What to Expect When You Use a Direct Hire Staffing Agency

Organizations use direct hire staffing agencies to optimize the hiring process from start to finish — and unlike a temp who would be employed by the staffing agency, a direct hire will be found by the staffing agency but would be employed by the organization where they work. 

Direct hire roles are long term — unlike temp or contract employees — and typically include yearly salaries and benefits like healthcare and paid time off. But when organizations work with staffing agencies to lead their direct hiring efforts, the staffing agency takes on the bulk of the work. It’s a win-win for organizations: There are plenty of benefits to working with staffing agencies (like lowering overhead, mitigating risk, and the ability to leverage a staffing agency’s network and relationships in the industry) and employers walk away from the process with a full time employee fully embedded in the organization.

As leaders in direct hires in Northern California, we’ve spent thousands of hours placing ideal candidates with companies in all types of industries. Here’s an explainer on what to expect when you use us, or another agency like us, to help with your hiring needs. It’s much simpler — and more beneficial — than you might think!


How much do staffing agencies charge for direct hire?

Direct hire placement fees typically range from 20%–30% of the new hire’s first-year salary. 


What’s it like to work with a staffing agency for direct hiring?

While each staffing agency varies in the nuances of their process, most follow a fairly common set of steps — and any staffing agency worth its salt will walk you through the process in full before you begin work together. Here’s a look at the typical staffing agency process for direct hiring.


1. You’ll choose a staffing agency.

A staffing agency will be your collaborator during the hiring process, so you’ll want to vet them through your network — and you’re free to ask them to speak to some of their clients to learn about the experience. You’ll also want to weigh factors like cost (more on that later), expertise in your industry, relationships in your region, or special offerings like drug testing or training.


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2. You’ll brief the staffing agency on the role or roles you’re looking to fill.

Staffing agencies will need to know exactly what you’re looking for, so make sure you know the:

  • Job title
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Level of experience necessary
  • Level of education necessary
  • The salary range
  • Benefits that go with this role (healthcare, student loan repayment, retirement options, paid time off, etc.)
  • Policies like remote work or flexible hours
  • Any special training, certification, or skills
  • Relational characteristics like conflict resolution and communication skills, ability to handle fast-paced environments, public speaking experience, and more


You’ll also need to tell your staffing agency when you want this role filled — and it’s helpful to be as specific as possible. 

Now, you may come into this process with a fully executed job description — or you might simply have a list of needs. A staffing agency should be able to help you edit that description or create it from scratch, and they have the expertise to get it in front of the most qualified applicants.


3. The staffing agency will post the job description to target the most relevant talent.

A major benefit of working with a staffing agency is the talent pool they’ve spent years developing, and any job description they post gets sent out to their massive network of highly qualified applicants. They know exactly which specific job boards make sense for each role, and they leverage their relationships, too.   


4. The staffing agency will receive, triage, and screen applicants.

Instead of a flooded inbox full of cover letters, you can focus on running your business while the staffing agency receives applications. From there, the agency will triage applicants and begin winnowing down the talent pool to only those qualified for the role. 

Direct hire does not mean there’s no interview. Next up, the staffing agency will screen applicants — they’ll verify resume details or even run a background check. And when it comes to the interview, a staffing agency can do that for you, or your organization can conduct the preliminary interviews. But note that top agencies will conduct at least two screenings before moving anyone to a shortlist, sifting through applicants with precision.


5. You’ll receive a shortlist.

After having gone through multiple screenings and assessments, the staffing agency will hand over a shortlist of candidates. This is when you’ll start to get more involved — the employer typically conducts interviews with the final list of candidates. Remember: You as the employer are making the final decision, not the staffing agency. They simply supply you with excellent choices to choose from, but you have the final say.


6. You and the staffing agency will work together to make the offer.

Typically, the staffing agency will handle the paperwork once your chosen applicant accepts the role before transferring everything to the employer. Remember, a direct hire is employed directly by your organization and not the staffing agency. Depending on your needs, a staffing agency can also help with onboarding and training, which vary from role to role.