Just like the desperate job seeker who'll take anything just to get a paycheck, when you're a staffing agency rep pounding the pavement trying to get in the door of a business you'll probably take whatever they have, even if it means playing second or even third fiddle to other staffing services currently servicing that client.
After all, if your foot isn't even in the door, how can you possibly start climbing the ladder, right?
And once you're in and you start to hire great people and prove yourself as a service, the goal isn't merely to scale that ladder, it's to kick your competition mercilessly to the curb on the way up. Hey, it's a dog eat dog world out there, and only the best survive!
But the real question is, which scenario is truly best for the client - using one staffing agency exclusively or using multiple staffing agencies?
Of course, agencies may argue for one or the other depending on where they are in their relationship with that client, and there are certainly different factors involved, such as market, size of client, type of work, etc., but in most cases, even if we're the agency trying to work our way in, I would argue that it is better for a client to utilize one capable (KEY word being capable!) agency rather than multiple ones. Here are four reasons why:
It's the same pool of people
From a recruiting standpoint, chances are most job seekers in a given area, if they've registered with one, have registered with every staffing agency in town. So, if you utilize two or ten staffing agencies, you aren't going to get two or ten times the qualified applicants. And if you are, there are other problems that very well may come with that (see below).
Multiple staffing agencies in a business means a certain level of confusion, and multiple chances for errors. Instead of one rep, you have two or three who all may mean well, but all will recruit and process their people differently, even if you have specified how you want your orientation to be. With one agency rep, you have consistency across the board. If the person is a temp, they deal with that rep, period. You don't have to keep track of who is with who. If something was missed, you know who to blame and how to fix it. And if there is an invoicing error, there is one source to fix it and get it right consistently going forward.
Why? Because agencies are different! You may specify exactly what your entry level workers will make, but some agencies offer insurance, while others don't. And the ones that do pay different amounts toward employee plans. Some agencies will charge their temps for drug tests and background checks, while others don't. Some agencies have vacation and holiday pay, while others don't. You get the picture.
And even more relevant to you - some agencies may even let that questionable drug test or horrible reference check pass because they want to place a temp and beat their competition, while others will do the right thing and disqualify that person for your account. And here's the kicker - what's to stop that same job seeker from walking across the street and registering with another agency and getting in your door? Nothing, that's what! (More on this below.)
The thing is, when you utilize different agencies, you are unintentionally but still very much treating your entry-level employees differently, and as a result you AND your workers may end up on the raw end of the deal.
You actually get a lower quality employee
Sadly, it's a common occurrence for our staffers to be on site at a client and run into a temp from another agency who, just before signing with them, blew it with us in one way or another, whether through a failed drug test, walking off a job, or even severely misbehaving at another client. If it's something really bad we'll tell the client, of course, but generally our hands are tied in these situations because we don't want to appear vindictive, petty, or be a tattle-tale.
Additionally, competition is a good thing, but when it's manufactured seemingly just for the purpose of creating competition it also, for better or for worse, creates an incentive to cut corners. It would never happen with our agency, of course, but this can often result in your getting a lower quality worker than you may otherwise get.
You actually may get fewer workers
It may be counterintuitive, but put yourself in a staffing manager's shoes. You have 10 job orders each at two different clients, one of which is exclusive and one is serviced by two or more different agencies. In a limited supply situation, which jobs would YOU fill first, the one that is counting on you or the one where the other agency may very well beat you to the punch as soon as you get your person processed and ready to go?
The Choice - Deal with a reputable agency that has the locations, the resolve, and the resources to recruit the MOST people for your account, that understands your standards and is willing to bend over backwards to please you as a customer, and that has a solid community reputation and a proven track record of being good to their employees. It won't always be smooth sailing, but it'll sure be a lot better than the alternative!