How to Benchmark a Staffing Company

Staffing agencies can help your company in many ways, but choosing the right agency is harder than it looks. The staffing industry is a very saturated market, and there are countless agencies to choose from. Some are better than others, but it can be difficult for hiring managers to identify the best agencies. There isn’t a lot of guidance out there about how to choose the best agency.

Price is a crucial factor when deciding on vendors for your business, but of course, it can’t be the only factor. You need to look at other factors to determine which agencies will give you the best value for your money.

There are many key metrics hiring managers should know when they’re evaluating agencies. By considering these KPIs, you can make a smart decision about which staffing agency will help your company meet its goals. Read on to find out which KPIs you should be concerned with.

Response Time

When you need new workers for your team’s projects, you need them right away. You can’t afford to wait a few days for a staffing agency to call you back or answer your email. That’s why it’s so important to ask about response time when you’re evaluating staffing agencies.

Response time lets you know how quickly, on average, the agency responds to clients’ orders or inquiries. The shorter the response time, the better. If you know you’ll have last-minute staffing needs, look for an agency that measures its response time in hours, not days.

Capacity to Deliver

The total number of recruiters committed to your account is a straightforward KPI. Naturally, a higher number of recruiters will yield a higher number of placements—the total number of workers the staffing company has placed in a certain time period. This number is important for you because it lets you see how large the staffing company is. Another metric for measuring an agency’s size and delivery capacity is to look at the total number of placements its recruiters have made in the industry.

If a staffing company has a low total number of placements, it may not be able to handle a high-volume order. It may not have a large enough network to find the workers you need. On the other hand, if the company has a dedicated team of recruiters to suit your business needs and a high placement rate, you can trust them to fill your large orders.

Average Fill Rate

The average fill rate is a measure that shows how successfully staffing agencies can fill their clients’ orders. For example, if you order ten consultants and the agency provides you with eight, it would have an 80-percent fill rate for that order. The average fill rate shows you how successful the company has been overall.

A higher average fill rate proves that a staffing company is able to provide its clients with the workers they need. If the company you’re considering has a low average fill rate, it may not be able to fill your open positions. Not getting your positions filled isn’t just frustrating; it can hold up your projects and cost your company money.

Submittal-to-Hire Ratio

Submittal-to-hire is a ratio that helps show how efficient staffing companies are. It’s expressed as a ratio of candidates submitted to hires made. For example, if a staffing company submits four candidates for every hire, its submittal-to-hire ratio would be 4:1.

When you’re evaluating staffing agencies, pay close attention to this ratio. Ideally, you should be looking for an agency with a low ratio. If an agency is submitting 20 candidates for every hire, that means you’ll need to read through more resumes to decide who you want to hire. That’s not an efficient process.

An agency with a low submittal-to-hire process may only send you a few candidates to consider for each open position, which is a better use of your time.

Average Time-to-Fill Ratio

The average time-to-fill ratio is another important KPI to consider when you’re evaluating staffing companies. As you know, time is money. The longer your open positions stay vacant, the more money you’ll lose. Your open positions need to be filled as soon as possible so you can get started on your projects.

The average time-to-fill ratio will vary based on the recruitment type. Temporary jobs can be filled in an average of six days, while contract jobs take eight days. Permanent jobs, where a great fit is essential, have an average time-to-fill ratio of 32 days.

Compare the staffing agencies you have in mind to these average figures.

Offer Acceptance Rates

The offer acceptance rate expresses the percentage of offers that are accepted in a certain time period. For example, if an agency makes 10 job offers in a month, and six people accept, the offer acceptance rate for the month would be 60 percent. This rate helps you evaluate a staffing agency’s recruitment strategies.

If a low percentage of candidates are accepting job offers, it could mean the agency’s recruitment strategies are lacking. Its recruiters could be having trouble finding good candidates for jobs, or they may not be interviewing candidates thoroughly.

