Also known as staffing services, personnel services include the recruitment, screening, and sometimes training of new employees. Agencies are often outsourced to provide personnel services to organizations that may not have the time or resources to fulfill their own staffing requirements. Personnel agencies will sometimes specialize in staffing a specific type of personnel, such as executives, office administrators, laborers, or engineers. In addition to placing job ads for their clients, personnel firms also screen job candidates through a series of interviews, skill tests, and reference checks.
The firms which provide personnel services are sometimes also referred to as employment agencies or headhunters, and range from global franchises to smaller, independent agencies. Some agencies specialize in recruiting temporary personnel for organizations that only require an employee on an interim basis, such as to cover another employee's temporary leave of absence or to provide extra manpower during peak periods. In these cases, the temporary employee, or "temp" is a direct employee of the personnel agency rather than the organization, which is the client of the agency. Personnel agencies sometimes also provide a "temp-to-perm" solution as part of their personnel services, meaning the client has the option to hire the temp directly following his or her term with the agency.
The process of screening a job candidate begins once the personnel agency has made contact with the individual, whether he or she has responded to a job ad placed by the agency or submitted a resume to be considered for future positions. If the agency is satisfied with the candidate's resume, it will arrange for an informal interview with the candidate. The interview usually consists of the candidate meeting one or more of the agency's recruiters, filling out forms to indicate his or her availability and job preferences, and completing tests related to the desired field of employment. For example, a candidate seeking employment in an administrative capacity may be tested for typing speed, accuracy, and word processing skills. The candidate's test results are then placed in his or her own file with the agency, along with the recruiter's overall impressions of the candidate.