they have out on payroll.  Providing coaching, performance reviews, monitoring attendance, fielding payroll questions, managing workers compensation claims, facilitating employee relations and much more!  The American Staffing Association provides several certifications for Staffing Firms to ensure Recruiters are properly educated. Think of it as the PHR and SPHR for Recruiting professionals.  I have to make the obligatory shout out here – The Jersey Staffing team is certified!

A credential that covers essential labor and employment law from a staffing perspective; covers federal law and state law for a selected state. No other industry certification program delves as deeply into the topics that matter most to staffing professionals and their clients.

For staffing professionals who work in technical, information technology, and scientific staffing. The TSC program features all of the rigorous content in the CSP program, plus additional subject areas—per diem rules, worker classification, and H1-B visas. Anyone who earns the TSC credential automatically earns the CSP credential, too.

For search and placement professionals, the CSC program focuses on federal employment law specific to recruiters. Also includes state licensing and registration laws that affect direct hire firms.

“Are candidates interviewed in person or on the phone only?”

A phone interview doesn’t show you eye contact, body language, how one carries themselves and if they dress appropriately.  The phone can’t tell you if someone can follow directions to get to your office on time and if they can handle the commute. There is something to be said for the personal connection and all-around gut feeling one gets from interviewing a candidate in-person.  Phone interviews are a great screening tool, but studies show that Recruiting firms who meet their candidates in-person have a higher placement retention rate.

“What type of background check is conducted?”

Not all firms automatically run a background check on every candidate they submit.  Many of our clients have different requirements, so we often provide a disclaimer that a background check AND drug screen will only be run at the Client’s written request.  If the position you are hiring for requires any screenings, be sure to have this conversation up front with your firm to run the appropriate screening at the time of offer. There are usually multiple packages to choose from, or even ala carte options to match your internal screening process protocols.

“What does the drug test screen for?

Did you know there are numerous types of drug screens we can send candidates for?  5 Panel urine, 9 Panel urine, 10 Panel urine, Hair follicle, Saliva, etc. You get my point.  Make sure that whatever drug screen is completed aligns with your company’s process AND is relevant to the position function.

“What is your fee structure?”

A Firm won’t always be able to quote you a bill rate at the drop of a hat, because they need to get a full understanding of the role and requirements first.  What they should be able to discuss is their fee structure, including conversion fees and direct hire fees. This can always be negotiated depending on the annual volume of business one can expect from a company for their recruiting services.  Always be sure to ask about what guarantees that are offered for each candidate and when payment is due. Find out if fees include bonuses and commissions, or if it is just on the base salary.

“How quickly can you get an agency staff member onsite if there’s a problem?”

This comes down to good old-fashioned customer service.  In today’s technological day and age, someone is always available via email and/or mobile phone. Make sure if the firm you utilize is remote, that they have a local presence of some kind for emergencies.

“Is your agency affiliated with the American Staffing Association?

Why is this important you may ask?  Here you have it word for word from ASA: “The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices.”

“What are your most recent satisfaction scores from clients and temporary workers?”

I believe it is good practice to get client referrals.  Check out what employees are saying about the company online.  See if they practice what they preach. 

Another shout out again – Jersey Staffing has a 4.6/5 on Google Reviews and 4.9/5 on Glassdoor!

Final thoughts –

I would like to add a few additional questions to this list if I may:

  1. What kind of insurance do you carry?  Be sure to get a COI
  2. What does your interviewing and submittal process look like?
  3. What locations can you service? Local, National, Global?
  4. Why are you different than all the other firms out there?
  5. What makes you special and why should I work with your firm?

Finding the right firm that works for you and your organization is just like dating, an analogy I use in the recruiting world quite often.  Always do your due diligence in screening the firm that is representing you and your company to find your next hire. They are the first impression, which means everything in this world.