Why IT Staffing Firms Aren’t the Solution for Your Recruiting

November 16, 2016

IT Staffing Recruiting

When you need to make an IT hire, but can’t, the costs start to add up quickly. First, there’s the job board subscriptions you’re paying to keep active. Then there’s the cost of any recruiting resources you’re using to consider and the resources that your hiring managers have been using to attempt to source your hire. Finally, there’s the cost to your business of all the work that your IT hire is supposed to be doing, that is either pushed onto other employees or postponed until that hire is made.

It’s a tough position to be in, and this is the point at which many companies turn to IT staffing firms, with hopes that, by turning this problem over to the experts, a hire will be made who can solve your problems. Unfortunately, there are no true guarantees in this world and you can still be left with the same problems you have (going over budget, no qualified candidates, no one to do the work you need done, etc.) even after contracting an IT staffing firm.

While your engagement with an IT staffing firm can provide you with a good candidate, they can also provide you a candidate that just looks good on paper. At the end of the day, it’s still on you to ensure that you are getting what you need from any service provider, and you should never make the assumption that staffing firms are the silver bullet that will slay your monstrous hiring problems.

Staffing Firm Recruiters are Busy

One of the first things you should know, is that you are not special to your staffing firm recruiter. Though you may have their attention for the duration of a phone call, staffing firm recruiters are very busy and your job is one of many that they are being asked to fill as quickly as humanly possible. While it is part of their job to balance the needs of their clients, this divided attention can lead to edging corners and spending less time vetting candidates.

Always take a good look at the conditions of your contract with IT staffing companies to see what their candidate vetting process entails. Many staffing firms do not take on the responsibility of performing background checks or skill tests on the candidates that they present, and trust that the resume is the end-all and be-all for determining candidate quality. While these candidates may look good on paper, it’s important to remember that around 50% of resumes contain falsifications and exaggerations.

Think back to a time when a candidate had an expert’s resume, but ended up muddling through the most basic work you laid out for them. This being the case, you should still perform skill tests on any candidate sourced from a staffing firm, which is one of the hidden costs of using these services.

Staffing Firms are Expensive

If one of your recruiting woes is a budget that you can’t seem to stick to, staffing firms may do very little to help you in this department. Staffing firms are expensive, which is why most companies hold out until the last minute before making the call.

Many staffing firms charge a flat percentage of the hire’s salary for their services, which makes them quite costly for filling technical and senior roles. The salary range for IT workers is highly variable, and stretches from around 35,000 to over 90,000 per-year, depending on the level of seniority. If you need to fill one of these senior IT roles, then the traditional 20% flat rate will be in the tens of thousands. If you have multiple senior IT positions to fill, then these costs can get really out of hand. The last thing you want is an invoice equal to the salary of a senior employee, so be sure to always examine the price structure of staffing firms before committing to a contract.

Finding the right IT talent can be time consuming and frustrating, and many business owners turn to IT staffing firms so that they can focus their attention elsewhere. However, the recruiters that these firms employ do not have a vested interest in the long-term success of your hire and they don’t have the time to chase down candidate references or conduct thorough skill evaluations. Additionally, the pricing model of staffing firms can rip right through your stretched staffing budget and blow up costs like a thanksgiving parade float. IT staffing firms can bring you good candidates, but you should be aware of these trade-offs and understand that they won’t guarantee that your IT staffing problems will be solved.

VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts

Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.


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