Staffing Agencies vs. Consulting Firms: Why I Chose the Latter

It’s been almost a decade since I stopped doing odd jobs and began a career in Business Development & Client Relations. During this tenure, I have worked for some big names across the globe. However, for the past few years I have been with a firm that I chose to stick with for a one reason alone. That reason? I can sleep peacefully at night. Now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this when the topic of this article is about consulting firms vs. staffing agencies. I’ll be honest with you hear, even though it may be offensive to some. After all, I am only relaying my personal experience and respect that others may have differing opinions and experience.

I have worked for both staffing and consulting firms. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was much happier working at a consulting firm, rather than a staffing firm, which to me felt like an agency that merely sends information from point A to point B. At a consulting firm, I felt I was making a difference in the lives of people by getting involved in helping them with their livelihood. To get paid for work that feels important is a bonus.

The simplest way to explain this is with an example. Imagine this: You’re stopped at a traffic signal and an elderly woman or man comes up to your window and asks you how to get from XYZ Street to ABC Square Road, which happens to be in the direction you are already going. Now, would you rather tell that elderly person to walk X number of miles, take the subway or bus from one place to the other and they’ll arrive at their destination, or would you rather tell them to hop in the car and you’ll drop them off, knowing you’re not going out of your way?

That is precisely the difference I see between staffing agencies and consulting firms. In my opinion, staffing agencies don’t take ownership; they merely take a shortcut, point you in the right direction or what they think is the right direction. Staffing firms give you the profiles of who they think are the best possible candidates for any given position, charge their fee and are done with the interaction. Consultancies are different. They will send you the best possible profiles, and if hired they will take responsibility of the performance, payout and certain legalities to save the employers time, money and resources, taking ownership of the candidate. Top consulting firms take the time and effort to take you where you want to go, as well as following up and taking ownership of how they got you there.

That’s why I now sleep better at night. I’m not just telling an elderly gentleman to walk across the road when the light is green; I am taking him with me, and making sure he gets there safe and sound.