Picking the Right Staffing and Recruiting Agency 

Picking the Right Staffing and Recruiting Agency

Hiring the right candidate is crucial for any business, but it can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s why many businesses turn to recruiting agencies to help them find the best professionals. Every staffing agency is unique in its service offerings, price, and specialties. Peak Performers, for example, offers direct placement, temporary staffing, and other recruiting services to the government and select private sector clients.  

How do you know which recruiting agency is right for you? Here are eight easy steps you can follow to choose the right staffing partner. 

1. Start by Defining Your Need

When considering recruitment services, it’s essential to understand the various options available and how they align with your organizational needs. Most recruiting services break down into: 

Temporary Staffing 

This involves recruiting and filling temporary roles. Temporary employees are employed by the staffing firm but work at the client company to address high-demand projects or fill in for absent employees. Although the temporary employee reports to work at the client company, these individuals are employees of the staffing firm, not the client. The client company provides daily assignments and coordinates with the staffing firm for employee-related matters. The staffing agency manages performance based on client feedback. 

Direct Hire 

Direct hire services involve outsourcing the recruiting efforts to find someone for your internal position. From day one, the recruited candidate will start as your employee. Once hired, the recruiting agency’s responsibilities typically end, although reputable agencies may offer placement guarantees and follow-up on placements. 


Temp-to-perm hiring involves bringing on a temporary employee for a trial period with the intention of converting them to an internal employee if they perform well. Discussions with the staffing agency should include the trial period length and any associated fees. Compensation negotiations with potential employees also usually occur during the conversion process. 

Executive Search 

Executive search services are largely the same as direct hire except that it is typically reserved for executive, director, and C-level positions. The recruitment firm has a strong network that they can use to identify executive-level candidates who are often already employed (perhaps even outside of your geographic area) and need to be sold on why they want to leave their current job. Typically, the client pays a higher markup percentage than they do for direct hire services, and the recruiting firm takes a very “hands-on” approach with candidate management to ensure a successful placement. 

Whether you seek temporary staffing, direct placement, or executive search, Peak Performers will match you with the best candidates.  

Related article: Contracting and Temporary Staffing: What Every Employer Needs to Know 

2. Consider the Costs

Staffing costs represent a significant part of operational expenses for any business. When evaluating the fees charged by recruiting firms, consider that the recruiting firm takes care of the costs and risks associated with the recruitment process on your behalf. The amount you’ll be charged depends on the type of recruiting service you want to pursue. 

Cost of Temporary Staffing 

In the case of temporary staffing, you will be charged a bill rate based on the hourly wages paid to temporary workers, along with a markup fee. This fee encompasses various expenses incurred by the staffing firm, including staff time, job advertising, software costs, payroll processing fees, employment taxes, benefits for employees, and general overhead expenses. The staffing firm bears the risks associated with potential workers’ compensation claims, unemployment claims, and labor disputes, such as discrimination or wrongful termination claims. 

Be sure also to inquire about conversion costs. These costs come into play if you decide to hire a temporary worker as a permanent employee. Typically, conversion costs are waived after a specified period, usually around 90-120 days. However, when applicable, conversion fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the candidate’s first-year annual salary. 

Cost of Direct Placement and Executive Search 

Direct hire and executive search services are typically charged in one of two ways: as a percentage of the placed candidate’s annual salary or a flat fee per search. These services may be offered on a contingency basis, where the agency is paid only upon making a successful placement, a partially contingent basis, where payments are staggered throughout the search process, or a retainer basis, where you pay a recurring fee to ensure ongoing access to the agency’s services. 


Some clients conclude that filling the same role multiple times requires less time, energy, and expense from the recruiting firm. However, each position requires a significant investment of time and resources, particularly in candidate screening and interaction. While volume discounts may be offered, they’re not a reflection of reduced workload but rather a commitment to future business. 

Finally, when engaging in direct hire or executive search, be sure to ask about placement guarantees. These guarantees, typically ranging from 30 days to one year, offer assurance of the quality of placements made by the recruiting firm. It’s important to have placement guarantees documented in writing and to negotiate terms based on the complexity of the position being filled. 

