Hiring an employee or finding a job can be long and expensive processes. Temp agencies are designed to speed up the hiring process for a more positive and impactful experience on both sides. A good temp agency will source top candidates for vacant roles, conduct background checks, schedule and hold interviews, and take care of payroll and administrative paperwork for all temporary hires.
With thousands of temp agencies out there to choose from, it can be difficult to find the best one that suits your company’s unique needs. We researched more than 30 temp agencies and evaluated them based on the industries they specialize in, candidate quality, speed and effectiveness, regions served, and client reviews. Here are our top picks.
The 6 Best Temp Agencies of 2020
Best Overall: Randstad
Originally founded in the Netherlands in 1960, Randstad is the largest staffing firm in the world. With a presence in over 38 countries, Randstad recruits for temporary roles across 12 industries, including call centers, engineering, human resources, legal, marketing, and non-clinical healthcare. We chose Randstad as the best agency overall due to its size and market share, candidate quality, range of industries served, and reputation.
Once temps are sent on assignment through Randstad, the agency checks in once a week to monitor their progress and ensure they’re satisfied with their assignments. Doing so ensures higher productivity and more engaged employees for clients. Past and current clients have cited that Randstad’s temps are exceptionally eager, friendly, and professional. In addition to sourcing quality temporary candidates, Randstad also conducts pre-employment screenings like background checks and drug tests per employer request, but these services cost extra. The final cost of service is tailored to each company’s requirements, so you’ll need to contact your local Randstad office to determine pricing. Employers are typically charged 20% or more of what they pay to temporary workers. Randstad has over 500 office locations in the United States.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Kelly Staffing
Kelly Staffing was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan, to fill the growing temporary job market during the post-war economic boom. Company namesake William Kelly is often credited as the founder of the modern temporary staffing industry. More than 70 years later, Kelly Staffing is one of the most prominent staffing agencies in the world, servicing clients and job seekers in 30 countries and all 50 states. We chose Kelly Staffing as the runner-up because, while it is undeniably a staffing industry leader, it has a smaller recruiting staff and candidate database than Randstad, putting it at a slight disadvantage.
Kelly Staffing fills open roles in education (including K-12 and higher education), finance, marketing, manufacturing, office administration, clinical science, and engineering industries. All of Kelly’s candidates have access to thousands of training resources to sharpen their skills. Kelly’s clients range from household names like Ross, Sony, and Wells Fargo to smaller nonprofits and startups. To work with Kelly Staffing, you’ll need to fill out an interest form on their website so they can quote your price accordingly. Costs vary by industry and compensation level.
Best for Fast Placement: Adecco
Adecco is one of the largest staffing agencies in the world, second only to Randstad. The agency was founded in Switzerland in 1957 under the name Adia and became Adecco after a 1996 merger with another agency, Ecco.
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Adecco now recruits in 450 locations across 60 countries. According to their 2019 annual report, Adecco placed a total of 3.5 million people in jobs across the creative, finance, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and transportation industries. We picked Adecco as best for fast placement because it routinely receives client testimonials attesting that it can fill open positions in just a few hours.
Adecco’s vast candidate network and recruiting staff make for quick turnaround time for clients. All of Adecco’s talent is pre-screened and interviewed before being presented to the client. Adecco also tests candidates on specific skills, conducts background and reference checks through E-Verify, and administers drug tests at a client’s request. Final pricing depends on the number of candidates needed and increases if you’re looking to hire across multiple locations.
Best for Healthcare Staffing: AMN Healthcare
AMN Healthcare was founded in 1985 and is currently the largest healthcare staffing firm in the U.S. Based in San Diego, California, AMN Healthcare provides temporary staffing for travel nurses; physicians; and allied health, urgent care, and retail clinic professionals across all 50 states. AMN Healthcare is our top pick for healthcare staffing because of its talent quality, commitment to excellence, and stellar client feedback.
AMN Healthcare staffs some of the most prominent hospitals and medical centers in the country, including NYU Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Candidates are rigorously pre-screened thanks to skillset evaluations, reference checks, and background checks at no extra cost to the client. Clients have raved about AMN’s quality candidates and recruiting expertise. One client estimated the agency has saved them over $200,000. To get a free customized quote, contact the agency directly.
Best for Creative and Marketing Staffing: Aquent
Aquent was founded by Harvard graduates in 1985, which became MacTemps, an agency specializing in creative talent well-versed with the Mac Operating System. Today, the Boston-based agency recruits talent in 26 major U.S. cities (from New York to Boise) and seven countries for Fortune 500 clients like Apple, Disney, and Levi’s. Aquent recruits across 17 different industries, including advertising, beauty, fashion, financial services, healthcare, publishing, technology, and hospitality.
Aquent stood out as the top choice because of its large U.S. and global presence, impressive client roster, innovative client services and guarantee, and exceptional creative talent.
