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Selecting The Best Temp Agency

By WILL TEMBY

OK, you’ve decided to use a staffing company. Now what?

Well, first, you want to find a firm that knows your industry and can provide skilled workers who are knowledgeable about your needs.

Your next question is whether you need staffing employees for a one-shot deal, a long-term assignment, or a permanent job placement. Also, if it’s a permanent position — or likely to become one — find out if the staffing company you’re considering will let you submit interview questions to job applicants and participate in the selection process.

Just as you would when hiring a permanent employee, it’s important to check references and talk with the firm’s past clients. Ask how satisfied they were with the employees sent by the staffing company as well as with the workers assigned to their organization, whether temporary or permanent.

It’s also important to ask about the fees you’ll pay; the turnover rate among account executives, office staff, and staffing employees.

You’ll also want to make sure the firm will visit your premises to get a feel for your corporate culture, meet supervisors face to face, and learn details about the jobs that need filling.

If you’re staffing a major project or function, you should expect a thorough review and presentation.

Many agencies currently have access to highly skilled temporary workers because of the unprecedented number of layoffs during the recession. If the firm you’re considering doesn’t have a deep talent pool, that’s a red flag about its reliability and ability to deliver. 

Also look for demonstrated knowledge of the region’s labor laws. State and the federal governments are scrutinizing how companies classify their contract workers as it relates to tax payments. Look for an agency that is part of a professional organization such as the American Staffing Association, which provides education and certification to its members.

Finally, think about your first interaction with the companies you contacted.

Their web sites should be informative, up-to-date, and easy to use. Telephone or e-mail the companies to get your first clue as to their business styles. Remember, staffing firms are employers. Their management practices greatly affect the quality of the employees who come into your offices — on a temporary or permanent basis.

Like all industries, staffing has had a hard time during the recession, and some firms have struggled to stay afloat. “If you see a card table and a folding chair, run for the hills,” says David DeCapua, of the Independent Staffing Alliance.

 

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