The Complete Guide to Using a Staffing Agency

The Ultimate Guide to a Staffing Agency

What is a staffing agency? Temp agencies or staffing agencies have been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows about them or how they operate.

What is a Staffing Agency?

A staffing agency is a public or privately owned business that places people at company positions. The staffing agency acts as the middleman in between large companies and job seekers, matching qualified candidates to job openings.

Want to skip ahead?

What Does a Staffing Agency Do?

What do Staffing Agencies Charge? Do Recruiters Take a Cut of Your Salary?

How Long Does It Take To Get a Job Through a Staffing Agency?

How Do Staffing Agencies Get Clients?

What Jobs Do Staffing Agencies Have?

How to Apply


What Does A Staffing Agency Do?

Originally known as an “employment agency“, a staffing agency is all about connecting people to opportunities. “Temp” stands for temporary. A temp agency or staffing agency connects people with open jobs. Some are just for a short amount of time, such as for the length of a project, and others are longer with the possibility of becoming permanent. There are also specific positions that are permanent right away. A staffing agency connects companies that can’t find the right people to the right people. Once employed, the person becomes a “contractor” or “contract employee” because they’ve been hired with a contract.

Different Kinds of Staffing Agencies

Some temp agencies specialize in a specific industry, while others will hire for a wide variety. A few industries need employees in contract positions more than others. These include (but are not limited to) nursing, manufacturing, trucking, IT, construction, engineering, scientific, and human resources.

There are employment agencies that only have a job per day and will pay you at the end of your shift. That’s known as a “Paid Daily Job”, and is usually the first thing people think of when they’re considering working at a staffing agency. Others pay every week or every two weeks, just like a traditional employer.

Your staffing agency could be publicly or privately owned. There are staffing agencies all over the world and over 20,000 in the United States alone. According to the American Staffing Association, 73% of the people employed through staffing agencies work full-time and over a year, staffing agencies hire over 16 million contract and temporary workers.

Different Kinds of Jobs Contracts

  • Temp
  • Temp-to-Permanent
  • Direct Hire

Temp” stands for temporary and is usually for a project or seasonal. It could be to cover tax season, or for a short term assignment.

Temp-to-permanent positions start temporary but then turn into a permanent position. This is usually (but not always) depending on how many days the employee worked. For instance, some positions are temp-to-permanent after 30, 60, or 90 days. It’s usually up to the company when they decide to hire you permanently, not the staffing agency.

Permanent positions are just what they sound like. In the staffing industry, what people think of as a permanent job is referred to as a “direct hire”. This means that the company hiring sends the staffing agency a one-time payment for having found such a valuable employee. After that, the company takes over and the employee doesn’t deal with the staffing agency again.

Gig Jobs vs. Staffing Agency

The phrase “flexible work” can cover a few different kinds of work, including work through a staffing agency. For instance, an employee at a gig job is responsible for their own hours. A temp employee knows the schedule ahead of time and can make plans around it.

Gig workers have to accept the risk that they won’t be paid as much or reliably. Just because they choose their hours doesn’t mean there will be demand during that time! Temp workers know they have a paycheck coming because the staffing agency has already absorbed the risk for them. Staffing agencies have to vet clients ahead of time to make sure that there is enough work to justify hiring.

Temp workers through a staffing agency also get access to a human resources department, benefits, and payroll administration. Staffing agencies also take safety on the job very seriously and provide safety orientation and personal protective equipment. Gig workers don’t have access to any of those.

Freelancer vs. Staffing Agency

Freelancers are usually in the creative fields and work from project to project, often more than one at a time. They are responsible for their own marketing, running their own billing, and pitching their ideas and sales to potential clients. Someone working as a freelancer gets to set their own rates, but they also have to build referral networks, cold-call potential clients, own all tools and supplies, and all with the risk that works is not guaranteed.

Headhunter vs. Staffing Agency

Headhunters and recruiters also look for people in different stages of job searching. Recruiters at a staffing agency are looking for active job-seekers, while headhunters are looking for passive job-seekers. Companies may work with a headhunter only once but will have an ongoing contract with staffing agencies. Headhunters are good to hire when the company has only one specific position to fill. Recruiters have a larger network and usually a higher amount of jobs to fill.

