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So you’ve decided to enlist the services of a staffing agency. It’s a choice many employers make, but the process of finding and choosing a firm can seem overwhelming.

While your first instinct in the search for a staffing agency might be to turn to the Web, try seeking recommendations. Talk with colleagues and vendors – even competitors – to see if they’ve had good experiences with a particular agency, and follow that up with some online research.

Once you’ve found an agency that seems like it might be a good fit, an in-person meeting is a must. Ask the five questions below in order to find out what sets the staffing agency apart, and how well your company cultures mesh.

1. What are your specialties?
Many staffing agencies offer a broad array of services, but others specialize in a certain industry or job type, such as healthcare staffing or administrative positions. Ask an agency about their specialties, and how much experience they have recruiting for the positions you need.

2. What is your recruiting process?
You might be thinking, “I can post an ad on craigslist and interview candidates, so why should I pay a staffing firm to do the same?” The fact is, staffing firms’ recruitment methods go much deeper than online advertising; many recruiters have access to a large pool of candidates and years of experience recruiting. Discuss the staffing agency’s recruiting practices in-depth; you may even ask to meet the individual who would be recruiting for your positions. Also, don’t take it lightly that an immense amount of time goes into recruiting, screening, and selecting job candidates.

3. How do you screen employees?
Staffing companies generally conduct background checks and drug screens on all temporary associates, and ensure that they are eligible to work. Ask a firm for more detail about these and other measures they take to vet employees, including skills testing, and how they might be customizable to the specific needs of your company.

4. What are your safety procedures?
Workplace safety should be a priority for every employer, and in the case of temporary staffing, should be seen as a partnership between an employer and a staffing agency. Inquire about specific safety procedures the staffing company follows, such as training for temporary employees.

5. What is your markup?
Price is certainly an important factor in choosing a staffing agency, but it shouldn’t be your only criterion. Explore how the staffing agency arrives at its staffing markup, and what services are included. If an agency charges more than their competitors, ask why the extra cost is justified and what additional value they bring to the table.

While all of the questions above should be answered in a first meeting with a staffing agency, also consider how interested the agency is in listening to the challenges you face. A staffing agency should try to learn as much as they can about your business, and provide staffing that saves you time and helps your bottom line.