When it comes to hiring, there are a lot of decisions that companies have to make. How you are going to handle the process, what type of candidates you want to pursue, and what job titles you need to hire for are all portions of your strategy that may be in flux at any time based on your current needs.

Because companies grow, shrink, and see their needs change so rapidly in modern environments, it’s important that companies have a plan in place for handling their hiring needs. If they choose to handle their hiring in-house, they need to build out the systems and processes that facilitate attracting the best possible candidates.

Building out an effective hiring program is a big endeavor. It gets even bigger if you don’t have the resources or experience within your HR teams to reliably meet your hiring needs. It’s often for this reason that companies look toward a staffing firm for help.

Staffing firms do provide certain benefits. They save your HR team time. They allow you to hire faster. But they do come with a set of cons as well that you need to take into account before you put your hat in the staffing firm arena.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of working with staffing firms:

Pros of Working with Staffing firms

There are many pros to working with staffing firms. If you are having trouble keeping up with your hiring needs or need one of these benefits, it may be the right choice for your company:

Time Savings

Offloading your hiring efforts to a staffing firm can be a great way to free up time among your HR team. They can spend the time that they saved focusing on big-picture considerations within their department. Your managers can take on an even more strategic role. Staffing firms can help to improve HR productivity.

Try Before Hiring

Most staffing firms allow you to hire employees on a temporary basis. When their contract ends, you can let them walk and try a new employee in the role if you ultimately decided that they would not be a good fit. This is great because it means minimal commitment for your company. In effect, a temp hire works like a trial period with a specific employee.

A Partner with Experience

Staffing firms have the experience that you need to find the most qualified candidates. Their recruiters can leverage their internal knowledge and resources that would take a company years to build in-house. That experience is invaluable for streamlining your hiring processes. With great staffing firms, consulting can also be included in your package. This means that they can provide you with actionable recommendations that not only help you to work more seamlessly with them, but also internally within your own company.

More Support

Staffing firms can ramp up or down as needed. They can provide actionable recommendations to help you improve your hiring efforts internally. The extra support that they provide helps to streamline processes and ensures that you are able to consistently meet rapidly changing needs.

Faster Hiring

Hiring faster is critical in growing teams. If you work for a company that is going to be expanding your operations quickly, a staffing firm might be the only logical choice. Their ability to assign new recruiters to your account at a moments notice provides unmatched scalability that you would never be able to recreate in-house.

Candidate Quality

The bottom line is that most staffing firms are able to provide better, more reliable candidates. For them, hiring is what they do. They have systems in place to not only evaluate applicants but filter the applicants that apply down to those that make the most sense for your company. Staffing firms will generally be able to produce lists of candidates that are better than companies can in-house, at least until they are able to build out their own systems and processes that help them to improve candidate quality over time. This is especially helpful for high-skill jobs, where more employees are retiring than ever.

Cons of Working with Staffing Firms

With all of that said, staffing firms are not always the ideal choice. There are some downsides that come with working with a staffing firm. It’s important that you understand what these could be and determine whether or not these downsides outweigh the potential benefit that your company could enjoy from using a staffing firm individually.

Recruiters Can be Cutthroat

Recruiters use a wide range of sources to find candidates. One of the biggest issues that many companies find when working with a staffing firm is that recruiters at the firm can engage in tactics that they don’t feel represents their company in the best way. They are using your company name to recruit! You want to make sure that they are doing nothing that will damage your brand with potential employees.

You would think that all staffing firms would operate within the acceptable ethical bounds, but that is often not the case. Recruiters may spam and use nefarious tactics on their own accord to reach more potentially qualified candidates and in turn, earn more money for themselves.

Make sure that you put a lot of research into understanding the recruitment practices of any firm that you are considering working with. Having peace of mind when working with a staffing firm is important.

Less Control

Working with a staffing firm gives you less control. There is no doubt about it. They have their own internal processes that they use to gather applicants, evaluate them, filter them, trim them down, and ultimately present you with interviews or pre-screened temporary employees. It’s still up to you to onboard them. In the end, you have to be willing to give up this control in order to enjoy the benefits that a staffing firm can bring to the table.

No Cultural Fit Assessment

Staffing firms can’t really evaluate candidates for cultural fit. Sure, they can do their best to match candidates that they think would be a good fit within your company based on some guidelines that you provide, but how much can they really know? They aren’t in your office every day interacting with your team. They don’t know what kind of person might truly be a good fit. While the temporary hiring practices of most staffing firms allow you to evaluate cultural fit on your own over time, there is no out-of-the-gate solution to this problem.

Different Strokes

Whether or not your company should work with a staffing firm depends on a wide variety of different factors. No two companies are the same, and there are considerable benefits and downsides to working with these companies. By fully evaluating what you want to get out of your hiring program, you can determine what will provide the best possible outcome for your company.