Questions to Ask When Employing a Staffing Service

We are pleased to announce that Resourceful HR is adding a new line of business to its existing services – HR staffing services. Whether you are looking for temporary or direct HR staff, our experienced consultants source and place HR talent for a range of industries. For more information, check out our new brochures for Employers or Job Candidates or contact us!

As we designed this service, we started thinking about the questions a company should ask before enlisting the help of an HR staffing service. All in all the staffing organization’s screening process needs to be structured in a way that ensures that you have the opportunity to engage with individuals who possess the skills and experience you require and are also a good fit for your organization.

Here are some sample questions to get you started:

Will the staffing service offer you a preferred provider discount? This type of discount is often given in exchange for your willingness to give them exclusive opportunity to fill positions for a certain period of time. For example, a service might offer a 5% discount if you give them two weeks to fill your position without contacting another staffing organization. Another service might offer an across the board discount if you agree to work with them exclusively.

What is their plan for sourcing candidates? While they may not want to disclose their “secret sauce”, having a general sense for the staffing organization’s sourcing methods is important. Where are they looking? In the same old places, the same places you look or do they have an out of the box approach to sourcing candidates?

Do their benchmarks and standards match yours? Have them tell you what they look for in a candidate in addition to the basic job requirements. If you know that you are starting with the same definition of basic job skills you’re position will likely be filled quickly.

What kind of information can you expect to receive from them along the way? A good service will provide detailed information throughout the candidate screening and interview process that allows you to make informed hiring decisions.

Find out if a service checks references before or after submitting the candidate. What kind of references are they checking and what questions are they asking? A good service will contact former supervisors as part of the reference check. They will also provide detailed information about the candidate based on what the references said.

Will they manage communication and correspondence with candidates, providing them with feedback and updates? Will they keep the candidates you want interested and also handle rejection letters for those you decline? Will the staffing organization work with you until the process is complete and you have secured the candidate of your choice?

Do they assist you through the entire process and if not, at what point do they hand the candidates over to you?


Who coordinates applicant testing and background screening?

Do they offer guidance and support during contract or employment negotiations?

What is your relationship with the staffing service when you are not actively searching for talent? Are they your partner, always on the lookout for people who would make a good addition to your team if you want them to? Can they recruit for your entire organization or is their offering more specialized?

Check references. Once you’ve interviewed and narrowed down your staffing service search the next step is to check references. The best way to find out real-world information about a service is to ask their current and former clients.

Some questions to ask are:

  • Did the service send quality people?
  • Were the applicants they sent a good fit for both the job and your organization or did they send all candidates that met the minimum qualifications even if they were clearly inappropriate for the company?
  • Did the service offer a quality pool of candidates to select from?

Staffing organizations offer an array of services. Not all staffing services are the same and not all staffing organizations will work for your company. It is important to determine that the services provided match your needs before you get too far down the road. Taking a little bit of time at the beginning can save you time and energy in the long run trying to build a relationship with a staffing service that doesn’t fit.

What are the most important things you look for in a staffing service? We love hearing from our readers! Please post your comments below.

What are your thoughts? Let's discuss:

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[…] Are you looking to fill a temporary HR need? Perhaps for a planned or unexpected leave of absence or a short-term project that could benefit from expertise you don’t want or need to employ full time? The good news is there are lots of options available to you. The bad news is, there are lots of options. Where do you start? Full disclosure: We are one of the companies that provide HR temp staffing services. With that in mind we emphatically encourage you to find the right one for your organization, as it will save you time and grief… Read more »
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