it staffing firmLast week we went over the first 10 items on the list of must-ask questions for finding the perfect IT staffing firm. The list can be seen here. Today we will review questions 11-20.

11. How do they screen their candidates?
IT staffing firms use a variety of methods to screen their candidates. Make sure they customize the screening to your needs. Some of the methods include: education verification, employment verification, drug testing, software testing, background checks, psychological evaluation, and in person interviews. Figure out what is needed for the positions you are looking to fill and let the staffing firm know ahead of time. 

12. What technologies do they use to track their workflow?
All staffing firms have a back-end technology that they use to track job requisitions, job candidates, submittals, fills, etc. Ask to see a demonstration of how it works. This will give you invaluable insight into the firm’s inner workings.

13. Do they have any quality certifications or awards?
Many established IT staffing firms have quality certifications or awards. Ask to see them and then look them up on the internet to learn about them.

14. Do they understand the staffing landscape (vms, labor markets, etc.)?
Staffing, like many other industries, has been greatly affected by the internet as well as a dynamic and ever changing economy. Make sure to ask each staffing firm their views on the staffing landscape and how they see the future unfolding. There isn’t one correct answer to this question, but it will help you understand the depth of a firm’s knowledge of the employment landscape.

15. Who are their clients?
Always ask for a list of clients. Productive staffing firms will take their best contractors that are coming off of assignments at one client and make them available to their other clients. These contractors are referenced and proven as valuable resources.

16. What is the average tenure of their client base?
It’s important for a staffing firm to have good clients, but it’s just as important for those clients to have a long tenure with the staffing firm.

17. Do they have a documented, repeatable workflow?
Most successful companies have a documented and repeatable workflow, and IT staffing firms are no exception. Any reputable firm will have a documented workflow starting from the time a job requirement is received, to candidate submittals, and through to the requirement being filled. They should also have procedures in place addressing the contractors and clients needs during the length of the assignment. This would include regular follow-up calls, employee reviews, etc.

18. Can they give you an idea on what to expect in the way of candidate flow before they start their search?
Quality IT staffing firms will be able to give you an idea of the candidate availability you can expect based on a quick perusal of your job descriptions. This is a sign that they know the market and have an in depth understanding of the availability of the skill sets required to fill your positions.

19. Do they offer any sort of guarantee?
Guarantees can be a sign that a firm stands behind their work. Make sure to ask if guarantees are offered.

20. Does their pricing seem fair?
Staffing is often viewed as a commodity, similar to purchasing a widget. But there are differences. For example, when a purchasing department is buying 100 pencils, pencil #1 is exactly the same as pencil #100. However, this isn’t true with workers. There is often a huge variation between candidate #1 and candidate #10. As a result, bill rates can vary widely for each candidate. A qualified agency will work with you to screen candidates based on skills and experience in order to come to a fair market rate. Still, one can expect variances in rate from candidate to candidate.


And there you have it. The 20 must-ask questions for finding the perfect IT staffing firm. As with must business relationships, it’s best to invest a little extra time up front to avoid complications down the road.

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