There are benefits to using a temp agency instead of a headhunter. Recruiters at a staffing agency have typically built long relationships with their clients, while headhunters are hired on a need-by-need basis. Due to these networks, recruiters often have insights into the work culture that the headhunters don’t.


What do Staffing Agencies Charge? Do Recruiters Take a Cut of Your Salary?

No one should be paying money in exchange for a job. Staffing agencies are only paid by their clients, which are companies, not individual people. You shouldn’t be paying either upfront or out of your check once you’re hired. Absolutely no one should be paying a staffing or temp agency for a job.

Staffing agencies are paid by the companies that need people, not the people themselves. Only employers pay recruiters, not job seekers, not employees. There is absolutely no circumstance where a staffing agency or a recruiter will ask you, as a job-seeker to pay them, period.

Recruiters and salespeople are paid by the client companies after someone has been hired. It can be commission-based or a flat fee, depending on whether it’s a temporary, temp-to-permanent, or permanent position. This also means that recruiters can’t find you just any job, since they work for the people who pay them- the client companies. Recruiters are paid to fit the job openings at just those specific companies. This means they can’t get you a job at Google unless Google is already one of their clients. If not, then they can’t help you.

If you’re suspicious of a job ad, please look out for these signs: Top 12 Job Scam Warning Signs


How Long Does It Take To Get a Job Through a Staffing Agency?

The answer to this depends on several factors and a job-seeker will want to ask their recruiter:

  • How much the client company wants to hire someone
  • Is there a background screening? Drug test?
  • How long will it take to get an interview request?
  • Will there be many interviews?
  • Do you know how many other candidates there are? The more there are, the longer you might have to wait for an interview.


How Do Staffing Agencies Get Clients?

Mainly it’s referrals and networking. Staffing agencies have sales teams like other businesses, and it’s their job to pull in clients that the recruiters can feasibly assist. Companies that are interested are vetted to make sure that they follow safety guidelines, can pay the staffing agency on time, and that the need is great enough to be worth the recruiting effort. Staffing agencies have a lot invested in choosing the right clients.


What Jobs Do Staffing Agencies Have?

It depends on which one you ask! Some only do specific industries, like construction or tech, while others handle a wide variety. Here at NESC Staffing, we handle engineering, manufacturing, administrative, medical positions, IT, and financial services. It’s safe to say that we do a little bit of everything. You can see exactly what openings we have located in your area:


How to Apply

If you’d rather just send in your resume instead of going through all the jobs, you can just attach it here: Apply today


More questions?

10 Staffing Agency Myths, Including Pay, Jobs, and More!

9 Ways a Temp Agency Helps Job Seekers

Top 12 Job Scams Warning Signs

Ultimate Guide to Job Interview Questions

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18 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Using a Staffing Agency

  1. I’m glad you talked about how a staffing agency helps big companies to find job candidates. Recently, one of my cousins graduated from college, and he’s been looking for a job. He’s tried everything, but he hasn’t gotten any luck. After reading your piece, I think it wouldn’t hurt him to try a staffing agency, so I’ll be sure to tell my cousin about it. Thanks for the information about the perks of working with a staffing agency.

  2. It was really helpful when you said to ask if they have a background screening. My husband is needing to work with a staffing agency for his work. I’ll make sure to pass these tips along to him as he searches for a staffing agency to work with.

  3. Thanks for pointing out how a trustworthy staffing agency will not ask a job-seeker to pay them. I think companies should look out for this. Then they could ensure that they don’t hire a staffing agency to stiff their potential new employees.

  4. I like how you mentioned that a staffing agency is about giving people opportunities. My cousin who was a veterinarian mentioned to me that they need another team member and asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell her that she can consult complete veterinary team service as they can answer all her inquiries.

  5. What a wonderful article! This is groove with useful information, and I can’t wait to delve in and receiver of the information the resources you’ve provided. Your pleasure is stimulating.

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