Excerpted from HR Technologist By Marco Piovesan

Unemployment claims have fallen to their lowest level in fifty years. This has been driven in part by the recent boom in the technology and gig industries. Finding work is faster and easier than ever before; finding qualified employees, however, is a different matter.

Recruiting and hiring skilled talent takes time—about 23 days on average. But the length of the hiring process can vary wildly depending on your industry, location, and the position itself. It takes almost 52 days, for example, to hire a program analyst. Talent is so scarce that recruitment marketing has flourished, enabling HR managers to find, attract, and nurture talent before they even step into the office for an interview. Finding qualified candidates is practically a full-time job on its own.
Is it any wonder, then, that more and more businesses are turning to staffing firms to find talent for them?

1. Staffing Agencies Bridge the Gap Between Companies and Candidates

Staffing agencies are thriving due to high demand for candidates in all fields. Monster reports that, overall, revenue in staffing rose 4%. Low unemployment plays a huge role in this. Most businesses don’t have the time, energy, or resources to hunt for talent on their own. Staffers are experts in finding, recruiting, and screening talent for their clients; it makes sense, therefore, that more companies would turn to them to source candidates.

Hiring a staffing firm to find and recruit talent comes with a host of benefits. Staffing firms have the necessary resources and relationships to cast a wider net, and some niche staffing companies specialize in a talent – such as programmers, creatives, or engineers – and always keep their finger on that sector’s pulse. When a client needs a graphic designer or a software engineer, they can quickly tap potential candidates. Others simply rely on their vast networks and industry knowledge to source whatever talent their clients need.

2. Staffing Agencies Streamline the Candidate Experience

In addition to mitigating the frustrations that come with attracting, finding, and hiring new talent, staffing agencies also prioritize the candidate experience. With unemployment low, employees have options. As a result, businesses and staffing firms alike are refocusing their policies to create a positive candidate experience. To some, this means keeping applicants updated, wishing them a happy birthday, or always making time for a phone call. Other agencies try to go a step beyond this and ensure that every part of the hiring process is as painless as possible—including background screening.

3. Staffing Agencies Manage the Initial Background Check

Background checks are an integral part of the hiring process, one that staffers often handle for their clients (at least initially). Staffing firms offer their clients an incredible benefit: they screen and vet candidates on your behalf, saving HR managers time and allowing them to focus on the day-to-day of human resources.

What’s most important is that staffing companies realize that screening and vetting applicants takes time, and they know how valuable a candidate’s time is. If there are delays or errors in reporting, applicants will become frustrated and might move forward with another offer. To further ensure a positive candidate experience—and ultimately the happiness of their clients—staffing firms must partner with a trusted, NAPBS-accredited screening company to create a streamlined background check process and, in turn, a more positive candidate experience. The right staffing company will partner with the right screening company – one that keeps turnaround times low and accuracy rates high.

A thorough background check runs deeper than just checking for criminal history, however. 75% of hiring managers have caught a lie on a resume. Therefore, in order to ensure that they’re providing their clients with qualified talent, reputable staffing firms will work with an accredited background screening provider to conduct an employment and education verification on their behalf. Verifications ensure that candidates possess the qualifications, experience, and degrees that they list on their resumes.

Some firms go a step further by conducting tailored reference checks to learn about a candidate’s personality, reliability, strengths, and attitude. These provide valuable insight into an applicant and can help determine where they would fit best.

While there has been some hand-wringing over the future of the economy, unemployment seems to be holding steady at its current low rate. That means for businesses to acquire the skilled talent they desire; they’re going to need to turn to the hiring experts.