Hiring and retaining top talent determines the long term success of your company. Selecting the right recruiting firm to help attract that critical top talent will make your recruiting process more efficient, manageable and rewarding. We are a results-oriented firm with a record of continuous success and a reliable and consistent pool of talent.

A Deeper Talent Pool

With 30 years staffing the Piedmont Triad and an established reputation as the premier staffing firm in the area, we have a strong talent pool and an extensive network to fulfill most human capital requirements. We know that word of mouth is the best advertising available and our reputation in the business community is only surpassed by our reputation within the area’s workforce. Our reputation delivers a competitive advantage giving you access to the best talent in the market.

Sound Experience and Expertise

Our team of professional recruiters is the best in the business. In an industry known for turnover, our staff has an average tenure of more than 15 years. Through our extensive experience and resources, we can conduct specialized searches quickly and efficiently. We will also share our insights on salary, economic conditions and strategic staffing for a broad range of job classifications, including contract positions. The members of our team were specifically chosen for their diverse professional recruiting background, ethical standards, confidentiality and commitment to excellence in service. We are distinguished by our superior client relationships.

Flexible Workforce Solutions

Advanced Personnel Resources is a full service staffing firm. We provide a broad range of services that are tailored to meet and compliment most workplace human capital demands. Our services include:

  • Direct Hire
  • Temporary / Contract Assignments
  • Temp-to-Hire
  • On-Site Management
  • Payroll Services
  • MSP/VMS Partnerships
  • Human Resources Consulting
  • Workplace Safety Consulting

Impacting the Bottom Line

Internal talent acquisition can be costly. Studies have found that the cost of turnover is, on average, equal to 21% of the employee’s annual salary. Working with our team of staffing professionals can reduce the up-front investment on each new hire and dramatically decrease turnover. We provide dedicated and diligent search resources to deliver top tier candidates who are equipped for better implementation of your company’s goals and objectives in your strategic business plan.

Measurably, this saves you time, resources and money - on orientation, on training, and on the cost of having the wrong hire on your team.

Contact us

Accuracy and timeliness directly affect your bottom line. Our accounting recruiters make it their priority to understand the intricacies and trends in the finance and accounting fields. Our rigorous search and interview process ensures you have access to candidates with a solid track record of accuracy and integrity.

Helping You Track the Bottom Line

Nothing is more important than the bottom line in business. We help your company succeed by ensuring that your financial team is staffed with the most qualified professionals available. Our more than 25 years of recruiting experience in accounting, finance and banking has enabled us to build an extensive database of exceptional candidates in all areas of this field. Advanced Personnel Resources is the premier recruitment source for small entities, growing midsize companies and numerous Fortune 500 corporations.

Managing All of Your Staffing Needs

Whether you need a direct hire, a temporary contractor or a temp-to-hire employee, we are your source for high-quality finance, accounting and banking candidates matched to the specific needs of your company. Call on our expert recruiters to provide staffing solutions for:


  • Accounting Clerks
  • Account Reconciliation
  • Accounting Managers
  • Auditors
  • Billing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Budget/Forecast
  • Buyers
  • Business Analysts
  • Cash Management
  • Controllers
  • Cost Accounting
  • Credit/Collections
  • Credit Analysts
  • Data Analysts
  • Financial Analysts
  • General LedgerInventory
  • Payroll Specialists
  • Public Accounting
  • Purchasing
  • Reporting Analysts
  • Staff Accountants
  • Tax Preparation


  • Account Executives
  • Loan Officers
  • Loan Servicing
  • Loss Mitigation
  • Loan Processing
  • Collectors
  • Customer Service
  • Claims
  • Foreclosure
  • Loan Administration
  • Closers

Targeted Screenings Offered

We provide comprehensive screenings and background verifications tailored to your company’s individual specifications. Services offered include:

  • In-depth background checks
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Education/certification verifications
  • Skills assessments
  • Safety training reviews
  • Compensation reviews
  • Other validations as requested

We consider every client interaction and candidate interview as a unique opportunity to find the ideal match, and our team is highly skilled in quickly identifying common goals and complementary skill sets. Specializing in the placement of administrative, customer service and clerical professionals within the corporate, legal and medical fields, we identify the best matches for direct hire, temporary hire, and contract-to-hire.

Building Your Office Foundation

One of the keys to the successful operation of any business is its administrative staff, which serves as the foundation for office, customer service, call center, sales and marketing functions. Advanced Personnel Resources understands the vital importance of building a proficient staff in these strategic areas. Our recruiting team has assembled a network of talented candidates who are ready to make an immediate impact on your organization.

