How do you know when it’s time to change staffing vendors?


Staffing vendors are important partners for many state and local government institutions. For many positions, these agencies rely on staffing vendors to save time and resources. Once a government agency has formed a partnership with one, they tend to stick with them for a long time. However, an government institution’s needs may change, or a vendor may become less effective, causing leadership to re-examine their partnerships staffing vendors from time to time. But when does this need to be done? And how does a government body evaluate the effectiveness of their staffing vendor to determine if a new one is needed?

What your staffing vendor should be providing you

There are a few things that you want to get out of your staffing vendor. By knowing what you should expect, you can more easily tell if your vendor is not living up to expectations.

First, staffing vendors should provide expertise. As experts in sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates, they should know the best methods for bringing in candidates, evaluating them, and placing them. But not only should they have expertise in hiring individuals, but they should have an expertise in the area you are looking for as well. For instance, if your department needs to hire for IT or marketing positions, you want a staffing vendor that has expertise in these areas. A vendor that is not familiar with the positions they are filling will not know the best candidates for the job.

The second thing a staffing vendor should be providing you is a solid recruitment process. You want a vendor who can walk you through how they find and place candidates, and who can explain why each step is necessary, and how it works. Find out things like if they give their candidates skill assessments, what sort of background checks they conduct, and where they typically look for candidates. If a vendor cannot answer these questions – or if you don’t like the answers – it may be time to look elsewhere.

Third, you want an staffing agency that is quicker than you; if it might typically take you 30 days to find a candidate, you want an agency that can do it in 20 days – or less. You’re choosing to go with a staffing vendor because it is easier and faster, so make sure the vendor you choose can do the job quicker than you can.

Finally, at the end of the day, you want a staffing firm that provides you with quality candidates. You may not care as much about how they get them, as long as they are passing them on to you. If the candidates you are receiving are not a fit for the job description, or if they end up not working out shortly after being hired, this is a sign that your staffing vendor is not doing its job.

Why you need to evaluate our vendor

When you partner with a staffing vendor, your goal is to remove some of the workload off of your own shoulders. Rather than spending your time searching through a mountain of candidate applications, and trying to find the best fit, you’re allowing someone else to handle this for you. However, letting someone else find potential employees for you only makes fiscal sense if they are sending over good candidates, saving you time and money.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, the vendor you are working with no longer provides these things. As a result, it takes longer for your government agency to fill its open positions, or you end up having a higher turnover rate. This causes your agency to waste money, be less efficient, and ultimately high turnover eliminates any advantage of working with a staffing vendor.

When to conduct a staffing vendor evaluation

There are two main instances when you want to consider the relationship with your current staffing vendor. First, if you notice a pattern of employees not working out – or even just a single employee – it’s a good idea to get to the root of the problem. Was the candidate placed in a position above their abilities? Was this because the job description was not accurate, or because of a faulty hiring process? If you determine that an employee didn’t work out because of a problem in the hiring process, that’s the time to talk with your staffing vendor and see if the problem can be avoided going forward. When the problem continues to repeat itself, that’s when it’s time to find a new vendor.

For government agencies that want to avoid the above problem, you can try to do so with periodic evaluations. For instance, at the end of each quarter, examine the types of candidates your vendor sent you, and whether or not they worked out. Determine if you could be receiving more qualified candidates, and if you are still getting your money’s worth by working with this agency. Just because your relationship with a vendor started out great, doesn’t mean that their quality couldn’t have slipped. Performing routine checks on the effectiveness of their services will allow you to catch any issues before they cause bigger problems.

Changing staffing vendors

If, after your evaluation, you discover that your staffing vendor is no longer providing an adequate service, then it’s time to move on to another vendor. Having worked with a vendor before, you are now better equipped to find one that will fit your needs. It’s also important to keep in mind the things you should expect from a vendor – speed, expertise, a solid recruitment process, and quality candidates. Take time to consider what went wrong with your previous vendor, and ensure to bring these issues up when talking to new vendors.

The point of working with a staffing vendor is to make life easier for those people working in your agency. When your current vendor no longer does this, it is probably time to move on. By taking the time to study why an a new employee didn’t work out, scheduling in routine examinations of your staffing vendors performance, and knowing what you should be expecting from a staffing vendor, you should be able to tell when it’s time to change vendors.

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