As Director of Support Services at TempWorks Software, I work hand-in-hand with dozens of staffing agencies every day, assisting them on all aspects of their business. I work with light industrial, medical, professional, technical and specialty staffing agencies. Because of this, I know how successful they can be and how large their operation can be. So when I have a job opening and an agency refers a candidate to me, why does a small piece of me die inside?

They either over or under prep the candidate

I have a recruiter who insists on physically bringing their candidate to the interview. It drives me nuts. I want the candidate to be able to use Google Maps on their own and show up on time without a chaperone. At the same time, I have candidates who come in not knowing what job they applied for. It seems very difficult for recruiters to find that balance in a candidate.

They don’t ask the right questions

When working with a candidate, recruiters usually have their “stock” interview questions. I’ve found that conversational interviews reveal a lot more about a person then a 20 minute Q & A session. Had recruiters sat down and talked to the candidate apart from the questions a candidate can Google the “correct” answer for, half of the candidates submitted to me would never have made it to an interview.

They send over too many resumes

I understand that putting candidates in front of me increases the chances that you’ll get a commission, but a little discretion in who you send over would be appreciated. I have always made my intentions known: I am very picky; I have to be in order to serve my clients well. I want rock stars who fit perfectly within a very narrow definition of hard and soft skills. Don’t have that? Walk away—I’m okay with that. But please don’t send me resumes unless you are confident in the candidate. If all I wanted was resume spam, I would post the opening on Craigslist.

They don’t know the job

I love when agencies come in and ask questions. Figuring out our culture, the position, and what I am looking for in a candidate is huge—but only if you act on it. With one agency I spent over an hour explaining exactly what we are looking for. They ended up submitting over a dozen candidates and none of them were offered a position, so I asked the agency how they describe the position to the candidates. What I heard sounded more like an after school ping pong program than a job.

They steal my employees

I used to work with an agency who actually placed a lot of folks with me. “Used to” being the operative words, there. About a year into our relationship, my direct hire/non-temporary employees started telling me that the agency was trying to recruit them away from us.

Is finding a reliable, professional, and competent staffing agency really this hard?

Tags: Industry