Managing All of Your Staffing Needs

Whether you need a direct hire, a temporary contractor or a temp-to-hire employee, we are your source for highly qualified administrative, office, call center and customer service associates matched to the specific needs of your company. Call on our expert recruiters to provide staffing solutions for:


  • Office Managers
  • Executive Assistants
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Human Resource Assistants
  • Sales and Marketing Assistants
  • Client Service Professionals
  • Claims Examiners/Representatives
  • Project Coordinators
  • Healthcare Clerical Support
  • Legal Assistants/Paralegals
  • Receptionists
  • Data Entry
  • General Office
  • Mail and File Clerks

Call Center/Customer Service

  • Call Center Supervisors/Managers
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Account Managers
  • Inside Sales Representatives

Targeted Screenings Offered

We provide comprehensive screenings and background verifications tailored to your company’s individual specifications. Services offered include:

  • In-depth background checks
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Skills assessments
  • Safety training reviews
  • Compensation reviews
  • Education/certification verifications
  • Other validations as requested

Finding clinical and non-clinical talent with the right attitude, aptitude and skills that fit the culture and needs of your organization is a perpetual challenge. Our extensive experience in healthcare recruiting ensures you have access to this critical talent.

Partnering for Your Success

Our experienced recruiters understand the special challenges of the healthcare environment. We use targeted recruiting methods and rigorous screening techniques to locate highly skilled clinical, medical administrative and accounting/finance candidates with solid credentials. We’re committed to providing the fast, responsive service you need to meet critical staffing needs during employee transitions and shortages. In short, we become your partner, handling the staffing issues that are crucial to your practice’s smooth operation, so you can concentrate on the management of your department, office or practice. Our expertise has earned us numerous medical and dental clients and recognition as: The Preferred Staffing Provider for the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine

Managing All of Your Staffing Needs

Whether you need a direct hire, a temporary contractor or a temp-to-hire employee, we can help. Call on us to provide staffing solutions for:

  • Patient Registration
  • Medical Schedulers
  • Medical Coding/Certified Professional Coders
  • Medical Billing/Collections
  • Insurance/Claims Specialists
  • Medical Records/Data Entry
  • Practice Administrators
  • Office Managers
  • Nursing Supervisors
  • CMAs (AAMA, RMA and NCMA certifications)
  • Phlebotomists
  • LPNs/RNs
  • PAs/NPs
  • Radiology Tech/X-ray Tech
  • Lab Tech
  • Dental Technicians
  • Optical Technicians

Targeted Screenings Offered

We provide comprehensive screenings and background verifications tailored to your company’s individual specifications. Services offered include:

  • In-depth background checks
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Skills assessments
  • Safety training reviews
  • Compensation reviews
  • Education/certification/credentialing verification
  • Other validations as requested

Our LI Division employs the most seasoned talent for a wide range of Manufacturing and Distribution needs for short-term or fully customized on-site staffing solution needs.

Solutions for Your Business Cycle

Extensive experience in the industrial sector has given us an in-depth understanding of staffing needs in warehouse and manufacturing settings. Our skilled recruiters work to meet the specific requirements of your company throughout all phases of your business cycle. In addition to helping you fill year-round positions, we provide fast placement of workers when you need short-term staffing solutions for peak production loads and seasonal upswings in production and distribution. Calling on us to fill positions allows you to focus on the big picture: keeping your office, manufacturing plant or warehouse operating at peak efficiency.

Managing All of Your Staffing Needs

Whether you need a direct hire, a temporary contractor or a temp-to-hire employee, we are your source for high-quality manufacturing and light industrial candidates matched to the specific needs of your company. Call on our expert recruiters to provide staffing solutions for:


  • Warehouse Managers
  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Inventory Managers
  • Inventory Clerks
  • Dispatchers
  • Parts Coordinators
  • Shipping/Receiving

Light Industrial

  • Pickers/Packers
  • Material Handling
  • Assembly
  • General Labor
  • Forklift Operators


  • Inventory Control
  • Supervisors
  • Team Leads
  • Production Associates
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Machine Operators
  • Machinists/CNCs
  • Press Operators
  • Quality Auditors/Inspection
  • Production Workers

Targeted Screenings Offered

We provide comprehensive screenings and background verifications tailored to your company’s individual specifications. Services offered include:

  • In-depth background checks
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Education/certification verifications
  • Skills assessments
  • Safety training reviews
  • Compensation reviews
  • Other validations as requested

Our Professional Division offers extensive experience in the markets and practice areas we serve. You can trust our experts to help you make the right fit.

Top-Tier Talent for Your Organization

Our senior professional placement recruiters and search consultants have more than 25 years of experience in recruiting accomplished professionals and executives to fill key positions for small entities, midsize organizations, and large corporations and institutions. We have developed a vast network of exceptionally well-qualified candidates with a proven ability to make decisive changes that impact corporate profitability.

