What are the disadvantages of a staffing agency?

Are you considering using a staffing agency to find your next job or hire new talent for your company? While staffing agencies can offer a range of benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages as well.

In this article, we will explore the drawbacks of relying on a staffing agency and why it may not always be the best solution for your hiring or job-seeking needs. From lack of control over the recruitment process to potential misalignment of values and cultural fit, staffing agencies come with their fair share of challenges.

So, before you make a decision about partnering with a staffing agency, let’s dive into the potential downsides and what you need to know to make an informed choice. Keep reading to discover the flip side of the staffing agency coin and gain valuable insights to help you navigate the hiring landscape with confidence.

💡 Helpful Statistics About Staffing:

 During the course of a year, America’s staffing companies hire over 14.5 million temporary and contract employees.
       - Most staffing employees (73%) work full time, comparable to the overall workforce (75%).

 More than half (52%) of hiring managers say one of their main challenges in the recruiting process is gaining access to candidates with 
   the right skills. (Career Builder) 

 In the U.S., there are around 25,000 Recruiting and Staffing Agencies. (American Staffing Association) 

 Temporary employees make up about 2.1% of the U.S. workforce, which equals roughly 3.1 million people. 

 3.6 million Temporary Employees are Hired Every Year

 64% of Staffing Agencies Believe Remote-Jobs will be More Common Post-COVID-19

 There are About 25,000 Recruiting and Staffing Agencies in the U.S.

 Approximately 89% of US companies use staffing agencies to find executive-level talent.

Benefits of using a staffing agency

Staffing agencies can provide a range of benefits for both job seekers and employers. For job seekers, working with a staffing agency can offer access to a wider range of job opportunities. Staffing agencies often have connections with a variety of companies and industries, allowing them to match candidates with positions that may not be advertised publicly. Additionally, staffing agencies can provide valuable resources such as resume assistance, interview preparation, and career coaching, which can greatly enhance a candidate’s chances of success in the job market.

From an employer’s perspective, staffing agencies can streamline the hiring process by handling the initial screening and candidate selection. This saves employers time and resources, allowing them to focus on other important aspects of their business. Staffing agencies also have access to a larger candidate pool, including passive candidates who may not be actively seeking new opportunities. This can increase the chances of finding highly qualified candidates who may not be found through traditional recruitment methods.

Common misconceptions about staffing agencies

Before we delve into the potential disadvantages of using a staffing agency, it’s important to address some common misconceptions. One misconception is that staffing agencies only provide temporary or low-quality jobs. While it’s true that staffing agencies do offer temporary positions, they also provide permanent and contract-to-hire positions, depending on the needs of the employer and the candidate.

Another misconception is that staffing agencies are only useful for entry-level positions. While staffing agencies certainly help fill entry-level roles, they also specialize in finding candidates for mid-level and senior positions. In fact, many staffing agencies have specialized divisions that focus on specific industries or job functions, allowing them to find highly skilled professionals for specialized roles.

Disadvantages of using a staffing agency

Now, let’s explore the potential downsides of relying on a staffing agency for your hiring or job-seeking needs.

Lack of control over the hiring process

One of the main disadvantages of using a staffing agency is the lack of control over the hiring process. When you work with a staffing agency, you are essentially outsourcing the initial screening and candidate selection to a third party. While this can save you time and effort, it also means that you have less control over who is being considered for the position. You may have specific criteria or qualifications that are important to you, but the staffing agency may not prioritize those factors in the same way. This can result in candidates being presented to you who may not be the best fit for your organization.

Potential cultural fit issues

Another potential downside of using a staffing agency is the risk of misalignment in terms of cultural fit. Cultural fit is an important factor in the success of any hire, as it ensures that the candidate’s values, work style, and personality align with the company’s culture. However, when you rely on a staffing agency, you may not have the opportunity to thoroughly assess a candidate’s cultural fit before they are presented to you. This can lead to hiring decisions that result in poor performance or a lack of cohesion within the team.

Cost considerations

Cost is another factor to consider when using a staffing agency. While staffing agencies can save you time and resources in the recruitment process, they also come with a price tag. Staffing agencies typically charge a fee based on a percentage of the candidate’s salary, which can add up, especially for higher-level positions. Additionally, if you choose to hire a candidate through a staffing agency on a temporary or contract basis, you may be responsible for additional fees or markups on the candidate’s hourly rate.

Limited candidate pool

Although staffing agencies have access to a larger candidate pool, they may still have limitations in terms of the types of candidates they can provide. Depending on the industry or job function, there may be certain roles or skill sets that are more difficult to find through a staffing agency. This can be particularly challenging if you have highly specialized requirements or niche roles that require specific expertise. In these cases, you may need to consider alternative recruitment methods to ensure you find the best candidate for the job.

Potential conflicts of interest

Lastly, there is the potential for conflicts of interest when working with a staffing agency. Staffing agencies act as intermediaries between job seekers and employers, and their primary goal is to fill positions as quickly as possible. While this can be beneficial in terms of efficiency, it also means that the staffing agency’s interests may not always align with yours. For example, a staffing agency may be more focused on placing candidates quickly to meet their own targets, rather than ensuring the best match between the candidate and the employer. This can result in candidates being presented to you who may not be the most qualified or suitable for the position.

Alternatives to staffing agencies

If the potential disadvantages of using a staffing agency are giving you pause, there are alternative approaches to consider. One option is to handle the recruitment process in-house, either by advertising the position directly or utilizing your own internal HR team. This gives you full control over the hiring process and allows you to tailor it to your specific needs. Another option is to leverage professional networks and industry associations to find qualified candidates. By tapping into your own network or reaching out to industry contacts, you can potentially find candidates who are a better fit for your organization.

Additionally, you can consider partnering with a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider. RPO providers offer a more comprehensive solution than traditional staffing agencies, as they take on the entire recruitment process on behalf of the employer. This includes sourcing, screening, and selecting candidates, as well as managing the onboarding and integration process. RPO providers can be particularly beneficial for companies that have high-volume hiring needs or require specialized expertise in certain areas.


While staffing agencies can offer many benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages as well. From lack of control over the hiring process to potential cultural fit issues and cost considerations, there are several factors to consider before partnering with a staffing agency. By understanding these potential downsides and exploring alternative approaches, you can make a more informed decision about how to navigate the hiring landscape and find the best talent for your organization. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right balance between leveraging external resources and maintaining control over the hiring process to ensure the best outcome for your business. So, weigh the pros and cons, assess your specific needs, and choose the approach that aligns with your goals and values.