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What Exactly Do Staffing Companies Do?

Staffing companies are tasked with (a) finding (the right) talent, (b) when the client needs them (timely) and (c) at a price to fit the client’s budget.

For those who have never worked in the industry it doesn’t seem that hard.

Run a few ads, interview a few people send them over to the client and another sale is done.

Of course if it were that simple then staffing companies would not exist, particularly in an age where technology is so pervasive.

Yet … here we are.

I thought it might be useful for those who are not in the know to get a sense of why we exist.

  1. Recruiting is, of course, a people business. People are not widgets and hence, particularly with professionals, people are not interchangeable parts.

  2. Volume is NOT a good thing!  Receiving a ton of resumes applying for a job is not a good thing. Most often the culling and screening process to find the best candidate is difficult. If you have to read hundreds of resumes it can be mind-numbing, but experienced recruiter can handle this more quickly than most. New technology may help, but it also might hinder ... because AI is not really "there" yet.

  3. My company is a mid-sized professional staffing company in Canada. We maintain a database of more than 400,000 candidates (professionals) and receive roughly 4,000 resumes every month.

  4. The way that staffing companies are successful is by maintaining relationships with the best candidates, and always adding to those lists of great people. That means interviewing people every day just to maintain an inventory of available talent.

  5. Salespeople in our industry work with their clients to understand their needs. That means lots of meetings, lots of conversations and asking the right questions.

  6. Where this all comes together is a planning process that ties together the type of demand we expect from our clients with the type of people that our recruiters are meeting. In a perfect world we will have qualified candidates to meet our client’s needs, as those needs arise.

  7. Recruiters therefore will be juggling the multiple responsibilities of:

    • Building inventory, requiring them to meet and interview prospective candidates; keep in touch with people who are available for work;

    • Working on job orders, requiring them to understand the client’s needs, evaluate the available inventory, discuss the job with multiple applicants, negotiate rates, check references, submit the best candidates to the client and keep applicants informed of where things stand;

    • Managing existing candidates currently working with their clients. Checking on how they are doing through the life of the contract, keeping check on their future availability, handling any billing issues that might arise, ensuring time sheets are received etc.

  8. Salespeople will be working closely with their recruiting team to ensure the client is being well served, building relationships across existing clients and into new prospective clients. They will be managing expectations, spending time on site as appropriate to be visible and available to both clients and candidates working at those sites. They will be involved in ensuring the quality of the submissions, rate negotiations and candidate management.

  9. This is a hyper competitive world, where competitors might range from a one person shop to multi-national global companies, and everything in between. Tools and process have made the industry extremely productive, existing on razor thin margins, with Statistics Canada reporting the average profitability in the industry between 3% and 5%.

  10. When a client gets their candidate they see the end result, which might not look like much work, but like the proverbial duck, all the action happens below the water level!

This is a great industry, and in an age of increasing skills and labor shortages it is becoming even more important.

More people will gain employment through the staffing industry than through any other means, which is good for people, for companies in search of talent and for the economy.

“The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead.” 

Bill Gates

What else would you like to know about the staffing industry?

Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Want to know where Canada's hot jobs are? Visit the Eagle Job Board!


I write these articles with the intent of sharing MY experience and knowledge gained during MY life journey. From the 16 year old joining the Royal Navy, through many incarnations, to the grey haired guy who built a business. If you find a nugget here, then I am happy. If the message offends you then I apologise, that was never my intent. I know and recognize there are many people and groups who have a far bigger challenge than I have had and I only wish you well.