In today’s tough-to-find-new-hires economy, many companies are considering turning to staffing companies. Since it’s a first-time experience, it feels daunting.

Consider the meeting a first interview. If you know the right questions to ask, it’s easy to find a business partner that is more than a vendor checking boxes. Share your goals, ask questions and really listen to answers to find a team to support your staffing goals. Answers to key questions should paint a picture about how a company communicates, fills jobs and approaches the business partnership.

Here are suggestions for questions to ask.

What’s your communication process? This should be one of the first questions you ask because it will determine how a company interacts with you and any workers they send on assignment. You should learn who your dedicated company representative will be, what hours they work, how often they’ll be communicating with you about orders or other requests, and any other questions that paint a picture of the most important aspect of your relationship. Consider evaluating your own communication methods to ensure that the staffing partner receives orders in a timely manner and clearly understands your needs.

What’s your typical timeline to fill jobs? Will you often need workers last minute to fill gaps? If so, the ability to quickly accommodate requests is key in choosing a partner, so make sure you get that point across early.

What’s your capacity to accommodate my needs? Despite what you may think, the correct answer to this question isn’t “We can meet all your needs.” The staffing company you’re vetting should have questions about position, quantity, timeline, etc. before they can answer truthfully — which leads us to our next question.

Can I expect transparency? In the staffing industry, providing honesty and transparency to clients and workers is of utmost importance. Because staffing companies are providing people, it’s unlikely that every single request will be filled without a hitch, and your staffing partner should be upfront about that. Providing transparency surrounding your requests — especially whether they can be fulfilled or not — is necessary for a successful partnership.

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What kinds of jobs do you staff? Different staffing companies have different specialties and geographic reach. Ask the company you work with for their background or review their website. You might be surprised by the depth and breadth of services provided. While LGC started by partnering with hospitality companies, including restaurants and hoteliers, we’ve expanded to support staffing full-time management positions and support warehousing/distribution gig workers.

How do you find candidates for open jobs? In a traditional staffing model, internal employees are responsible for manually assigning workers to shifts. This means that workers will either call in to see what’s available, or employees will have to contact individual workers to see if they’re free for the shift. With the advent of technology and apps, some companies leverage staffing technology. We use a tool that automatically sends shift notifications to our gig workforce where they can then claim their own shifts based on eligibility. This means that shifts can fill in minutes or even hours.

What is your candidate vetting process? Before you ask this question, first consider if you have any requirements for screening and interviewing candidates. For example, do temporary workers need to have a specific background check or drug screening to work at your location? Are you looking for any certifications or special technical skills? Once you have the answers to those questions, you can see if their vetting process matches your own. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’re willing to accommodate your specific screening criteria.

What’s the billing structure? When you receive your invoice, there should be nothing that surprises you. Ask about things like overtime or time-and-a-half regardless if you think it will come into play during your relationship. It’s always good to err on the side of caution to ensure full transparency.

The right staffing partner should be just as invested in the success of you and the workers as they are with themselves. By finding someone who provides open communication and transparency and can address your needs, you’ll tap into a talented group of workers and take some of the pressure to hire off you and your team.

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