Knowing how to choose the right staffing firm—or recruitment agency—for your needs is very important for companies and nonprofits. A bad choice can end up wasting a lot of your time, money, and other resources.

So how do you go about making the right choice? Here are four steps you can use.

Step 1 – Identify the type of job you’re looking to fill

First you need to nail down the specifics on the job you’re looking to fill. Is it temporary or permanent? Is it full time or part time? What hard and soft skills are you looking for? What experience does the right fit need to have? What will the pay be?

Deciding these and other factors early on in the process will help you narrow down which agency will be the best fit.

Step 2 – Decide the size of an agency you want

As you might imagine, there are pros and cons to working with a small staffing agency versus a large staffing agency. While we’re a little biased toward smaller agencies, let’s look at each.

Large staffing agencies

At a large staffing agency, they theoretically have access to a large pool of prospective employees. However, they also have so many clients that often they can’t recruit the best fits simply because they already placed them in another company.

Large staffing agency do have numerous recruiters working for them. So if you find you don’t like working with one recruiter, it may be possible to switch to another. However, it’s sometimes a numbers game, with each recruiter working on filling numerous roles at once.

Small staffing agencies

At a smaller staffing agency, they have more bandwidth on a per-client basis. They’re often more concerned with a really good fit for the person and the company than they are with just filling people in slots.

Since smaller agencies generally have far fewer clients than larger ones, they’re able to build stronger relationships with you and get to know you on a personal basis. That generally gives them a better feel for who will and won’t be a good fit for your organization.

Step 3 – Look for an agency that specializes in what you do

Next, depending on the specifics of the type of job you’re looking to fill, you may want to seek out an agency that specializes in that role or in your industry. Most agencies are willing to help fill a variety of roles, but where do they really excel?

For example, here are the industries we specialize in:

If that’s important to you, research the staffing agencies in your area and make a short list of the ones that are a match.

Step 4 – Talk with them

Finally, reach out to each of them and actually have a conversation! Which of them do you like better after talking with them? Which of them answered your questions in a professional manner and even asked you some good questions?

Of course, there are never any guarantees. But by going through these four steps, you can increase the likelihood that you’ll find a recruitment agency that’s a good fit for you and your organization.