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When you hear “contract” or “contract agency,” do you think of a 1980’s sitcom?  Perhaps ladies in horned rim glasses and polyester skirt suits typing and answering phones?  What about “headhunter?”  Is that like Dogg The Bounty Hunter in a shirt and tie?    And then there is the seemingly catch-all concept of “recruiter.”  Maybe the image of a drill sergeant with a clipboard comes to mind.  In the clamor of today’s job market, workers and employers alike can benefit from hiring assistance from a third party.    But who exactly are these helpers and what do they do?

Let’s start with the modern contract agency—or staffing agency.  To be clear, staffing and contract agencies, also called employment agencies, usually are contracted by the employer to find workers.  While agencies that take a fee from job seekers exist, few hiring professionals would recommend them.  In fact, most would suggest steering clear of them.   For that reason, we will exclude them from our discussion.

Now, while there are the occasional contract positions that bring Dolly Parton singing 9-5 to mind, today’s contract employment market is more about filling tentative positions at start-up companies and bridging workforce gaps for businesses with seasonal or per-project needs.  While typing speed and shorthand have gone out with acid-washed jeans, the concept of workers who float from company to company for a term of a day to a few months, is still relevant.  Companies still need the benefit of the agency screening each candidate and staffing accordingly.  The employee has the benefit of a continuous income from one source—the agency—and also the variety and change-of-pace that comes with contract work.

When there is an open position at a company that needs to be filled with a skilled worker, often a headhunter—or more eloquently, an executive search firm—is brought into the mix.   This type of professional seeks out both active job seekers and passive candidates who would be qualified for the position offered.   Most of these are permanent jobs with competitive wages and the fee associated is a percentage of the position’s yearly salary.   While many of us consider ourselves highly qualified for what we do, there is a good chance that our phones aren’t ringing off the hook with calls from headhunters.

Which brings us to the most practical solution for assistance in hiring competent workers—the recruitment agency.  A recruiter works for an employer but often forges relationships with potential candidates and can be extremely beneficial to a job seeker.  Recruiters take on the challenge of posting ads online (or in printed media) and sifting through the responses and attached resumes.   When a client hires a recruiter, they are off the hook for the pre-screening process.  Candidates without the proper qualifications are eliminated and only the best and the brightest—chosen by experienced agents—are put forward for review.  When a candidate is hired, the recruitment agency is paid by retaining a small percentage of the worker’s salary or wages from the employing company.

A recruitment agency often doubles as a contract agency of sorts by serving as the employer of record and taking care of the regulations regarding benefits and payment.  However, most recruiters deal with contract positions of at least three to six months.  Likewise, contract-to-permanent positions are often handled by recruiters seguing the worker from their system to the employer’s.  Always flexible, recruitment agencies can also find and place permanent employees, charging a fee based on the yearly salary of the position.

So whether you are scanning the Internet for your next job opportunity or you’re an employer looking for talented people, using the right hiring help can make all the difference.

About ARC Group©

ARC Group©, the parent company of Recruitment Intelligence™, has been an industry front runner in the last 30 years in the full-time, contract and contract-to-hire staffing and consulting industries.  Awarded to the South Florida, Jacksonville and Minnesota’s Business Journal’s collection of “Top 25 Executive Search & Consulting Firms” we have a national presence, and provide a service throughout the US, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Chicago and Washington.