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How to... recruit temporary staff through an agency

With more than one million temporary agency workers in the UK, businesses are well aware of the advantages that a flexible workforce brings, especially in times of, to use an adage, "economic uncertainty". Matthew Sanders looks at how to go about acquiring the best people.

1 Look locally

When recruiting temporary workers, local agencies are a good starting point, as they tend to be able to source the best candidates in the area. As a minimum requirement, reputable agencies should appoint a dedicated account manager with overall responsibility for the supply of temporary or permanent resources to you. They should always ensure candidates have the necessary experience, training, qualifications, and pass any legal requirements, such as Criminal Records Bureau checks.

2 Don't compromise on quality

Finding the perfect staff member is never an exact science. Creating a preferred panel of agencies or supply list means employers can compare suppliers' credentials, processes and costs and arrange for all hiring managers to work with them directly. A preferred supply list groups together suppliers chosen by you to best suit your company's needs, in relation to skills, location, and business need. A PSL can take time to perfect and has an element of trial and error but, once in place, it can drive down costs while providing access to the best available staff.

3 Try to look beyond someone's CV

Use CVs for the facts, but in today's social media world, take advantage of online customisable tests to gain a much wider assessment of a candidate. A browser search for "employee tests" can lead you to sites that best apply to the operational requirements of your company to paint a more accurate picture of potential employees.

4 Build relationships

Recruitment agencies should always strive to provide the most suitable and competent employees, but building a relationship will give your company more clarity over the types of employees the agency takes on. When you plan a business strategy, you are safe in the knowledge that your potential employees are capable of implementing the ideas.

5 Ensure you are legally compliant

Are your temporary workers legally allowed to work in the UK? Do they hold criminal records that could compromise your company? Firms should always operate with agencies they know comply with legislative checks. Regular audits should be implemented to establish whether agencies are being fully compliant with their candidates. Agencies that fail to carry out compliance checks should be removed, as each immigration violation could cost an employer up to £10,000 an employee in fines.

6 Keep track of what you spend

It is common for companies to have numerous agencies providing a number of employees, who although doing the same job, are invariably on different pay rates. This often results in a loss of visibility over spend, meaning you are probably spending more than you think. Obviously, in scenarios where numerous skills are needed throughout an organisation, it pays to have a varied list of agencies, but try to keep the number of agencies to a minimum to lessen the administrative burden, and free up staff hours to dedicate to more productive aspects of your business.

Key points

- Know how much you spend and where you can make savings
- Keep within the law or risk tough penalties
- Reduce and refine the number of agencies on your books
- Build strong relationships with your reputable agencies

Source: www.peoplemanagement.co.uk