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How Do Professional Staffing Agencies Find Candidates?

Although many businesses have invested in applicant tracking systems to automate resume storage and find candidates that demonstrate desired skills, these systems are often unable to make a judgment call of which candidates are the best fit for a position. And, while these systems may be beneficial at times, they often are no match for the level of support and quality of applicants provided by working with a professional staffing agency. By using a variety of techniques to create strong candidate pools for their clients, recruiters at a professional staffing agency can often simplify the processes for a business that needs great employees. 

Before we look at some of the ways professional staffing agencies find candidates, it is important to understand the difference between agencies or internal recruiters. Although both fulfill the staffing needs of businesses by finding candidates within specific industries, professional staffing agencies are often constantly building candidate talent pools that meet the needs of the industries that they serve. However, whether the recruiter is an internal employee, or the business is using an external agency for assistance, many of these techniques, or a combination of them, will still be used to find the top talent available for a vacant position.  

Applicant Tracking Systems

Although not a primary way to search for talent, professional staffing agencies will utilize applicant tracking systems to perform keyword searches that may give them insight into the candidates that they have in their database. These systems often serve as a good starting point for candidates that have reached out to a professional staffing agency, worked with a recruiter in the past or have shown interest in making a career shift. This helps quickly build up a pool of candidates that may be the right fit for the needs expressed by a business and may expedite the process. 

Because applicant tracking systems parse resumes that have been submitted for keywords, these systems often make it easy to see which candidates closely align with the desired skills or experience needed by a company; however, this will still require manual reviews to further gain insight into potential candidates. Like other businesses, these applicant tracking systems can also be filled by job seekers that are submitted their resume to a recruiter for assistance. Although, other candidate gathering methods may be needed to improve the results that can be obtained. 

Networking Events

While modern technologies have made it easier than ever to network with job seekers, many professional staffing agencies still utilize networking events to make connections with great talent through job fairs, industry-specific networking opportunities, or conferences. Professional staffing agency recruiters often attend these events to keep their pulse on the job market and identify candidates that express the skills that clients may need for future job vacancies. In addition to this, recruiters are also often able to gain deeper insight into the industries that they are actively hiring for. 

Job seekers that are actively trying to break into new industries that align with their skill sets will often attend these events to make connections with industry leaders, potential employers, or professional staffing agencies. Often, these contacts will come in handy when clients are looking for specific skills or experience and may be leaned upon by professional staffing agencies at a moment’s notice. This ensures a great candidate can be obtained that meets detailed skillsets for a vacant position quickly. 


The internet has been a game-changer for recruitment because of the ease of use it provides. Well known as a popular social website owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn allows professional staffing agencies to search for candidates based on a variety of factors including education, current job title, or experience. However, one of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn is that it allows recruiters to search for top talent that may not actively be looking for a new career but is open to opportunities if they were to be extended. This allows recruiters to focus on finding the best talent possible and lets them start a conversation to see what they may be interested in. 

LinkedIn also provides networking opportunities through groups that focus on industry-specific information. Professional Staffing Agencies will often utilize these tools to ensure they are staying up to date with industry information while also networking to build their candidate talent pools. This unique insight allows them to better serve clients and ensure they are getting the employees that can help them grow into the future as trends or strategies change to meet modern demands. The key to making LinkedIn effective is to ensure recruiters remain proactive in engaging with job seekers or industry leaders. 

Job Boards

Job search tools like Monster, Indeed, Career Builder, and other career-focused websites make it possible for professional staffing agencies to source candidates that are actively looking for a job that may not already be in their internal applicant tracking systems. At any given time, these job boards can have millions of job seekers submitting their resume. This, of course, makes them a valuable resource for internal recruiters or professional staffing agencies that are looking for the perfect candidate to meet the unique needs of their clients. 

Job boards often use a combination of keywords or keyword phrases to find resumes. Resumes are then displayed in the order of relevancy, much like when you search something on Google or Bing. For this reason, it is a good way to find candidates that have taken the time to fine-tune their resume and include distinct skills or phrases that hiring clients may be looking for. This unique characteristic often makes it much easier for professional staffing agencies to build their internal talent pools and further serve their client’s needs in the future. 

Why Certified?

At Certified Source, we go above and beyond to make sure our clients are protected and experience service excellence. All our staff members are Certified Staffing Professionals credentialed by the American Staffing Association. Our laser focus on quality and service excellence are the differentiators that has our clients relying on us as the emerging leader in the industry. Let us know how our staffing professionals can help you!

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