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Human Resources

Working with Employment Agencies

An employee agency can make life much easier for you by pre-screening applicants that would do well in the positions you have to offer. Rather than talk to everyone who wants to apply, just get the most qualified applicants.

Finding a good employee can require wading through dozens, if not hundreds of not-so-great and downright terrible employees. From sifting through resumes and calling people in to interview, only to discover that they are far from suitable for the position, to placing want ads and rejecting interviewees, it can be disheartening trying to find the ideal person.

Employment agencies can be a life-saver when you need a qualified employee. An employee agency will save you a lot of time by doing all the screening for you and then sending you only the people that are best suited for the position. Rather than go through all those resumes yourself, you will simply have to interview a few of the more promising choices and make your decision.

This method is not foolproof, of course, and the more demanding you are, the fewer options there will be. You are also limited to those people who have signed up with the employment agency. There may be others who are job hunting on their own with the right skills for the job.

Dealing with employment agencies can be frustrating at times, unless you know how to make sure you get what you need. There are a few tricks you should know about.

Be Specific

Tell the agency exactly what you need, in detail. The agency cannot send you the perfect employee if you are too vague. Just asking for a secretary when you need a secretary with specific skillsets will end up being very frustrating for both you and the interviewee.

Start with the details that are actually necessary. For example, if you need someone skilled in video editing and would prefer that they have speaking skills, you would let the agency know that video editing is a must. Make a list of the must have skills and characteristics of the person you wish to hire and eliminate the ones that are simply preferences. You want the agency to focus on the most important areas, though you can certainly give your preferences, as well.

Most employment agencies are prepared with questions when you need someone, but it can help to have a list drawn up ahead of time so you can simply read off the skills you require.

Check References

The employment agency should be checking references, but these are sometimes overlooked when the agency is busy. You should take a moment to talk to the references listed on any resumes that you are interested in. This will also give you a feel for what the person is like as a worker.

Don’t just ask if they would recommend this person, ask about their strengths and weaknesses. Who better to let you know than someone who hired the person previously?

Research the Employment Agency

Before you even begin to work with an employment agency, you should take the time to check it out. Some do a very poor job of screening their workers, while others have a sterling reputation. There are a few ways to check up on an agency:

  • Check for reviews online
  • Talk to people who have used the agency
  • Talk to employees from the agency
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints

You should be able to get a better feel for the company by doing a bit of a background check. You will also need to check that you have the right agency for the job. Do you need temporary or permanent workers? While some agencies provide both, others will be more specific as to the length of hire, so make sure you specify.

When hiring through an employment agency, be aware that you will be paying a fee for their part in finding your new employee. You won’t have to pay until the final decision has been made, however, and if no one is suitable, no fee is covered in most cases. Check with the agency you plan to use to find out how much the fee is and when it is covered. If they want an up front fee, look elsewhere. It shouldn’t be necessary to pay until you have what you need, an employee.

Employment agencies can be a major blessing, considering the amount of work the agents can save you. Instead of spending hours and even days sorting through applicants and talking to people who end up being completely wrong for the job, you can request fairly specific talents and talk to people who are already screened. You shouldn’t depend entirely on the company’s screening process . . . it’s a good idea to do a quick reference check yourself, or even Google the person, but it certainly speeds things up. As a business owner, you have far better things to do than sort through possible candidates for the position in your company.

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