Large vs. Small Staffing Agencies

Is bigger really always better? Yes, in some cases, but not necessarily in the staffing industry!

Talent Pool Competition

How often have you heard this from a large firm? “We have an extensive database with tens of thousands of qualified candidates waiting to be placed.” The reality is that tens of thousands of candidates are NOT tens of thousands of quality candidates. Smaller firms focus on a smaller list of clients and will vent candidates more diligently. Stronger connections and deeper understanding often supersede the sheer volume of larger firms.


Large staffing firms can have thousands of recruiters working for them. Have you ever asked what the recruiter’s background is actually like? In most cases large firms hire recruiters with little to no experience in the field they are recruiting for! Smaller staffing firms stand out with industry experience. Smaller staffing firms are filled with seasoned recruiters who are extremely knowledgeable in the industry, have a clear understanding of what their clients are looking for, and what the market can provide. Next time you’re on the phone with a recruiter — ASK what their background and experience is!

Quality Over Quantity

Large staffing firms scramble to rapidly expand client lists in order to generate volume and billing. This turns into a numbers game and nothing more. Smaller staffing firms have fewer clients, so they take time understanding each client’s culture and needs, and take immense pride in each candidate they submit. As a hiring manager, would you rather review 30 poorly qualified resumes, or 3 stellar candidates?

Volume Versus Focus

Large staffing firms must work on a volume basis due to the extreme amounts of overheard. While volume may be good for stock it’s not necessarily good for YOU. Small firms focus on a smaller list of clients and have the time and desire to better learn your business, work environment and pain points.


Like any large corporation, larger staffing firms have very little flexibility in terms, conditions or with simple business practices. They always go what’s better for them – not you. Smaller staffing agencies enjoy flat, agile corporate structures. Contracts can be negotiated quickly and concerns promptly addressed. If contracts need to be signed or background checks need to be validated, these can get done in minutes rather than days because they have lost their red tape rolls!


Studies show that boutique shops have a lower turnover rate compared to large firms. Large staffing firms fill most of their recruiting positions with entry-level employees and rarely provide them the necessary resources to thrive. In turn, these green recruiters don’t understand the methods, the industries, or positions they are working with. They often burn out in under a year. Smaller staffing firms are filled with well trained, seasoned veterans who have built a career in the recruiting industry. If you are looking for a partner instead of a quick fix, look for a smaller staffing agency to lighten the load for years to come!

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