Recruiting Agencies vs. Staffing Firms: What Is the Difference?

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According to some research, about 40% of companies have outsourced their recruiting to an external agency.  There are two main types of agencies: staffing and recruiting.

But what is the difference between the two? If you’re thinking about outsourcing your recruiting process, you’ll need to understand them to make the best decision for your business.

Keep reading for more information to help you choose an agency.

What Is a Staffing Agency?

A staffing agency primarily focuses on placing temporary workers in a temp job. They will find workers to put in your company that will work for a limited time and only do a certain amount of work. However, the hiring needs for temporary employees are growing, so many businesses are looking for these employees. 

This is due to having a changing job market and more competition for top talent. But there are many other reasons that a business might want to hire a staffing agency. 

They might want a temporary worker to cover a current employee’s leave of absence or a sudden departure until they find a replacement. 

Or, they may be dealing with a seasonal increase or a sudden change in the market. Some employers will hire temporary employees to see if they will be a good fit in the long-term before they offer a full-time position. 

In that case, hiring a staffing agency makes more sense. 

What Is a Recruiting Agency?

On the other hand, a recruitment agency will find their clients long-term employees. Their approach is more strategic, and they will analyze your business and the new job opening and make sure that they find a job seeker who would be successful in the long run. Recruiting agencies typically build a good relationship with the company that they’re hiring for as well. 

Many companies will hire a recruiting agency to find top-quality employees to grow their business. They might also use them if they don’t have an internal recruiting team or have limited resources. However, some companies have an in-house recruiter and still need extra help if they’re hiring in a rapid-growth phase. 

Companies may also find a recruiting agency that specializes in specific job roles. When you hire one of these agencies, you can expand your talent pool and find job candidates that you usually wouldn’t have access to. 

If you need a temporary or contract employee, recruiting agencies might still be able to find you an employee. However, most of them are focused on finding you permanent employees that will help your business grow in the long term. 

These recruiting agencies can be hired on a contract basis when you need to scale your hiring efforts.’s recruiters on demand can be hired on a monthly basis to augment your internal recruiting team or to take over your entire recruiting process for you.

Main Differences

Now that we have covered two main differences between staffing and recruiting agencies, you may have already decided which one is best for your business.

But if you haven’t, we have a few more key differences that you should consider before deciding. 

Interview Process

If you hire a recruiting agency, they will help you go through all candidates to find the right one for your business. They will be in charge of conducting the interview process, even doing multiple rounds of interviews. Through this, they will narrow it down to a few top candidates. 

If a candidate makes it through multiple rounds, they’ll then interview with the company. That way, companies and hiring managers will only decide between top candidates.

However, staffing firms are more focused on whether or not a candidate has the skills to complete a specific task. Since the candidate will only be working with the company for a short period, the staffing agency is focused on the skills. 

They may even send skill assessments to find candidates who have those specific skills. They likely won’t send an employee to the company to interview the candidate. 

If the company doesn’t like the candidate a staffing agency chose, they’ll send a replacement. 


The agencies also use different techniques or strategies to find the right employee.

A recruitment agency will market job descriptions on the right job boards and social media sites. For example, if you’re looking for a C-suite director, they will post the description on an area that is specific to directors. 

However, staffing workers don’t use sourcing strategies. Instead, they’ll have a pool of temporary workers that they can draw on. They’ll do a quick interview and then match the candidate’s skills with the job description.

If the next job opening requires particular skills, they might do some advertising for someone who has those skills. They may accept walk-in applicants for those specific skills. 

Candidate Selection

These agencies will select candidates differently. Usually, staffing companies find a candidate quickly to fill open roles urgently. They’re not as concerned about finding the right fit for the open position; they’re worried about finding a suitable person right away. 

However, recruiting agencies will take more time to look at the qualifications of the candidates. They will take more time in the interview and selection process because they want to find someone who will stay and grow. 

They should do assessments and ask specific questions about the candidate’s experience. 

Which One Should You Choose?

First, you’ll need to figure out the top priority when looking for work. Is it quality or speed?

If you need someone immediately to fill a role, then you should think about finding a staffing agency to work with. If you don’t care about having someone permanent in the position right away, a staffing agency will be able to find someone who can fill that vacancy. 

But if you’re looking for a long-term employee, work with a recruiting agency. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that recruiters can specialize in different areas and find different long-term placements. 

They will also choose candidates based on their experience, and you’ll have quality placements. That way, you know that you will have top talent recommended to you. 

You should also work with a recruiting agency if you’re trying to fill full-time positions that are specialized. These recruiters will know where to search for top talent and find someone who can fit your ideal candidate profile.

Hire a Recruiting Agency Today

If you’ve decided that you want to hire a recruiting agency, you’ll need to start researching to find one that fits all of your business’s needs. So check out

We have recruiters on demand to help you find top talent during your hiring process. We also have an AI talent sourcing tool to help you find the best candidates for the job.

But that’s not all. Contact us today to figure out what recruiting solution works for your business.


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By Alyssa Harmon