Aquent uses a proprietary combination of technology and assessments from industry experts to make it easier and faster for clients to find top candidates. Each candidate in Aquent’s database has a profile with expert feedback and standardized technical skill assessment results (all of Aquent’s candidates take skill assessment tests). Clients can read through candidate profiles to find the best talent that suits their needs.
Aquent also has a separate service called Aquent’s Book. Clients can type in search queries (similar to a Google search) and the Book will return candidate profiles that match the query. If you are unhappy with the talent Aquent provides for any reason, the agency will refund 110% of your fees paid.
Aquent’s talent has gone onto work on some of the world’s most high-profile projects. For example, it was Aquent talent who made A Place for Mom an SEO content powerhouse and Tatcha a best-selling skincare brand. Aquent makes sure their talent stays sharp with free online courses through their Gymnasium program. For a custom quote, contact the agency directly.
Best for Tech and IT Staffing: TEKsystems
Based in Hanover, Maryland, TEKsystems was founded in the mid-1990s as the Data Services branch of the Allegis Group (which also owns Aerotek, another tech staffing firm). TEKsystems now operates more than 100 offices worldwide and staffs tech positions for over 6,000 companies in financial services, communications, healthcare, and government. Recently awarded Best of Staffing in Client Satisfaction by ClearlyRated, we chose TEKsystems as the best choice for tech and IT staffing for its large domestic and global presence, commitment to knowing clients inside and out, and positive reviews.
TEKsystems successfully places over 80,000 job seekers annually across roles in specialized areas like artificial intelligence, digital risk and compliance, and healthcare IT. To do this, TEKsystems takes the time to get to know each company it works with (their energy, values, goals) to help better understand how to recruit talent that will be a cultural fit. Their recruiting staff also comes with deep knowledge and expertise of over 400 local job markets and keeps tabs on 81% of the domestic IT workforce—all so that you don’t need to. In their review, clients say they love TEKsystems’ consultative approach and that the agency consistently delivers top talent across a variety of different roles. Pricing quotes are custom and are available upon request.
What Are Temp Agencies?
Temp agencies are staffing agencies that assist with finding talent for temporary jobs. Job seekers use temp agencies to find employment quickly, work a flexible schedule, and test out a company or career path. Similarly, companies call on temp agencies to source, find, and interview quality candidates in a timely fashion. Most temp agencies have pre-existing databases of candidates to draw from and are sourcing new ones on a daily basis. Without a temp agency, a company would need to market the job posting, as well as source and interview a shortlist of candidates themselves. The average time it takes for a company to fill a vacant position without using an agency is 42 days.
By saving time and internal resources with a temp agency, companies can prevent a decrease in productivity and revenue that comes with having vacant openings.
What Does a Temp Agency Do?
A temp agency typically does the following on behalf of the companies they work with:
- Advertises open job positions on the agency’s website, job boards, and through email blasts
- Conducts candidate background checks, drug tests, and skillset tests
- Interviews potential hires
- Offers contracts to candidates
- Takes care of payroll and benefits once a candidate is successfully hired
Some temp agencies offer additional training to help employees brush up on their skills. Clients would typically be responsible for doing all of those tasks on their own if they don’t outsource to a temp agency. After hiring an agency, clients can be involved in the interview stage if desired. Otherwise, they can leave the entire hiring process from start to finish up to the agency.
What Is the Cost of Using a Temp Agency?
Temp agencies typically charge client companies a markup of 20% to 75% of what their temps get paid. For example, if a temp agency pays a temporary employee a rate of $20 per hour with a 25% fee, the employer will pay the temp agency $25 for each hour the employee works. Of that $25, $20 will go to the employee and the extra $5 goes to the temp agency. This fee is typically higher for employers who are seeking candidates for more skilled work, higher-ranking positions, or harder-to-find talent. Payment is usually due to the agency once the position is filled. The final price you pay will depend on how many candidates you’re looking to source, how many office locations you’re hiring for, and the duration of the position(s) you’re trying to fill.
Some agencies also operate on a flat fee basis, meaning that the employer will pay a retainer until their vacant position is filled. This fee structure is typically used by agencies that specialize in high-level talent.
When Should You Consider Using a Temp Agency?
Temp agencies are a great option if your company is looking to fill any vacant temporary roles, such as seasonal jobs, help for short-term projects, or maternity leave stand-ins. They’re also especially valuable if you need to hire help as soon as possible since they shorten the recruitment process immensely.
How We Chose the Best Temp Agencies
We looked at 30 different agencies before narrowing it down to our top picks. While conducting our reviews, we found that many agencies cater to specific job industries and geographic areas. To select the top agencies, we considered their areas of specialty, speed, candidate quality, client feedback, and number of cities served, as these are the most important qualities that client businesses and temps look for in an agency.
HireVue. "8 Recruiting Metrics You Should be Tracking in 2019." Accessed June 10, 2020.
Entrepreneur. "How to Price Your Staffing Services." Accessed June 11, 2020.