JACKSON – There is one thing staffing agencies all have in common: competitiveness.
So it should come as no surprise that they all work hard to provide good services to their customers. But by no means are all staffing companies alike. Jane Sanders, attorney and co-owner of the Jackson-based LegalResources, a legal niche staffing company, and co-owner of Way2Smart Inc., an Internet company providing online training for professional office support staff, has carved a niche with her partner in the staffing agency industry.
“Our niche is legal and we understand that better than the generic staffing agencies,” Sanders explained. “We have a good understanding of the kind of personalities and skill levels they (attorneys) need.”
Sanders said matching a client with a temporary employee demands a good understanding of the work culture of the client, as well as the personalities of the people who work at the particular business.
“It’s definitely a relationship sale,” she said. “You have to have a lot of clarity and clear communications regarding skill levels.”
One of the many things staffing agencies can do for a client is save time by checking references. They can also go further by doing criminal background checks — a requirement of some companies.
more popular with companies
Another service some staffing agencies provide is temp-to-hire, which has become more popular over the last couple of years.
“Ten years ago a temp and a personnel agency were two different agencies altogether,” Sanders said. “Now they (staffing agencies) may provide permanent or temporary replacements.”
Sanders likens the temp-to-hire process to dating, and explained that by using this process both the company and the temporary employee could be sure they were a good fit for one another.
Staffing agencies may also provide training for temporary employees.
TempStaff Inc. in Jackson offers tutorials to all of their temporary employees.
“We have anything they would like to train on,” said Melinda West, TempStaff operations manager. “They can come in and work on a tutorial for an hour or however long they want to. They’re not limited.”
In addition to training, TempStaff also offers drug screening, criminal background checks, testing and interviewing. And, like LegalResources, TempStaff offers temp-to-hire.
LegalResources also offers training. “We do that pretty often for a law firm in particular,” Sanders said.
Sanders said one of the things her clients especially appreciate is the interview process, which candidates must complete at LegalResources before being sent to a client’s workplace.
“They pass through three of us before they ever get to an interview at a firm,” Sanders said.
A staffing agency can provide many of the functions a human resource department in many offices provides by finding temporary employees who match the needs of their clients.
Staffing agency-business relationship
the key to finding good temps
As good as staffing agencies are, though, they don’t always bat a thousand.
“But that goes back to what kind of working relationship the staffing company has with their business,” Sanders said.
Hugh Gillon, a partner with Upshaw, Williams, Biggers, Beckham & Riddick in Ridgeland, has used temporary employees from staffing agencies many times in the past.
“We’ve had some temps who’ve come in just to temp,” he said. “Most are looking for permanent jobs. That makes them try extra hard while they’re here.”
Gillon goes by one basic rule of thumb when going through the temp-to-hire process: “If they don’t bust their butt to work for you, you know you don’t want them full-time.”
Because of the inherent nature of the staffing business, Gillon said he was not sure much else could be done to ensure good temps.
“Generally I find the only way I find out (about a temporary employee) is to call references. I can get the straight answers whereas the (staffing agency) can’t. You almost have to do that because the temp company isn’t going to have the straight scoop on that person.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.