A high offer acceptance rate shows that the agency is excelling at finding candidates who are good matches for open positions.

Fall-Offs

Another important benchmark for staffing companies is what is called “fall-off.” Fall-offs are the total number of candidates that accept an offer, but then do not show up to work without warning or notice. This is often due to two reasons: If the candidate is passive, he or she may have decided to stay on at his or her current job. Or, the candidate may have taken another, more competitive offer at another company.

Understandably, fall-offs are incredibly frustrating, and they are a waste of everyone’s time and money. Just when you think you’ve sourced the perfect consultant, he or she disappears. There are things staffing companies can do to prevent these fall-offs, so be sure to ask what their rate is to get a sense of how well they work to prevent these unfortunate circumstances.

Retention Rates

It’s not enough for a staffing agency to just find you workers quickly. Those workers need to be people who will stick around for a while. If workers leave too quickly, you’ll have a high turnover rate. High turnover rates can negatively affect companiesby wasting both time and money. High turnover rates also lead to lowered productivity, and it may affect morale. For these reasons, make sure to ask staffing agencies about their retention rates.

The retention rate refers to the percentage of employees who are still with a company after a certain period. For example, if you hired 10 employees at the beginning of the year, but only five were left at the end of the year, your retention rate would be 50 percent.

The higher the retention rate, the better. A higher retention rate means the staffing agency is able to find employees who are a good long-term fit for companies.

Cost-Per-Hire

Keeping costs under control is very important. While great employees are very valuable, you can’t afford to spend unlimited amounts of money hiring them. You need to spend as little as possible while still getting the best workers.

A staffing agency’s average cost-per-hire lets you measure the value of its recruitment resources. While you may have never calculated your company’s cost-per-hire before, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. When you evaluate a staffing company’s average cost-per-hire, keep this number in mind.

Performance

Performance KPIs are also important to think about. These KPIs show you how happy past clients and candidates have been with the agency you’re considering. Ask for both client satisfaction and candidate satisfaction figures.

Client satisfaction is important for obvious reasons. If a low percentage of past clients were happy with the agency’s performance, you may not be satisfied, either. On the other hand, if most past clients have been pleased, you’ll probably have a good experience, too.

Candidate satisfaction is also important. Your recruiting process is a reflection on your company, even when you work with a staffing agency. If past candidates have a low satisfaction rate, your company’s reputation could be negatively impacted. Word gets around, and if candidates aren’t happy with the recruiting process, you could have trouble hiring workers in the future. For this reason, look for a staffing agency that boasts a high satisfaction rate for its past candidates.

Account Management

The last thing you want is for your recruitment process to become a game of telephone. Too often, staffing companies do not assign a proper contact for service delivery, which can open lines of miscommunication and chaos.

Having an account manager is key to the successful delivery of services. When evaluating staffing companies, look for ones that will dedicate an account manager as a single point of contact. This person will be solely responsible for overseeing the delivering of services and will work to understand your specific needs and ensure they are properly interpreted and communicated to the recruiting team.

Compliance Measures

Too often, the little things are overlooked when evaluating recruitment firms. Benchmarking for quality of services is one thing, but gambling with the safety of workers on your site or with your liabilities as a company are not things to trifle with.

When evaluating a company, it is good practice to pay attention to the small details of their service offering: Is the company transparent about its rates and the responsibilities it assumes for its contractors and clients? Things like insurance certificates, workplace safety practices, onboarding processes, tax compliance, and a company’s safety record can give you an idea of how well the company works to protect its consultants, and protect its clients from any liabilities.

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Trevor Breininger

Trevor Breininger

Trevor brings experience in both recruiting and business development to his role as Business Development Manager at Ian Martin. He knows the industry from both a recruiting and an account management perspective and would like to communicate what works best to clients. As an avid reader, Trevor reads everything from industry related books to science fiction. He also enjoys getting outside and enjoying a beautiful day on the golf course.
Trevor Breininger