By: Rebecca (Pesavento) Fries
Associate Director, Recruitment
If you’re about to graduate or are thinking about making a career switch, a trusted friend or advisor may say, “You know, you should really consider working for a staffing agency.”
While that comment may be intriguing, it may not be clear to you what staffing is, or what recruiters even do. And if you’re feeling unsure, you’re not alone一many people are unfamiliar with the staffing industry or what recruiters do on a daily basis.
What is staffing, and why is it important?
At a very high level, staffing is the process of sourcing, identifying, and placing qualified candidates in open positions. Agency recruiters work on behalf of their clients looking for candidates with specific skills and experience for contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent openings. Once agency recruiters are familiar with those requirements, they set out to find candidates who could be the perfect fit.
Companies generally use staffing agencies because they don’t have the time, money, or bandwidth to set up in-house recruiting or their existing talent acquisition team is lean. A great staffing agency sources unique, diverse talent quickly, which is especially important for companies undergoing periods of high growth or seasonal hiring sprees. For contract-to-hire roles, staffing agencies have deep networks of qualified candidates, enticing organizations who want to “try before they buy.”
On the flip side, staffing agencies also work with people looking for a new job. Agency recruiters partner with a broad range of companies, allowing them to help job seekers cast a wider net in their search. Ultimately, you can think of agency recruiters as the liaisons between great companies and great people.
How to know if staffing is for you
Now that you have a baseline understanding of what staffing is, it’s time to determine whether working at a staffing agency appeals to you. Staffing may be the right career for you if:
- You thrive in a competitive environment – Sourcing the right candidates to the right companies at the right time is challenging yet thrilling. To encourage agency recruiters to perform their best, many staffing companies have an internal ranking system and specific metrics so you can watch yourself progress day after day for your own benefit and compare your progress to your peers. There are often incentives for those who go above and beyond as well. Those that are financially motivated and are sales-oriented tend to do very well in staffing agency environments.
- You like helping people – As competitive as staffing can get, there is a feel-good aspect to the work. After all, you help people land the job of their dreams and help hiring managers employ the best possible candidates for their openings. It’s incredibly rewarding to help others realize their potential and connect them with the right opportunity.
- You like the idea of unlimited earning potential – Unlike corporate recruiting, where you earn a base salary plus bonus, staffing typically has a base salary and an uncapped commission structure. So, if you consistently place excellent candidates, there can be no limit to how much money you take home.
- You want to be recognized for your work, not just your tenure – Performance tends to outweigh tenure at staffing companies, so you don’t have to work at an agency forever to make a name for yourself and become a top performer.
- You want leadership opportunities – At most staffing agencies, newcomers start as an entry-level recruiter but can quickly move into managerial or mentorship positions. And if you find that recruiting isn’t your thing, you have opportunities to branch out into business development or operations-focused roles.
- You don’t like it when two days are the same – Every day, you’re talking to different people in different industries with a variety of experiences and skillsets, so you’re rarely having the same conversation twice. Staffing favors those who are willing to learn and adapt to new verticals. Part of your day also consists of coordinating interviews, extending offers to candidates, and checking in with candidates you’ve placed in the past.
Four skills you gain in a staffing role
If the points above appeal to you, you’ll be glad to learn that staffing confers even more than money and warm and fuzzy feelings. There are four major skills you’ll cultivate as a recruiter, including:
1. Critical thinking – As an agency recruiter, new, complex problems arise every day: convincing someone to leave the job they’re currently in to take on a great new opportunity, learning about an entirely new labor market, or racing to find a new candidate on a tight timeline, just to name a few. Over time, you’ll learn to be agile and creative.
2. Multitasking – With so much to do in a day, agency recruiters are constantly refining their multitasking abilities. It’s impossible to juggle competing priorities and manage multiple candidate relationships without superb task and time management skills.
3. Interpersonal skills – Agency recruiters need to be able to communicate with all types of people. On any given day, they may speak with: candidates who just graduated from college, candidates who have been in the industry for 30+ years, their peers, hiring managers and more. Seasoned agency recruiters learn to tailor conversations to their audience to build better relationships and make the most of each exchange.
4. Self-motivation – Often, agency recruiters are individual contributors, so they must be very self-disciplined and self-aware. The best agency recruiters find the motivation to push themselves to plan and execute their goals every day. Ultimately, recruiting is sales and is a numbers game– the more outreach you do, the more candidates you will place.
The best part: Staffing is rewarding
In addition to the many benefits of working in staffing, truly one of the best parts is that it’s rewarding. Agencies hold contests, events, and team-building activities to ensure their recruiters are working diligently, feel connected to the company, and make meaningful connections with their coworkers. Recruiting can be very challenging, but most agencies offer an abundance of support and guidance to ensure each recruiter is successful and professionally satisfied.
So, if you’re looking for a highly rewarding job (in more ways than one), look no further than staffing agency recruitment. If you’re ready to apply, check out The Planet Group’s career page. If you want to do a bit more research, browse The Planet Group’s website for more resources or reach out to me directly for an exploratory conversion.
Connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn