Top 5 Tips for Selecting the Right Technical Staffing Company

by Peg Bogema

Top 5 Tips for Selecting the Right Technical Staffing Company

So, you want to select a technical staffing and recruiting company. What criteria should you use to make your selection?

Here are our top 5, listed in countdown format. Because it’s more fun that way.

Number 5: Ensure your agency can offer both staffing and recruiting services.

Most companies know that they either want their agency to find a direct-hire candidate or a temporary candidate (which is the staffing model). However, when considering a specific person, you might make a last minute decision to flip your model. A great candidate you meet for a staffing role might be worth a direct-hire offer of employment. Conversely, someone who seems risky might be better to bring on board in a staffing model—with the option to hire once he or she is proven to be a good fit. The flexibility to switch models is important.

Number 4: Find out if they have filled similar roles recently.

Most agencies will be able to share job descriptions they have filled recently to demonstrate that they have relevant experience. I wouldn’t expect a skill-to- skill correlation, but I would expect to see roles that are similar. If the only thing your agency has to show you are accounting jobs, then obviously, they are not the right fit.

Number 3: Meet your recruiting team.

You can learn a lot about an agency when you meet the team. Their questions and comments will reveal how much experience they have recruiting the type of person you need. Even though most recruiters aren’t technical, you might be surprised at how insightful they become after recruiting the same type of role for a while.

Number 2: Don’t shop exclusively on price.

While there are some agencies that charge a flat fee for a direct hire, most charge a percentage of the candidate’s first year’s salary—anywhere from 15% to 30%. The average fee is between 20% and 25%.

So let’s suppose you are considering three agencies, one at 15%, one at 20% and one at 25%. Go with the 15% one, right? Maybe.

The fee you pay goes toward the cost of procuring candidates—the advertising, the networking, the recruiting personnel, access to talent pools, and so on. Is the agency that charges only 15% going to drive in enough candidates to bother about?

And don’t get me started on negotiating an agency’s fee down. If they can work at 20% for their other customers, how much effort are they going to expend on their 15% customer? Let’s just say less.

Number 1: Engage in a contingent fee relationship.

Recruiting services can be provided under two different types of agreements.

In a retained search, you will pay your agency a monthly retainer that may—or may not—be applied to the fee you owe when you hire a candidate. In a contingent search, you do not pay the agency any money until you hire one of their candidates. Fees are contingent upon a successful placement.

Retained searches are common in specific situations. Hiring a new university president or chancellor, for instance.

Technical recruiting, unless it’s at a very senior level within an organization, is almost always provided on a contingency basis.

Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. Stout was founded in 1993 and is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Stout has clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and, yes, robotics. Stout provides expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements. If you're looking for a job in the tech industry, visit our job board to see if you qualify for some of our positions. Best of luck to you! If you're looking to hire technical talent for your company, please contact us. This is a technical article catered to developers, technical project managers, and other technical staff looking to improve their skills. Sign up to receive our technical articles in your email inbox.
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