Selecting The Best Staffing Agency: What You Need To Know

Finding top talent to fill your critical healthcare positions can feel daunting, especially in a crowded market. So, what can you do to help ease the burden on your already-spread-thin Human Resources teams?  
Partnering with a staffing agency is a logical option to consider. The goal of staffing agencies is to help organizations achieve stability. 
A stellar staffing agency can identify the best candidates for your needs and eliminate candidates who aren’t suitable. The agency will serve as your dedicated partner throughout the hiring process, and help save your company time and money during a period of transition or uncertainty.  
Since hundreds of staffing firms exist across the nation at any given time, and new ones are born every week, it’s important to do your research before committing. There are several factors to consider when searching for a staffing firm to best fit your company’s staffing needs: 
Do Your Homework  
When you begin your search, start with the basics. 

  • Check the website.  A reputable company will have an up-to-date, formal web presence that includes detailed information about services offered. Look for names and photos of the leadership team, and find them on LinkedIn to ensure credibility. 
  • Find out which industries they serve, and what additional services are offered. Working with a firm dedicated to the healthcare space can make the entire process easier as they will understand your organization's pain points and have a strong network of candidates ready to go. To secure top talent, you need a staffing firm that has an excellent understanding of all aspects of healthcare.  
  • Staffing firms can offer services beyond interim and permanent staffing solutions. For example, LeaderStat offers consulting support, including clinical consulting, operational and financial assessments, quality improvement services and census development.
  • Read reviews. A reputable staffing firm will have public reviews across a variety of platforms. Be sure to check for reviews on Google, Glassdoor, Indeed and Facebook. You might also find quotes or testimonials available on the agency’s website. As a rule of thumb, check the Better Business Bureau rating to ensure a company is legitimate. 

Types of Staffing Agencies 
Not all staffing firms are created equally. Some are focused solely on one industry, like healthcare, while others serve as a catch-all. And, some offer per diem services while others focus on longer contracts. And this is a distinct variation when it comes to considering compliance, employee benefits, insurance, and taxes.

  • Per Diem Staffing - The term “per diem” is derived from “per day” in Latin, and literally meaning “daily." Per diem staffing agencies allow employees to work on an as-needed basis by signing up for shifts. These types of agencies often fill clinical staffing gaps for Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Per diem staffing agencies often have a tech-enabled platform.
  • Travel Nursing/Supplemental Staffing - Supplemental staffing plays a large role in ensuring that hospitals and other healthcare providers remain adequately staffed. There are four categories of supplemental healthcare staffing: PRN, Seasonal, Travel Contracts, and Local Contracts. 
    • Typically, travel nursing contracts are longer contracts (several weeks) and may have a travel stipend or a reimbursement program to cover expenses like lodging, transportation and meals.  
    • Supplemental staffing agencies have the following in their candidate pools: RNs, LPNs, CNAs, Licensed Nursing Home Administrators (LNHA), Directors of Nursing (DONs), Assistant Directors of Nursing (ADONs), Unit Managers and RN Supervisors.

Types of Employees 
Understanding employee types is key to filling skills gaps and gaining access to the right talent.. 

  • 1099 employees 
    • Self-employed, independent contractors that pay their own payroll taxes and do not typically have worker's compensation, unemployment coverage or liability insurance.  
    • Potential risks: Joint employer, liability issues, direction and control issues.  ​
  • W2 employees 
    • W2 employees receive a regular wage and employee benefits, worker's compensation, and unemployment. The employer withholds income taxes from the employee’s paycheck and has a significant degree of control over the employee’s work and supervision.
    • Benefits: provides more continuity for the facility, stronger and more long-term commitment, candidates are full vetted, trained and onboarded by staffing firm, covered by workers comp and other liability insurance. 

Choosing A Top Staffing Firm 
If you’ve narrowed your search down to one or two, these final points may help sway your decision: 

  • Longevity – if a company has only been around for a few months, it’s probably a sign that you should avoid it. A proven track record of success is a significant measure of staffing agencies. Scour the website and look at the job board. Are there more than a few job postings? Do they share testimonials provide valuable resources? Have they won any awards or have accolades to share? A
  • Accreditation – make sure that the staffing firm is accredited by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission offers an in-depth evaluation of a staffing agency’s ability to provide qualified, competent staffing services. If a firm receives a passing score from the evaluation, it becomes Joint Commission Certified. 

Critical Questions To Ask 

  • What does credentialing look like? Make sure specific credential requirements are outlined in detail. Credentialing items to consider include a two-step TB test, physical, background check, and drug screen. The contract should also identify who is responsible for all compliance and credentialing.
  • Can you explain the candidate vetting process?

  • Are facility-required onboarding credentials included in your contracts?  
  • Will there be 24/7 support, meaning access to a live person? 
  • Who is the sole point of contact to address any issues during the process?  

Choosing the right staffing agency can be simplified with proper investigation. Doing some legwork upfront will pay off, and often result in a long-lasting partnership.

LeaderStat’s goal has been, and will always be, to be a trusted partner  to organizations within the long-term care and healthcare industries, by presenting our clients with the best candidates for every open position. We are passionately committed to ensuring that facilities across the country have exceptional, experienced personnel at any given time.
Contact Us To Learn More

Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.