Does your business struggle with human resources? Many small businesses do. Given the time commitment, paperwork and legal issues that surround employing people, many business owners outsource their HR department to a different company.
Even if you have most of your HR concerns under control, your business could still be suffering from staffing issues.
"For many small businesses, hiring isn't an organized process, which can lead to high rates of employee turnover," said Adam Samples, president of staffing at Atrium Staffing. Turnover can be expensive too. A 2017 Retention Report by Work Institute found filling an employee position can cost anywhere from $4,000 to 1.5 times the employee's annual salary.
"Small businesses don't understand that hiring people is a science," said Jim Malfetti, CEO of Management Recruiters of Union County. "Because small businesses don't have the time and expertise to sift through candidates and match them to their organization, they end up with candidates who simply don't fit their business needs."
If your business needs employees who are better suited to your organization, consider working with a staffing agency.
What is a staffing agency?
A recruiting agency is an organization that matches job candidates to your business's job openings. When you agree to work with an employment agency, the agency first evaluates your business, noting your organization's goals, your company culture and your open positions.
Then the staffing firm will research its candidate pool to find potential matches for your business. The agency completes thorough background checks as well as investigations of candidate credentials.
"We're looking for candidates with the right skills, abilities and professional background, but we also look for candidates who can prove that they have those characteristics," said Debbie Seeger, senior vice president of Patina Solutions.
After selecting several candidates, the agency may arrange for you to interview its selected candidates. Other times, the agency will complete the interviewing for you.
Staffing agency pricing models vary, with some charging hourly for candidate placement over a period of time and others charging a "finder's fee" for direct hires.
For many small businesses, the costs are worth it. Staffing agencies manage the hiring process from start to finish, saving you time and leading to better employee placements.
4 signs it's time to consider hiring a staffing agency
If you're considering working with a recruiting agency, here are four signs you should consider doing so.
1. You have a job opening you can't fill.
When your small business has an open position, you probably post an advertisement on Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter or LinkedIn. But job postings don't always bring in the most qualified candidate.
"Small businesses don't understand that job postings just don't work," Malfetti said. "The quality and volume of the candidates that you get often aren't what your business is looking for, and most people who respond simply don't have the experience you need."
Since staffing agencies and recruiters evaluate your business in depth, they can find the perfect candidate for niche positions.
2. You don't have time to hire people.
Hiring can be a serious time commitment. Reviewing resumes, contacting prospective candidates, holding interviews and discussing candidates with other decision-makers can negatively impact your business's day-to-day operations.
"When you have to take time to review resumes and candidates that aren't qualified, it's a big time-waster for small businesses," Malfetti said. "And for small businesses, time is money."
Hiring a staffing agency can save small business owners time. Most owners may only have to interview a few candidates, select the candidate they prefer and meet briefly with a staffing agency representative.
3. Your organization is going through change.
Change is tricky to manage. Both business growth and changing objectives may lead to the need for more employees.
"When the business has a new task that requires some specific expertise, or the business has new goals, but they lack anyone in-house who has achieved those desired outcomes before, a business should think about approaching a recruiter or staffing agency," Seeger said.
"Whenever a business is going through change – good, bad or neutral – it makes sense to check in with a staffing agency to ensure that any personnel needs can be filled as they arise," Samples said.
4. You're not sure if you need full-time staff.
Growth doesn't always mean that your business has to hire full-time staff.
"Hiring people full time requires an in-depth match between company culture and the candidate, while hiring interim or temporary employees may provide a more agile solution," Seeger said.
It can be difficult to distinguish between a need that should be filled by full-time employees and one that would be better suited to temporary workers. Staffing services can help small business owners make that distinction, saving them time and money.