Working With Staffing Agencies – FAQ for Employers

As a human resources professional seeking more workers, staffing agencies can be extremely helpful in meeting your goals. After weighing the pros and cons and deciding to try the agency route, what questions should you ask the staffing agency–what should their answers be? Here’s a unique employer FAQ about staffing agencies that lists frequently asked questions employers have along with their best answers.

The Right Fit

What attributes do employers have that make them the right fit for working with a specific job agency?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to working with employment agencies to gain needed employees. Here are 9 attributes to consider when deciding if your business is the right fit for working with a staffing agency. The agency:

  1. Has good reviews and ratings on Google and Facebook. There will always be unhappy employees and businesses who work with employment agencies. Look at the overall ratings, and how the staffing agency responds to complaints or bad reviews.
  2. Specializes in the type of employees you are seeking. Whether it is manufacturing, clerical, or C-level employees you need, take some time to find out what the agency is really good at.
  3. Is the right size for your business. Ask specific questions about how many employees you’ll need and how soon they can find them. If you love an agency but they are too small, consider working with more than one business to find good employees.
  4. Has an excellent BBB rating. Beware if they are not even members!
  5. Sends the right employees. This may be difficult to determine until you start working with the agency, but it makes all the difference in making the service successful for your company. Ask about their processes to get an idea about how employees are matched to employers. Then go back and reread reviews left by employees. If the employee is happy, they were likely a good match for the company they worked for too.
  6. Sends employees prepared to work. Employees who go into a new environment are usually quite anxious when they begin a new job. Some staffing agencies go the extra mile to inform them ahead of time about some of the basics such as parking, break and lunch times, if there is a refrigerator for storing food brought from home, the dress code norm, and anything about their supervisor’s expectations. Ask questions about how the agency prepares candidates for their first day of work.
  7. Is transparent. You will learn a lot about transparency when researching items 5 and 6 on this list or asking deeper questions that don’t have canned answers. Without transparency, there cannot be trust.
  8. Has competitive rates. Determine competitive rates by talking to several agencies. Document and compare their rates and policies for permanently hiring the workers you desire. 

Feels like a good fit. You might not be working directly with the salesperson you talk with, so ensure you meet the person you will be dealing with before signing the contract. It is the only way to determine a good fit since the salesperson will just go off and sell to other people. You are left with someone else with whom to work. Visit their office if possible, meet them either in person or online, and try to spend some time with them. These will all be important to determine if it feels like a good fit for your company.


Here are some questions to ask and the right answers when researching vetting employees.

Candidate Vetting and Employee Benefits

Do you administer pre-employment testing?
Do you provide drug screens?
Do you offer health coverage for your employees?
Is there emergency health coverage in case of an on-site injury?
Do you provide PPE?
Do you provide support for work transportation services?

About Our Candidates

How many people apply weekly?
In which industries do you specialize?
Do you specialize in finding employees for entry-level jobs?
Are all of your placements for full-time jobs?
How many of your applicants are interested in 3rd shift jobs?

Process and Cost

How soon can you provide a candidate?
How long is the waiting period before we can direct-hire your employees?
Is there a cost or is it possible to direct-hire an employee early?
What is the cost to partner with your agency to obtain employees for our business?
What is your hiring process?


Candidate Vetting and Employee Benefits

Do you administer pre-employment testing?

Yes, but it depends on the job too. Math may be required in some situations while writing and computer skills are required in others. When an applicant desires a particular job, we administer the appropriate testing to determine their skill level.

Do you provide drug screens?

Yes, the staffing agency provides 10-panel drug screens at the request of its clients.

Do you offer health coverage for your employees?

Yes, health coverage is available at an extra cost to each employee. Hint: Dig a little deeper into this one to find out just how much assistance they provide. Most agencies offer benefits for about the same cost that they will pay for a permanent hire.

Is there emergency health coverage in case of an on-site injury?

Yes, we have emergency health coverage through [name of company]. The injured employee must inform them that they are an employee of the agency.

Do you provide PPE?

Yes, we have steel-toed shoes, earplugs, and safety glasses available for purchase in our office.

Note: Some agencies also offer PPE plans for purchasing needed items through payroll deduction.

Do you provide support for work transportation services?

We offer assistance with transportation on an as-needed basis for our employees, including bus passes or Lyft rides to or from work. The arrangements for transportation reimbursement are then deducted from the employee’s paycheck.


About Our Candidates

How many people apply weekly?

We typically receive [number of applicants] per week.

Note: You might want to dig deeper into this question and ask how many applicants they receive who are eligible for the type of positions you need.

In which industries do you specialize?

We specialize in [types of work] and have many related job openings as well.

Do you specialize in finding employees for entry-level jobs?

We provide employees for both entry-level jobs and skilled trade work.

Are all of your placements for full-time jobs?

Most placements are for full-time positions, but we also place for part-time and true temp positions.

How many of your applicants are interested in 3rd shift jobs?

Many applicants really enjoy working 3rd shift jobs and plenty of our applicants are available for that schedule. Overall, we have applicants interested in all shifts. Our job openings database is searchable by shift and can display the number of 3rd shift jobs available at any given time.


Process and Cost

How soon can you provide a candidate?

You may acquire new candidates typically between 24 hours and 1 week from the time you advise us of an opening. Higher skill level positions may take more time to process the information and complete preliminary vetting functions.

How long is the waiting period before we can direct-hire your employees?

The term of most temp services is 90 days before you can direct-hire our employees. This can be negotiated which would impact the cost.

Is there a cost or is it possible to direct-hire an employee early?

Yes. This is part of the negotiation.

What is the cost to partner with your agency to obtain employees for our business?

We remain competitive within the employment agency market. Ease of fill, quantity of placement, workers compensation rate, and skill level requirements impact cost. Quotes will be provided on an individual basis.

What is your hiring process?

A Business Development Manager will meet with your contact person and discuss needs and opportunities to partner. If that meeting produces an incentive for both parties, we begin the negotiation. Once the negotiation is complete, the agreement is drafted and signed by both parties. Then we schedule a tour of your facility with our recruiters and continue learning about processes and expectations. After the tour, we verify that we have all the necessary information to begin sourcing candidates. At this point, we are ready to conduct the process of filling positions.

Note: This is a great answer but they could be all over the board, depending on the agency.

  • Amber Schneider

    Amber Schneider has significant experience in staffing. She is currently employed at Qualified Staffing, where she is the Area Manager of their Wisconsin business unit.