Why using a staffing agency may not be best

A reported 90% of Fortune 500 companies use staffing agencies to hire top talent and solve business challenges quickly. While there are clear benefits, using a staffing agency may not always be your best option. Here are 3 key reasons to use a staffing agency and 3 common scenarios when calling a staffing agency is not your best option.


  1. Recruiters are subject matter and market experts

Recruiters typically do business in one or two professional areas. This specialization allows them to have deep market insight into the candidate pool and your competitors’ activities. Working with a knowledgeable partner will give you the tools you need to quickly attract the top candidates to your company.

  1. Recruiters can help reduce your cost per hire

One of the biggest objections to using a recruiter is the cost. Although recruiters collect a fee, the commission paid to a recruiter is typically less than the time for the in-house man-hours needed to fill the position. For example, if your CFO, who earns well into 6 figures per year, is running the search for a new staff accountant and it takes her three months to find the right candidate, consider the total cost of her time plus costs of inefficiencies while the position is vacant. By contrast, if you use a recruiter to hire a new staff accountant, you’ll likely fill the position within 2-4 weeks while offloading much of the screening process and pay approximately $12,000 to $14,000 for the service.

  1. Recruiters readily have access to hundreds of viable candidates, which will help fill your position quickly

Recruiters have access to candidate databases that include hundreds – if not thousands – of professionals. Furthermore, they are consistently in contact with available candidates and probably know a handful of top candidates for your position, without even needing to consult their extensive resources. If you’re starting your candidate search from scratch, using a recruiter will save a lot of time.


  1. You haven’t reached out to your personal network or utilized employee referrals

Research has shown that hiring an employee or personal referral is the best, fastest, and cheapest way to add new employees and reduce turnover. The easiest way to kick off this program is to create a financial incentive for employees to refer quality candidates. Rewarding the employee who refers the chosen candidate with a $1,000 bonus is one great example of a financial incentive.

  1. You’re not clear on the type of candidate who would be successful in this role

Recruiters are only as good as the information their clients give them. The more unclear your requirements are, the higher the chances the recruiter won’t produce the candidate(s) you need. Generally, recruiters are happy to help you refine your requirements for the ideal candidate, but hiring managers should have a strong baseline for the non-negotiable requirements before reaching out to a recruiter.

  1. You have not explored the possibility of promoting from within

When senior roles at a company become available, many hiring managers immediately look to hiring an outside candidate with senior-level experience to fill the position. However, promoting from within allows you to maintain your investment in that employee’s training, skills, and knowledge. Furthermore, hiring from within helps employee retention. If employees understand that promoting from within is the company policy, they will be incentivized to stay at your company and work hard in their current position, as opposed to finding professional growth opportunities outside of your organization.

We advise companies to keep a comprehensive toolbox of recruiting options that include internal and external resources. For more information, click to request our free checklist and cost-per-hire comparison tool.