How to Reduce Your Reliance on Staffing Agencies

Because a reactive recruitment strategy is expensive and ineffective in the long run

Written by Bailey Reiners
Published on Nov. 12, 2019
How to Reduce Your Reliance on Staffing Agencies

With many companies facing high-priority hiring needs, it's no wonder the vast majority of them have utilized staffing firms as a resource for recruitingAnd while staffing agencies have their place, it’s a reactive recruitment tactic that is not sustainable for the majority of your long-term hiring needs. 

Instead, you need to build a proactive recruitment strategy, whereby your team constantly attracts candidates and builds out a solid talent pipeline. This ensures that you always have interested and qualified candidates in your network when roles open up.

There are a number of recruitment strategies your team can adopt to reduce your reliance on staffing agencies. Let's delve a little deeper into what those strategies are and how your team can implement them to save time, money and attract higher-quality candidates for years to come.


Mine Existing Resources for Qualified Candidates

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While staffing agencies may have a robust network of candidates, they won’t always have direct insight into who exactly you’re looking for.

Lucky for you, a network of ideal candidates are already at your disposal within your applicant tracking system (ATS). Mining your ATS is a quick and effective way to identify potential candidates who have already shown interest in your company by previously applying to a job. Perhaps you’ve even interviewed a few of the candidates and you can bypass the early stages of the recruitment process for these select few. 

If you struggle to find qualified candidates in your ATS, tap into your talent community. Don’t have one? Put in the work to build one. 

A talent community consists of people who are ideal candidates for your company, but were unable to join your team due to prior circumstances. As time passes, however, circumstances change making these prospective candidates a potential fit for a future open role. It’s a proactive way to always have a group of candidates at the ready when a role opens up.  

Leveraging these tactics puts your company a step ahead in filling the open position and reduces the potential of needing to pay a staffing agency fee to fill it.



Invest in Recruitment Marketing to Drive More Inbound Candidates

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Believe it or not, 95% of candidates view a company’s reputation as a deciding factor when applying for a job. And if a company has a poor employer brand, 69% of candidates will reject an offer from the company even if the candidate is unemployed. No matter where a candidate is sourced — staffing agency, job board, social network, etc. — they are going to research your company online. 

When candidates gain insight into the day-to-day life at your company, they are more likely to picture themselves working there. A solid recruitment marketing strategy will tell these stories and help candidates get the information they need to want to work for your company.  

Still not convinced you need to invest in recruitment marketing? An astounding 73% of millennials found their last job on social media. Even more compelling, 80% of both active and passive candidates look for jobs on social platforms. And social media is just one component of a solid recruitment marketing strategy

Eliminating the cost of staffing agency fees, allows you to invest these funds into a recruitment marketing strategy that attracts not only the candidates an agency would have provided you, but a pipeline of new candidates as well.


Network, Network, Network

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Hiring elite talent is always going to be competitive, no matter what the job market looks like. Top candidates regularly receive interest from staffing agencies, recruiters and hiring managers — each of which have slightly different hiring goals and information to share.

Cutting out the middle person — a staffing agency — and speaking directly with candidates from the beginning reduces friction and establishes a better connection with your company and the candidates.  

Even when reaching out directly, your messages will likely get lost in the noise, after all they are a highly sought-after candidate. Get ahead of this challenge by networking with potential candidates frequently. Host virtual (or in-person, when possible) hiring events, set up quick career conversations or compliment them on a recent milestone or project in their current role. These tactics will help you catch the interest of more candidates and stand out from the competition.


Consider Internal Promotions

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The single most important resource you have at your disposal is current employees. No one knows your company culture, products or goals more than those who are already working in your organization. That’s why it’s critical to know when to promote from within.

Your employees work hard and want to grow in their careers within the company. Identifying the employees who would be a fit for your open positions is a sure-fire way to remove the need for a staffing agency, and save time and money. Promoting from within will also build further trust and loyalty among current employees which in turn boosts employee retention.


Tap Into an Employee Referral Program

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Employees knowing the ins and outs of your company culture, products and goals means they are well-positioned to refer optimal candidates from their networks. 

Tap into your employee referral program to incentivize employees for hiring recommendations. This tactic not only helps you fill positions more quickly, but studies show it’s a better investment long-term. Employees referred by a colleague are 33% more likely to stay after one year compared to employees hired from career sites and 22% more likely than people hired from job boards. 

If you are struggling with a hard-to-fill role or need a candidate quickly, try upping the referral bonus for those open positions. This will encourage employees to seek out candidates for the roles you need to fill the most, rather than the ones you have no trouble filling. Also, remind employees about the program often and promote any increases in referral bonuses to consistently get new candidates when you need them. 

Referrals are one of the best sources for potential candidates, so it’s well worth pulling back on staffing agencies and investing that budget in more enticing employee referral bonuses.


While staffing agencies may solve your short-term problems, you don’t want to fall into the habit of using them to fill every role. Now, don’t get us wrong, there will be times when you desperately need to fill a role or are struggling to fill a position and you’ll need to utilize a staffing agency. However, for the vast majority of your hiring needs, it’s much more worthwhile to build out a long-term and proactive recruitment strategy that your team will benefit from well into the future. In the case of recruiting and retaining top talent, slow and steady almost always wins the race.


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