10 Things to Think About When Picking IT Staffing Agencies

Part 1: Clients selecting an IT staffing agency to partner with


Plain and simple, the critical element in your relationship with a tech recruiting firm is the quality of their internal employees and the job candidates you receive.  A little investigation and observation beforehand can save time, money, headache, and result in a long-lasting business relationship. Below are a few things to consider when choosing an IT staffing agency.


  1. Team Structure
    1. Knowing how a staffing agency’s team is built is crucial to determining which potential agency will be the best partner in helping with your IT staffing. Many staffing agencies are very sales-heavy or have an even split of Recruiters and Account Managers. In today’s tech market, you want to choose an agency that will actually be able to deliver candidates when you’re in need. If an agency only has one Recruiter per Account Manager, then that agency will have trouble meeting your staffing needs in a timely manner. Staffing agencies with recruiter-heavy teams will be agile enough to scale recruiting resources up or down depending on your hiring demands.


  1. Understand how the firm recruits and retains its workforce
    1. Get into the weeds, look at ads, job postings, social sites, and Glassdoor. Ask about their sourcing techniques and how they target and maintain relationships with passive candidates. When hiring IT consultants or IT contractors, ask about the staffing agency’s fringe benefits to see if they are able to attract the type of employees you demand. It’s no secret that a more complete benefits package often attracts a higher-quality worker.


  1. Niche vs. General
    1. Okay, so no agency is going to be 100% transparent about the techniques they use because they don’t want to give their secrets away – but a good agency should be willing to share a few of their techniques regarding the work they’re proposing to carry out for your business – and this is where you need to listen up. Are the techniques they’re describing relevant? And are they up to date with best practices? If an agency is proposing to have 20 .NET Developers submitted within 48 hours, they might not be the agency for you.
    2. Find out if the staffing agency is specialized in IT or if they work across numerous industries will be an important topic to discuss. Staffing agencies that specialize in IT will already have years and years of experience in the industry and can understand your team’s needs with great depth. Not to mention, staffing agencies that specialize in IT will already have established relationships with hundreds if not thousands of qualified IT candidates. General staffing agencies will be recruiting nurses, day laborers, accountants, mechanical engineers and so on while also trying to find your IT candidates…good luck with that with tech unemployment hovering below 2.5%.


  1. What does the staffing agency look for in a client?
    1. Believe it or not, the best staffing agencies don’t want to work with every company. You want to partner with a staffing agency that treats the candidates like you would want to be treated. In turn, the way the staffing agency treats the candidate will reflect on your company and that’s crucial to maintain a strong reputation for your company. Very few companies ask this question to potential agencies during initial meetings; yet, it can determine whether or not you’d like to work with a particular agency.


  1. Evaluate your interactions and note your impressions
    1. When a tech recruiting firm reaches out to you via phone or email the first few touchpoints should give you clues about their business style and overall company brand. Remember, a firm’s management practices greatly impact the quality of the employees who come to work in your office, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.  When you decide to work with an IT staffing agency, they are representing your employer brand and acting as an extension of your HR department. Remember, you’re going to employ the agency to represent your brand so you need to be able to relate to them, and have confidence that they can represent your brand effectively. Choose wisely.


  1. Does the IT staffing agency have specific experience in your industry? Ask for references
    1. Most likely, some of your team’s most difficult-to-fill positions will require some exposure or knowledge to IT best practices within your industry. Whether you’re in Finance, Banking, Healthcare, Trading, Consulting or other niched industries, working with a staffing agency that has a background in your niche is crucial to receiving quality candidates.


  1. What are the specific steps of the screening process that the staffing agency puts each candidate through?
    1. Knowing this process will really help to identify the right partner in an IT staffing agency. How well does the staffing agency actually know the candidate they’re putting in front of you? You want to partner with a staffing agency that takes the pain points out of the recruiting side – screening for technical abilities, understanding the candidate’s personality and how it would mesh with your company’s culture, understanding if compensation aligns with your budget, knowledge of the candidate’s current situation and why they’re in the market. Does the staffing agency check candidate references? If so, when do they check them? These are all burdens that can be taken off of your shoulders if you choose the right IT staffing agency.


  1. Single point-of-contact
    1. Understanding how the staffing agency operates is a key aspect to ensuring you won’t be on a wild goose chase to find the right person to talk to. You want to find a staffing agency that will provide a single point-of-contact where you don’t have to worry about which person at the staffing agency you have to reach out to for Position A vs Position B. This also allows you to build a rapport and relationship with that single individual which will lead to better results and increased efficiencies within the recruiting process
    2. Also, you need to consider what the rep and agency is suggesting for your business and why. Do their suggestions meet and exceed your expectations? And have they taken the time to get to know your business and your goals before putting a proposal together? If they haven’t taken the time to get to know your business, it may suggest they’re just offering a standard proposal which probably won’t meet your expectations or help you to achieve your objectives. The best agencies should spend time getting to know you, your business and your goals – before putting a bespoke solution proposal together.


  1. KPI’s
    1. Some of the best questions to ask an IT staffing agency are metric-based


Quality-of-Hire: what is the percentage of placements that an agency has placed that have either met or exceeded client expectations? This one speaks for itself in determining the quality of candidates you would receive from an agency.


Submittals per placement ratio: what is the average number of submittals per position to make a placement? This is a crucial ratio to avoid “resume shops” that send tons of resumes in hopes that one of them sticks.


Recruiters per Account Rep: what is the ratio of recruiters for each sales rep in the staffing agency? You want a true partner in a staffing agency, not one where the Sales Rep overpromises and under-delivers. You’ll want a staffing agency that has multiple recruiters per sales rep – that way when you do send them a position for help they actually have the recruiting team to deliver candidates for you.


10.  Shop around until you find the right fit

a.     Ask for references and, most importantly, check them

b.     Clients – an important factor to consider is the agency’s client base. Big name clients will always be impressive, but don’t discount the little ones either

c.     Ask about internal turnover

d.     Invite the recruiting firm into your office to see your company culture

e.     Have firms do a thorough review and prepare a detailed presentation on how they would market and recruit for you…no fluff allowed

f.      Ask colleagues or your top tech staff for recommendations

g.     Consider if you want a contingent firm or retained search firm

h.     Ask for case studies

i.       Ask them to share special awards or recognition received

j.       Look at the staffing agencies Glassdoor reviews

k.     How much do they charge? Be wary of recruitment firms who are happy to drop their fees. Unless there’s a strong business case for dropping the fee, these firms will traditionally put less work and effort into finding you the right person. Plus their top talent will go to their higher paying customers. Remember the old saying – you get what you pay for. 



About nexus IT group

nexus IT group Was Voted 2013's Best Young Companies to Work For - http://myturnstone.com/best-young-companies-to-work-for/

Those of us that call nexus IT group home know it is an influential and energetic center of motivated individuals with a passion to serve. The recent headlines touting our progressive culture have come as no surprise. We recognize the caliber of business partners, leadership, and industry knowledge that define nexus IT group. We work and live it every day.

However, a resounding, "I didn't realize that" echoes through our hallways as newcomers learn more and engage with our culture. And those still on the outside have yet to discover all that we have to offer. 

nexus IT group provides comprehensive technology staff augmentation services in the enterprise, medium, and start-up space.


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