3. Consider the Size and Structure

Recruiting and staffing firms come in various shapes and sizes, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. Understanding the different types of agencies can help you identify the right partner for your recruitment needs. 

Local Start-up 

Many recruiting firms are founded to serve specific geographic areas, especially in smaller cities. These firms are often run by owners who are actively involved in the local community. Expect personalized service and a deep understanding of the local workforce dynamics. 


Large national firms may adopt a franchise model, operating under a national brand while serving specific territories or segments. Franchise owners are typically enthusiastic entrepreneurs. While they offer the benefits of a national network, interactions may feel more corporate than with smaller, local firms.

Boutique Firm 

Boutique firms specialize in direct hire and executive search for specific industries they are deeply familiar with. Recruiters in boutique firms are well-connected within their industry niche. These firms are ideal for specialized placements and are not bound by geographic restrictions. 

Local, Mid-sized Firm 

Peak Performers fall into this category. This type of firm has expanded beyond local start-ups and offers a wider variety of services. While they may still have a particular geographic or industry specialization, they have more experience, more customers, more available services, and a deeper candidate pool. Expect from these companies more professional processes, well-trained personnel, and a friendly, local touch. 

Large, National Firm 

These firms have expanded to have many geographic locations nationwide. They will often offer a wide variety of services, have deep candidate pools, and have lower prices (due to economies of scale). However, there are potential downsides. You will probably never meet your point of contact. Also, they may not take a deep approach to understanding your business and your needs since they service so many customers at once.  

These firms also tend to have higher staff turnover, and you may have a hit-or-miss experience with new account managers. Finally, these firms may be less flexible and adaptable to your needs. In addition to the parameters of their corporate rules, they may have restrictions from previous contracts about what companies they cannot recruit from. They are often contractually obligated to avoid conflicts of interest. 

4. Examine Communication Pattern

Initial correspondence with a staffing firm can reveal a lot about their professionalism and commitment to client service. Pay attention to how promptly and professionally they respond to inquiries via phone calls, voicemails, and emails. A lack of timely or professional communication may indicate internal staffing issues within the firm, potentially affecting their ability to meet client needs effectively. 

5. Double Check the Firm’s Specialization

A track record of success in a specific industry is a strong indicator of a recruiting firm’s ability to deliver results. Look for firms that specialize in your industry, as they are likely to have an established candidate pool and referral network tailored to your needs. Specialized firms also possess deeper insights into industry best practices and unique business processes, enhancing their ability to source top talent efficiently. 

6. Assess Technological Abilities

Modern recruiting firms use applicant tracking systems, advertise jobs widely across the internet, and have robust internal processes for ensuring employees are paid on time. Finding a firm with good digital tools reflects an investment on the part of the company toward working efficiently and effectively. 

7. Get to Know What the Future Recruiting Competition Is Like

For executive search positions, ask about the firm’s policies regarding recruiting candidates away from your organization after your collaboration ends. Understand who is considered “off-limits” and the duration of this restriction, typically lasting for two years as per industry standards. Clarity on this issue helps maintain trust and transparency in the client-recruiter relationship. 

8. Research the Firm’s Reputation with Job Seekers

Consider the reputation of the staffing agency among job seekers by reading online reviews and testimonials. Assess how the agency responds to negative feedback and whether they demonstrate responsiveness and empathy. Remember that the agency represents your brand among job seekers, and the workforce they provide will reflect on your organization, even if it’s temporary. A positive reputation enhances the agency’s credibility and ability to attract ideal candidates. 


If you’re looking to hire the best candidates for your business without spending too much time or resources, what you need is a reliable and professional recruiting agency. Peak Performers has been in the staffing business for 30 years with a proven track record of delivering high-quality staffing solutions to our clients, ranging from small businesses to large government agencies. We offer various services, such as temporary, direct hire, or executive employees, specializing in industries such as engineering, legal, accounting, and IT. 

Our competitive edge is that we foster diversity and inclusion by giving job hiring priority to professionals with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. We believe in every person’s innate ability and help them find a job that matches their skills and qualifications. Contact us today to connect with qualified and vetted professionals who align with your standards and expectations. 


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