How to Select the Right Staffing Partner for Your Business!

How to Select the Right Staffing Partner for Your Business!

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 5, 2020

0 Author-Jeanne, Blog, Flexible Staffing Strategies, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS, Recruiting. Best Practices, STAFFING AGENCIES - HOW TO SELECT AND MANAGE, Temp-to-Hire. Best Practices, Temporary Staffing.Best Practices get connected, main whats happening


Selecting the right staffing partner to support the full range of your staffing needs will be an important business decision for many employers as they navigate thru the post covid build back.

For small to medium sized employers, the right staffing partner can make a big difference in your operational performance…and selecting that right partner is something that deserves your time and attention.

While a formal RFP process makes sense for a larger more enterprise level employer where your vendor’s resume has to look good to the C suite, for smaller company’s they can’t afford to be wooed by fancy written or verbal presentations.  They have to find that “true partner” who they can rely on to “make a difference.”

Here are some factors that small to medium sized employers might consider when selecting a staffing partner who will make a difference:

Make sure you meet the team who will be providing you with service – not just a member of the sales team.

The folks selling staffing services are hired because they look and sound good, but it’s the people doing the actual service delivery that will matter most to partnership success. Are they people you can communicate with? Trust? Rely on? Do they have the expertise that will help your company take your staffing operation to the next level? Do they have the same values around communication and results that you do?  What is the tenure of their service staff?  (Pay attention if you uncover high levels of service team turnover)

Assess the company’s ability to customize their products and services to align with your needs.

What is their level of expertise in each of the areas your company has needs for staffing support?  Can they do direct hire, temp to hire, and more traditional temporary or contract staffing support?  In what job categories are they specialized?  In what industries do they have focus?

How able or willing is the company to adjust their services to compliment what your internal resources are already doing to staff or hire?  Are they able and willing to make changes to accommodate your needs? Will you have access to the company’s management/decision makers so that changes can be orchestrated quickly? How good are they at listening to your needs and bringing fresh new ideas to the table?

Find out how they organize their delivery of service – who does what?

How many service personnel would be assigned to your account? In what roles?

We believe that even the smallest employer needs at least three places where they can go to for service:

  •   Someone to manage the placement process and your relationship to the agency team – someone who has professional oversight of how requests are taken, interpreted, and ultimately filled.  Someone you can go to place a request and have that request professionally reviewed to make sure you are seeking the right profile given the work that they will be asked to do, and the type of work environment they will find once on board.
  •   Someone to do the heads down recruiting ….which in today’s marketplace is a full time job, not always easily combined with the person you interact with as your point of contact.  A recruiter is someone who knows how to source candidates in the context of YOUR PREFERRED CANDIDATE PROFILE.
  • Someone you can go to when things need a bigger picture perspective – new solutions, new ways to help you achieve your business goals. At PACE we call this level of service “strategic” to set it apart from day to day service management…..but we use it often when times are like now – in need of new solutions to new staffing challenges.’

The more complex your staffing needs, the more roles that need to be assigned to service your needs. Make sure your vendor has the service resources it takes to deliver the service and people you need.  

Understand their pricing philosophy.

A rate sheet is not enough. You need to know what factors are considered when setting bill rates or service fees. How comfortable are they talking about their costs and how those impact their bill rate? In our judgment, the more transparent your staffing partner is in terms of revealing their “costs of doing business” the more likely you are to have a partner that will pass the test of time, most able to work with you on making adjustments when budgets change.

Ask about their staffing metrics.

Staffing companies, who are good managers of performance, regularly measure their performance against industry benchmarks. They should have data on their:

  •   Placement Ratios – the % of staffing requests that they fill.
  •   Cycle time – how long it takes to fill requests.
  •   Placement Outcomes – the % of placements that result in either a hire or a successful completion.
  •   Customer Satisfaction.

Learn as much as you can about how they find, recruit and evaluate potential employees/job candidates.

Ask them to walk you through each step in their recruiting and evaluation processes. Make sure these processes are a good fit for your standards and that they are either currently doing or are capable of meeting your compliance requirements AND can provide you with audit ready records of their compliance administration. What testing do they administer? How do they evaluate the “soft” skills important to placement success?

Check out their technology – what they will be doing to streamline your service relationship.

In today’s marketplace, there is an abundance of automated technologies that are used to manage many of the interactions between the staffing provider, you, and the employees being placed in your work environment.

  •   Can you place an order online?
  •   Can you check on the status of an order online?
  •   How will you receive candidate submittals? What documentation will accompany those submittals?
  •   How will you approve hours of work?
  •   How will you receive invoices? Can invoices be broken down in accordance with your accounting needs?
  •   What kinds of utilization information and reports can be made available to you online?

Make sure you are working with a partner who regularly invests in state-of-the-art staffing technology.

Check their references.

Learn more about their current and past client relationships. Ask for the names of their “oldest client,” a relatively “new client,” a “former” client, and a dissatisfied client who they “turned around.” Talk to each about what they like best and least about their partnership.

Don’t expect perfection – staffing is too people-dependent for that, but do check out how they tend to respond when issues arise. How quickly and creatively do they solve problems? How have they adjusted to their client’s changes? Brought new service ideas to the table? Been a real partner when things got tough

Identify differentiators that will make a difference to you.

Although most staffing companies look and sound alike, there are actually fairly significant differences in how they approach their service delivery and develop their relationships with customers. Ask potential partners about how they differentiate themselves from others, use your reference conversations to verify that what they say is what they deliver, and select a staffing partner whose “sweet spot” best matches your needs.

Audition before you committ…..

….where staffing companies compete for your business by filling open orders, can be helpful IF used to reveal each unique approach to long term placement success. Filling orders is less important to the audition than is experiencing the vendor’s approach to profiling worker requirements and gathering information important to long term placement success. How does the vendor develop relationships with its clients? With HR? With your hiring managers?

Find out how they approach service improvements

Expecting a new staffing provider to achieve performance perfection out of the gate, oftentimes without client involvement, is all too common and presents unique challenges to the staffing community. A vendor who promises to deliver immediate success should be suspect, as building a true staffing partnership requires a long term commitment from you and your vendor. Your vendor must do the homework, solve the problems, and work thoughtfully through issues to earn their partnership stripes.

The most important question – What processes do they use to continuously improve their staffing performance and your service results? What are their expectations of you as their staffing partner?

If you are looking for a new staffing partner or wondering if your current staffing partnership is still meeting your needs, we’d love to set up a time to chat about your needs or concerns.

Our Partner Services and Solutions team can be reached by calling 425-637-3312 or e mailing them at

For a full range of PACE services check us out on the web at


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A  4 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Services and Solutions  team  at

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