Use an I.T. Staffing Agency or Hire Internally?
Daniel Schrotter, Staff I.T., Inc.
You are the hiring manager at your company. The I.T. director just put in a request for a .NET/SQL developer for a project she has beginning in two weeks. Two weeks is not a lot of time and you already have a half dozen other job requests from other departments. Hiring for I.T. positions is generally more difficult than hiring a temporary employee for an office administrative position. This is because there are a plethora of well-qualified individuals who possess the necessary attributes to be a good office admin. There is also a veritable army of staffing agencies who include “office administrative assistant” in their roster of positions they can fill. However, finding an I.T. professional who possesses the necessary qualifications AND the experience you need can be much more difficult because the search is almost always much more precise and the need that much greater.
I.T. is the beating heart of nearly every organization today. It is, after all, 2010 not 1994. If your company is like most, labor is the biggest line on your P & L. Companies are beginning to realize that when they use a staffing firm the inherent costs of sourcing, hiring and processing an employee are transferred from them to the staffing firm. Payroll processing, issuance of government tax forms, worker’s comp management, unemployment claims and compliance with EEO, IRCA, ADA and COBRA – all this is handled externally by the agency and the company is left to simply choose the person they wish to have work for them and train them.
Yet there is also another often forgotten pitfall. Hiring the wrong employee can be prohibitively expensive and you gain absolutely nothing from it. It is here that the concept of contract-to-hire or temp-to-perm is so attractive. It enables the company to “try then buy,” in a manner of speaking. They are able to pay the contractual employee a bill rate that is within their budget and simply pay a reasonable fee to the agency from whence the contractor came. Any good agency will also take pains to make sure that the bill rate is in line with the salary you propose to pay the employee when they become permanent.
Where going the contract-to-hire route is often most beneficial is when the first employee is not a good fit. You simply have the agency withdraw that candidate and send over another. Most reputable agencies will offer you a guarantee as well as the option for unlimited replacement until you are satisfied. Most importantly, though, you save money. Hire the wrong person directly and you have just thrown money away on recruiting them, processing them, conducting a background and/or credit check on them and training them – don’t forget, when they are being trained they are not really working yet and so are simply another cost. The hope is that they will become a contributing employee right away and validate their expense. Using a good I.T. staffing agency will mitigate this risk and will make the transition from contract employee to permanent employee smooth and hassle-free, leaving you to handle other projects.