The pros and cons of using staffing agencies

pros and cons of using a staffing agency




The staffing industry in the US is growing rapidly and shows no signs of stopping.


According to Statista in 2017 in the US, the staffing industry employed over 15.5 million people and had an estimated value of more than $466 billion. It is clear that staffing agencies are playing a vital role in the functioning of today’s economy.  


But there are many pros and cons of using a staffing agency that should be considered before outsourcing recruitment. Each of these have different implications to different businesses. For some, using a staffing agency makes perfect sense. For other, it doesn’t. To help you make the right decision for your business, this article will give an overview of the pros and cons of using a staffing agency to speed up your hiring process.   

Pros of using a staffing agency

Time is money

One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing hiring to a staffing agency is that you don’t need to sift through 100s of resumes. Evaluating candidates can be a very lengthy process and requires the focused attention of a whole team. Using a staffing agency to handle screening frees up your own recruitment team to focus on the thing that ultimately matters most: human interaction and relationship building.


Quality of work


Staffing agencies are strongly motivated to impress clients. They want to create long lasting relationships to ensure repeat business. If they submit poor quality candidates, people won’t be rushing back to work with them again in future. By choosing to work with a well-established agency with a good reputation, you can be sure the candidates you receive will be well positioned to excel your role.


Tip: It’s always a good idea to check if an agency has a presence on an independent review website such as Trustpilot. If they don’t, be a bit more cautious before working with them


Extensive candidate networks


A staffing agency’s success is dependent on the quality and size of their candidate database. So most of them spend years building out extensive candidate networks in key locations. So when handed a brief for an open position, they can get to work right away combing their database to create shortlist of suitable profiles. This is particularly valuable as the best candidates on the market can longer be reached by posting on job boards.


Candidate preparation


Nothing is more irritating than a candidate that hasn’t prepared for an interview. This is a much less common occurrence when working with a staffing agency. They will typically go out of their way to inform each candidate about the unique qualities needed for the job. Some agencies even offer continual improvement courses to skill up candidates in key areas, further increasing their employability. This means when the time comes for them to interview, you’ll have the pleasure of talking to highly competent, well-prepared individuals.  

Cons of using a staffing agency

The cost

Some staffing agencies can come with a hefty price tag. Most agencies will take a set percentage of the candidates starting salary. However, the cost must be weighed up against the money saved by avoiding carrying out in-house recruitment. It also worth keeping in mind that the longer a vacancy stays open, the more revenue you will lose. In some circumstances, using an agency to speed up the process can actually save your business money.  


Outsourcing initial point of contact


Advertising job vacancies and running the recruitment process in-house is a good way to improve your company’s image. It is an opportunity to let the public know everything your company has to offer and attract more candidates in future. Handing over talent acquisition to a staffing agency means that a candidate’s first impression of your company will come through them. However, if you inform the staffing agency of the key information you would like the candidates to receive, you can regain control over how your business will be presented at that crucial point of initial contact.  


Difficulty in filling specialist roles


Some jobs are very niche and require a highly specific skill set. In these cases, the people best placed to understand the exact skills and qualities needed for the job will come from inside the company. This can make it difficult to find staffing agencies with the industry knowledge required to hire the right candidates. However, many staffing agencies specialise in recruiting for one particular sector. For example, here at Venturi we only recruit for IT roles. This allows us to gain an expert knowledge of the market. Having a  powerful insight into the world of tech allows us to evaluate our candidates with expertise like no other.


Choosing the right one


That’s right. One of the cons of using staffing agencies comes from the fact that the market is heavily saturated. With every agency promising to ‘build a relationship’ with you and ‘work hard for your businesses success’ it can be hard to figure out who you can trust with your job vacancy. There are so many factors to consider like cost, recruitment speciality, and company reputation.



Though there are many pros and cons of using a staffing agency for hiring, some of the cons can be avoided with careful planning and market research. So before making enquiries, it’s worth running the numbers to see if using a staffing agency makes sense for your business.


First, quantify how much the open position is costing your business per day. If you’re unsure how to do so, check out our calculation guide. Once you have that figure to hand, multiply it by your average “time to hire” metric. Then finally add on the cost of having your internal recruitment team handle the process from start to finish.


If the combined costs are higher than a staffing agency fee, then it make sense to use one. Just make sure to work with an agency who speaks your language and understands your needs.