01 May 2018
By Megan McQuade Posted in For Employers, staffing agency

Why Staffing Agencies Request Exclusivity

By Megan McQuade On May 1, 2018

As you are negotiating with your staffing agency, exclusivity may come up. Many employers think having multiple agencies working on the same role(s) is beneficial. The opposite is usually true. Except for a few instances we describe below. 


Let's discuss why exclusivity is important to staffing agencies and how it benefits you as the employer.

What is exclusivity?

Let's define exclusivity in regards to staffing. Exclusivity pertains to partnering with one agency to fulfill your staffing needs. The agency you agree to be "exclusive" with is the only agency working on your behalf to fill your roles. Sometimes exclusivity extends to one role and other times it extends to all roles. Often times, a company is still recruiting on their own roles in tandem with the agency they partner with. Exclusivity may be contracted for a long period of time or agreed upon for a short window - Ex: 30 days.

Why is exclusivity important?

Think about the candidate pool as finite. We both know this is not true unless we are counting every adult as a passive candidate. But, you get the gist! A staffing agency will use its tools, resources, and networks to tap into this pool. Experienced recruiters will efficiently wade through the talent pool qualifying candidates quickly. The more recruiters added to this pool, the more efforts begin to duplicate. Exclusivity protects candidates from being contacted multiple times, gives the staffing agency the best chance at filling the role, and allows the organization to establish a partnership on current and future roles.

Why might having multiple agencies backfire?

Ex: You have partnered with 3 staffing agencies to fill one role. These agencies don't know you have multiple partners. They deploy maximum resources in the form of recruiters on your search. Very quickly recruiters at the different agencies receive feedback from candidates that they have already been contacted by another agency about the same or a similar position. From a candidate perspective, it causes confusion and dampens the candidate experience. From a recruiting perspective, it causes frustration and often times results in less effort moving forward. Recruiters are compensated based on fills. If they know other competing recruiters are working on the same position, their tendency is to shift focus to other roles that they have exclusive access to. The company with the open role suffers because all three agencies have pushed the role down the priority list. This may also result in poor candidate quality.

Instances when non-exclusivity may be appropriate:

Now, why would being non-exclusive benefit you and your staffing agency? 

Ex 1. You have multiple roles to fill and have never worked with a staffing agency before. If this is your first experience with an agency, you may have no foundation of trust that your partner(s) can fill multiple roles quickly. In this case, you may decide to divvy up the roles to compare agencies to each other. Or, you have so many roles that one agency partner is simply not enough!

Ex 2. You work with niche agencies. One has expertise in IT and the other in sales. You choose to juggle multiple agencies because you like working with niche recruiters. The other option is to work with a firm that does not niche and can fill both business lines,

Ex 3. The role you are looking to fill is extremely hard-to-fill, and your staffing firm recommends that you partner with multiple agencies for more search horsepower. 

We hope that this gives you a fundamental understanding of exclusivity. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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As a trusted recruitment source for more than 15 years, recruiters at TruPath have a customizable process that helps our partners feel comfortable in their search for a candidate. Contact TruPath today to tell us about your staffing needs.