Managing Your Key Recruiting Challenges

Whether you need a professional, a manager or an executive, we are your source for exceptional staff. Count on our experts to provide recruiting solutions for:


  • Management
  • Operations
  • Production
  • Manufacturing
  • Supply Chain
  • Information Technology


  • Vice Presidents
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Compliance Officers
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Controllers and Assistant Controllers
  • Accounting Managers and Directors
  • Senior and Staff Accountants
  • Credit Managers and Analysts
  • Auditors and Audit Managers
  • Tax Directors and Managers
  • Treasurers/Cash Managers
  • Payroll Managers
  • Financial Analysts
  • AP/AR Professionals

Human Resources/Administrative

  • Human Resource Directors, Managers and Generalists
  • Recruiting Managers and Recruiters Benefit Analysts
  • Compensation Analysts
  • C-Level Administrative Assistants

Information Technology

  • Database Administrators
  • Desktop Support Technicians
  • Helpdesk Support Technicians
  • Network Administrators
  • System Engineers and Architects
  • Project Managers, Systems and Business Analysts
  • Quality Assurance Professionals

Sales/Customer Service

  • Sales/Marketing Professionals
  • Account/Territory Managers
  • Customer Service Managers
  • Call Center Managers

Targeted Screenings Offered

We provide comprehensive screenings and background verifications tailored to your company’s individual specifications. Services offered include:

  • In-depth background checks
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Education/certification verifications
  • Skills assessments
  • Compensation reviews

1. How do your fees work?

For temporary and temp-to-hire positions, you will be invoiced an hourly rate, times the number of hours authorized by your hiring authority. The hourly rate includes the associate’s pay, applicable statutory costs, and our fee. The hourly rate will be negotiated when you contact us to begin the search.

Our professional recruiting division recruits on a contingency basis, charging a fee based on the estimated first year earnings, and only when the referred candidate is hired. Fee negotiations and agreements occur at the onset of the recruiting process prior to candidate submissions and interviews. For executive retained search services our fees are invoiced according to the time and expense and due dates negotiated at time of contract.

2. What if the associate you send us isn’t working out?

We are proud of our reputation for quality and customer service. We will check in with both you and the associate at regular intervals to ensure all parties are satisfied. We provide coaching and counseling through our certified HR professionals. If you are not satisfied with the performance of our associate we ask that you please contact your representative immediately and a replacement can be arranged.

3. What is the benefit in using a staffing firm?

There are many recognized benefits to using a staffing agency. In fact, 90 percent of fortune 500 companies use staffing as part of their overall talent acquisition strategy. There are several reasons why a staffing firm may be the right option for you. You may need additional staff for seasonal peaks in production, or a temporary fill-in to cover a vacation or medical leave. You may need to add a full-time employee and don’t want to spend the time and money necessary to recruit top talent. Or you may want to outsource the administrative burden of managing payroll, insurance and unemployment issues. Whatever the challenges you have in identifying and hiring the right talent, APR has a solution. As the employer of record, we offer PPACA compliant health plans to all eligible full time employees. Call us for further information.

4. Why is your talent pool different than the other staffing agencies in this market?

Combing the resources with our direct hire division, we are able to attract a broader range of talent. We place many of our recruited and candidates interested in direct placement in short and long-term temporary assignments while conducting a search for direct hire employment for them. Temporary employment may not have been an option they considered until they were approached by our recruiting division. These candidates were not registered with typical staffing firms. This is a unique benefit that we at Advanced Personnel Resources, being a full-service recruiting and staffing firm, offer you. Our 30 years of involvement in local business and civic organizations and our reputation in the local business market provides the additional benefit of a continuous recruiting network.

5. What are your rates?

Our rates are based on “skill based” pricing. Each requisition requires different specifications and timelines. We will determine the bill rate prior to recruiting, screening and submitting candidates. The rate will encompass the employees pay, all statutory costs and our fee.

A large part of our role as a staffing partner is to simplify staffing for our clients. Here's an example of how educating a new user helps make their job easier:

The Problem:

Having been recently acquired by another company, this client was undergoing significant staff changes. The individual who took over the HR position was brand new to her role; as such, she needed assistance in understanding exactly how temporary staffing agencies work - and how they could help her obtain new employees.

Although the company is a high-volume staffing user, the HR manager thought she had to do everything on her own. She tried tackling the business' complex, and often immediate, staffing needs without any help from co-workers - or a staffing firm's in-house staffing experts!

The Solution:

After the new HR manager started, the staffing firm went out to her location, toured the facility and talked about some of the struggles she was facing. The staffing firm discussed several of the services they could provide to make staffing simpler and more successful, including:

  • making sure they collect appropriate information regarding job descriptions and essential job functions, to ensure accurate recruiting;
  • discussing these position specifics with each candidate before referring, to make better matches and rule out candidates who would potentially not be a good fit;
  • leveraging the recruiting power of their team to meet her high-volume needs on short notice;
  • offloading some of her most time-consuming administrative staffing burdens, to make her job easier.

