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Focusing the Find: How Staffing Firms Work with HR Departments to Supercharge Recruiting

Human resource management is a complex endeavor that often requires HR managers to make difficult decisions about which tasks to prioritize, says David Lockhart, Executive Vice President at Nesco Resource.

“When you work in HR, you must deal with compliance issues, employee benefits, performance management and workplace safety, among other important matters that pertain to existing employees,” Lockhart says. “This makes it very difficult to devote meaningful time to one of the most important functions of a business — recruiting new employees.” 

A growing number of companies are turning to staffing companies to boost HR departments’ ability to recruit efficiently. “Staffing companies can help HR managers identify qualified candidates, do the preliminary screening and testing and then present the client with a select group of candidates for a final review,” Lockhart says.

“These are professionals who understand client staffing requirements and can manage the other components of this process that clients can’t perform as quickly or efficiently.” 

Smart Business spoke with Lockhart about the role staffing firms can play in recruiting, as well as other roles to help HR departments operate more effectively. 

What risks can be minimized by working with  a staffing company to make new hires? 

Companies are often unaware of the policies and procedures that need to be followed when it comes to conducting background checks, drug tests, interviews and other screening processes that occur during the recruitment. When the rules are not followed, it can create legal problems for both the HR department and the business. 

However, this is what staffing professionals do for a living. Not only are they recruiting on a continuous basis to identify qualified candidates, but they are also constantly aware of government requirements regarding how those rules are changing. This includes questions that cannot be asked during an interview and screening that either can or cannot be done. It is not the staffing company’s role to make sure a client is compliant. Rather, the staffing company is a consultant that can point out areas where there might be an issue and help the client partner with an employment law specialist who can ensure compliance. 

With regard to the actual recruiting, staffing companies can help HR departments identify characteristics for an ideal candidate and then find only qualified matches. If an HR manager goes out on their own to recruit for a position, he or she will likely post an ad and get a number of candidates who aren’t qualified for the open position. This manager will waste a great deal of time reviewing candidates who aren’t a good fit for that company. The role of a staffing provider is to meet with the client, understand its needs and do all of the other functions in the background. 

Why are some companies reluctant to  outsource the recruiting process? 

Many employers aren’t aware that they have issues. They are hiring people the same way that they have been for years without realizing their process has serious problems.  For example, a lot of companies use other people in the organization to conduct interviews either out of necessity or a desire to have the candidate spend time with other people in the business. This presents a risk, as mentioned earlier, that inappropriate questions may be asked during the interview. Staffing companies handle the pre-screening and qualification process, but they can also guide those individuals who are conducting the interviews and seek to avoid these trouble spots. Their presence also frees up time for the HR manager to potentially sit in on the interviews and make sure they are conducted correctly. 

What about companies that are concerned about the cost of outsourcing these services? 

In most cases, businesses find that outsourcing recruiting and other HR functions is a more cost-efficient option. Staffing companies have access to all the major job boards and have experienced recruiters on staff. Hiring and firing is very expensive. The fact that these firms can identify a viable candidate and utilize them in a position to ensure fit before the person is hired on a full-time basis with benefits can be of significant value to companies. 

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