Staffing Is Not A Sleazy Business And I Am Not A Parasite

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Staffing is not a sleazy business, I am not a parasite, I do want to help people find work and if I ask a candidate what they made at their last assignment it’s not so I can lowball them on their next one. I am sick of being a punching bag for everyone who is having a tough time getting hired.”

So begins an email I recently received from the manager of a staffing firm in California.

When I went to California this past summer on other business, I reached out to some staffing pros to interview for a potential Staffing Talk post. This person declined, but we stayed in touch. She says she regularly reads my posts, offers a comment or criticism every now and again, and sent the email I will share more of.

My email-writing friend didn’t provide much of a backdrop for what would prove to be a vent-slash-rant. I’m not sure whether this was just one person who had accused her of various things, and it was the proverbial last straw, or whether it was a response to an aggregation of things she constantly hears. At any rate, I got her permission to share her thoughts, anonymously of course.

I do not get paid for registering people. I do not get paid for collecting resumes. I do not make money off everyone we have listed as ‘active.’ I get paid when I match up a candidate with a client and they bill hours. Period.

I get paid when I match up a candidate with a client and they bill hours. Period.

Here is a simple answer as to why someone in my position wants to know what someone was making in their last few positions; we want to know what you expect to make! I am not going to waste my time trying to fill a job with someone whose basement number is $4/hour above that. That doesn’t make sense. And staffing companies are no different in that regard. Most ATS forms for permanent positions ask somewhere for either what your current salary is, or what your salary expectations are, or both. Is it odd for a hiring manager to ask you your recent salary numbers? Of course not.

Also, for everyone accusing us of billing the client $25 and paying workers half of that, that is absurd. At best for a temp or temp-to-hire position there is an 80% markup. So if you’re being paid $15, the highest you will typically see is a $27 bill rate to the client, for a difference of $12. Out of that $12 difference comes our taxes as your employer, our expenses and overhead, and our profit. Yes, it might surprise some, but we are not a non-profit entity. 

Also, no staffing firm I am aware of gets paid for bringing in candidates. We also don’t get paid to interview you, present your resume to employers, spend hours searching for candidates on behalf of our clients, etc. 

I return calls, return e-mails and treat candidates with as much respect as I do clients.

As for how I treat candidates, I return calls, return e-mails and treat candidates with as much respect as I do clients. Are there some in this business who don’t do those things? Of course. Just as there are bad people in every other business or industry. In my experience though, those people don’t last long in the staffing business.

Every one of us in my office works a minimum of 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and we are not hourly employees. Do I do it for the money? Absolutely, but 99 days out of a 100, I am truly proud of what I do. What we do.

If I am unable to find work for you, it won’t likely be from a lack of effort. But please don’t get mad at me, particularly if you make me your only resource for finding a job, something I advise against over and over. 

Are we perfect? No. Are we human, and sometimes prone to making mistakes? Yes. Do we sometimes get overwhelmed by the pressures of the job and forget to call you back, even though we promised we would? Yes again. Do we on occasion feel under attack from every front; client, candidates, colleagues and co-workers? Yep. 

However, we do perform an important function and have a vital role and place in our nation’s economy. A little recognition – and appreciation – along with a smile or a thank you wouldn’t hurt too much now, would it?”