As Richard Branson once said “Success in business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage.” If you are trying to find the lowest cost provider for your staffing needs, please be prepared for the results you receive.

Cars are a commodity

I like to explain it this way. There are a significant number of options when it comes to the type of automobile you can purchase. Generally, you look at how you use the vehicle and the value you place on it when making buying decisions. I have yet to hear a person claim they made a mistake when they bought the RAM full-size truck instead of the Ferrari. The two are not comparable. Yet in staffing, hiring managers often look at us as a one size fits all commodity. The focus is generally more on price than it is on roles we are great at filling.

Clearly Rated – Third-Party Validation – NPS Scores

Recently ClearlyRated (previously Inavero) released the Net Promoter Score (NPS) data for 2018 as it relates to the staffing industry. While the staffing industry as a whole is improving from recent lows, it still only stands with an NPS score of 11% for clients. Clearly, staffing as an industry has plenty of room to improve when an NPS score of 70% is considered world class.

However, as long as employers continue to view staffing firms as a one size fits all commodity, I am not convinced the industry will tremendously improve. Instead, we are in a race to the bottom on price. Who can give me top tier candidates at basement level prices is the question employers want answered.  While I don’t mind a low-cost mentality for some of the things I may purchase, I do question it when it comes to the employees needed to grow, strengthen, and scale businesses.

So how can you differentiate among staffing firms?

  • Ask your current employees who they have used and what agency(s) they trust? If you have specific firms in mind, ask them if they are familiar with them. What were their experiences with those firms? Interview and research the new staffing firms to see what positions they fill most regularly.
  • Compare firms at Clearlyrated, the only firm in the nation that uses third-party validated survey answers to generate NPS scores. Search their database and see what users on both sides of the equation, clients and talent, are saying about their experience with the firm you are searching.
  • Even more organically, look at Google and Yelp in your area. What type of reputation does your staffing firm have? What are employers and employees saying about the firms you are currently using or the prospects you are looking at?  We look at reviews when we go to Google or Amazon, why are we not doing the same for staffing?
  • Look at the staffing firms you have met with lately. Are they just trying to sell you on price, or did they work with you on what you value most?

No matter how much hiring managers want to think staffing agencies are all the same, we just aren’t. Each firm has its own interests, strengths, and weaknesses. The more you treat your staffing firm, and by extension your employees, like a commodity the more likely it is that you aren’t going to get the top tier candidates nor the top tier service you need. We want to help you with that! Reach out to us if you want to learn more. If you like what you read, come back to for more.


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