Are you a leader or administrator at a healthcare facility or other type of location in need of qualified medical providers? What are the benefits of using a staffing agency vs. an in-house team? In this article, we’ll break down how a healthcare staffing agency can help your facility.
Types of Staffing Placements
No matter what type of placement you are looking to fill, most healthcare staffing agencies will assist with permanent placements, locum tenens placements, or locum to perm placements. If you’re not sure what type of placement is right for your facility, the client representatives, or in our case, account executives, at a staffing agency are often a great resource in helping you to choose the best type of provider for your needs.
By working with contracted providers through an agency, you have an opportunity to “test” providers before hiring them full-time at your facility. They are independent contractors, so even if you’re looking to hire for a permanent placement position, you aren’t responsible for their payroll or insurance.
If you decide you’d like to offer a position to the provider and hire them on staff, you can typically do so through a buy-out with the staffing agency.
Finding the Right Type of Agency
Hundreds of staffing agencies are in business, but they are not all the same. Some staffing agencies staff within multiple industries. Others prefer to pick one or a few industries and only staff those. Wilderness Medical Staffing, for instance, only works in healthcare staffing ‘vertical’.
In addition to the types of industries the agency staffs, they may only staff certain types of specialties within those industries. Depending on your needs, you may choose to hire an agency based specifically on the type of candidate you are looking for to do the job. At Wilderness Medical Staffing, we specialize in staffing physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Other healthcare staffing agencies specialize in staffing traveling nurses or in specialties, such as anesthesia or neurology.
Agencies may have other strengths beyond this, as well. Some agencies staff internationally, for example. Many agencies choose to stick to a niche and fill needs within it. For example, we are experts in staffing rural and remote locations in the Northwest United States and Alaska, making our company fairly niche compared to many others in the staffing industry.
Additionally, some staffing agencies focus on different metrics for success. Are you looking for the cheapest agency, the one with the best customer service, candidates that are better than any others you’ve seen, or a big vs. small agency? These are all things to consider when choosing who to work with.
At Wilderness Medical Staffing, we take pride in being a small, family-owned healthcare staffing agency, that staffs excellent healthcare providers with a customer-service focus.
If you’re looking to fill locum tenens positions, we recommend hiring a staffing agency that is part of NALTO, the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations. Wilderness Medical Staffing is a proud member of NALTO, which means we operate our business based on NALTO’s Code of Ethics.
What Happens After You Decide What Healthcare Staffing Agency To Use?
We’ll be forthright in saying that how you engage and interact with a staffing agency can vary greatly from one to the next. However, some points are universal.
Decide What Positions You Need to Fill
Staffing agencies are pros at finding solutions to your hiring needs. Even for trickier staffing struggles, the expertise of using an agency can often help to make staffing simpler. You’ll likely work with a representative from the agency who may be a CEO, sales rep, client representative, or account executive to explain your needs. From there, they will work with you to come up with what type of providers you need to find to fill your placements.
Often, staffing agencies are skilled at coming up with creative solutions to your staffing needs. For instance, we may recommend scheduling locum tenens providers over a few rotations, so they can take time off in between. Or we’ll help to formulate your shift coverage to help you to best utilize your existing team while leveraging contracted providers to help combat burnout.
If you already have a clear idea of the position(s) you are looking to hire for, that’s great too! Providing as much detail as you have about the assignment to your staffing agency representatives can help to get those positions filled.
Share Details with Your Agency Representative
When we say share details, we mean a lot of details! Your healthcare staffing agency will be ultimately responsible for “selling” this position. The more your staffing agency knows, the easier it is to answer questions that potential candidates have. Regardless of the staffing agency you’re working with, some details you’ll want to share include:
- The type of staffing placement you’re looking to fill (permanent, locum tenens, temporary, temp-to-perm, etc.)
- The timing and duration of the assignment
- The job title/specialty of the person you want to hire
- Any additional skills or background they need to have for the position
- What you’re willing to pay for the position (your staffing rep can often help you to figure out this rate if you’re unsure)
- What their work schedule will be
- For healthcare staffing – any additional information about the facility
It can also be helpful to share additional information like how large your facility is, what the existing staffing mix looks like, and what the location is like where your provider will be working.
The Staffing Agency Gets to Work
Once you know what position(s) you’re looking to fill, that’s when the staffing agency gets to work to find the perfect candidate to fill your needs.
Again, every staffing agency’s process can differ in how they do this, but likely, they will be combing through hundreds, if not thousands of candidates in their database to find the perfect candidate to fill your needs. The agency may also use some different types of marketing techniques to recruit fresh candidates for your specific positions.
Healthcare staffing agencies often have candidates from all over the country, so your chances of finding a qualified candidate can be better than looking locally. Especially for locum tenens positions, hiring through an agency can give you access to far more candidates than otherwise would be available to you.
Your Candidate is Prepped For Their Assignment
Once the staffing agency is ready to present candidates, you may decide to interview one or more to make sure they are a good fit. Once selected, your candidate will be notified and the staffing agency will help to prep them for their assignment with you.
This is another benefit of using a staffing agency since much of the burden of getting the provider on-site is often taken off the client. The staffing agency will typically coordinate travel, work with you to find adequate housing, work through credentialing, and more.
Your Candidate Arrives at Their Assignment
Once the logistics have been put together, your candidate will arrive ready for work. You can help them prepare for their assignment by creating a warm welcome for them.
For many of our clients, the providers who come on assignments at their facility become part of their extended work-family. It’s our job as the staffing agency to make sure your assignments are filled with candidates who will help to serve the medical staffing needs of your facility and community.
How Much Does it Cost to Work with a Staffing Agency?
Typically, when you work with a staffing agency, it won’t cost you anything unless the agency is able to fill the position(s) you are looking to fill. Different staffing agencies may structure billing clients in different ways, but most will take a percentage or flat fee of the negotiated rate that you’ll be paying for the provider. Most agencies charge anywhere between 20% to 75% of the provider’s wages.
In that case, you may be wondering if it’s worth it to hire using a staffing agency. Even though you will pay for the use of the agency’s services, it often saves facilities money because of consistent coverage of providers for patients. Temporary providers help to fill in gaps for existing providers preventing burnout and covering shifts that would otherwise go uncovered due to vacation, leaves of absence, and provider turnover.
If you’re looking to hire permanently, it can be a great way to “test” a provider before hiring them full-time. It can be reassuring that you’ve made the right selection for the job.
You’ll work with the healthcare agency to come to agreed-upon rates before the agency gets to work finding you providers, so there are no surprises with how much the service will cost you.
Turning over your healthcare provider hiring needs to a staffing agency can be beneficial to ensure you have solutions for gaps in coverage at your facility. You will also get to utilize the agency’s extensive list of providers to fill vacancies. Learn how Wilderness Medical Staffing partners with clients to find excellent candidates for your healthcare staffing needs.