The Results:

By listening to her needs, addressing her concerns and living up to our service commitments, the staffing firm became the sole source of recruiting for any of the company's available positions.

No less an authority than The New York Times recently trumpeted, “The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy.” While so many other industries have faced downturns, the staffing industry has been on the upswing as many companies realize the value of the contingent workforce.

But like so many other tools, a staffing agency is only valuable if you know how to use it right. To ensure you get the best results from using their services, follow these 10 best practices.

  1. Shop Around.

    People are your organization's most important asset, and that includes temporary employees. Treat temporary staffing as an investment, not an expense. This is not a time when cheaper is better! Instead of going for a cut-rate service that will promise you anything just to get your business, find a firm that takes the time to fill your needs correctly.

  2. Be Descriptive.

    Temp positions need job descriptions, too! And those descriptions should be well-defined, prioritized, current and submitted, in writing, to your staffing firm. They should include your expectations for candidate abilities and experience along with specific performance goals and standards.

  3. Educate Your Account Rep.

    Make sure to tell your staffing agency everything you can about your organization's mission statement, goals, culture, history and current performance. Tell them what types of work styles or personalities will fit best in your organization. Familiarizing your representatives with your company's needs and preferences will help them become a more knowledgeable extension of your human resources department.

  4. Educate Yourself.

    You should also take the time to learn about your staffing vendor's full range of capabilities, so you can take maximum advantage of their resources. A good vendor not only provides qualified candidates, staffing flexibility and cost savings, but they can also offer a great deal of staffing expertise and employee relations support.

  5. Take a Closer Look.

    Today's temporary workforce consists of many amazingly talented people who prefer a flexible work schedule. Forget that old idea of temps being just a warm body to fill a seat; today, the types of people who are “temping” are likely to be:

    • Contract professionals who can apply their expertise to employers on an as-needed basis
    • Highly skilled and dedicated workers who have had the unfortunate circumstance of being laid off due to the economy.
    • Students, parents, and others who need a more flexible work schedule.
    • Former stay-at-home parents who are re-entering the workforce.
    • Freelance professionals who don't want to worry about the legal issues of self-employment or who are not able to sell 100% of their time.
    • Recent college grads looking to sharpen their skills and gain experience.
    • People seeking to make a career transition (and using temporary work as a way to build skills and improve their resume).
    • Retired executives who now want less than full-time employment.
  6. Establish Expectations.

    Start your relationship with your staffing agency off right by setting up mutually agreeable expectations for interaction. This can include development of an order-placing procedure, appropriate quality control checks and feedback methods. Setting expectations should ensure clear communication and expedient service.

  7. Prepare Your Staff.

    Foster a positive work environment by clearly explaining to your staff where and why temporaries are being used. Open communication is the best way to encourage cooperation and keep your employees from seeing temporaries as a threat to their job security.

  8. Provide Feedback.

    Does your staffing agency deserve praise and excitement, or do they need a gentle reminder? Give them useful feedback on their service and the performance of the employees they place with you. Meet regularly to obtain their input on what you can do to enhance interaction with them and ultimately improve quality service and placements

  9. Be the Early Bird.

    The most talented temporaries are always in high demand. To ensure you get the best people, plan your hiring needs as far in advance as you can, and make sure to respond quickly when candidates are referred to you.

  10. Consider a Strategic Staffing Option.

    If your business has frequent, predictable ebbs and flows in workforce demand, strategic staffing may be right for you. Ask your agency to work with you to examine year-round fluctuations in workload and identify peak demand periods. A top agency will be able to customize a staffing plan for your business that provides employees to handle your busiest times and reduces or eliminates your need to lay off employees during slow periods.

High quality staffing firms focus on more than filling orders. They want to help you save time, save money and make it easier to find the qualified people you need to get work done. Do your part, and you'll find that while all staffing firms are not created equal, the good ones can be worth their weight in gold.

1) Advance notice.

Have an upcoming project or other big staffing need? Try to notify us as far in advance as possible. The more time we have to recruit, the better candidates you'll get. And when you have a last-minute need, we understand. Just help us to prioritize your hiring requirements, so we can refer the best fit candidates.

2) Ask for updates.

Be sure to let us know when you'd like to see progress reports on how your orders are being filled. If we ever run into a situation where we can't find the right person, we'll let you know in plenty of time to contact another firm.

3) Provide great job descriptions.

The toughest positions we are asked to fill are those where the requirements are not well-defined. The more you know about the skills, experience and personality traits of the job candidates you seek, the more accurately we'll be able to fill your requirements.

4) Give lots of feedback.

A great staffing relationship is built on open communication. Let us know what you like, or don't like, about our service. Challenge us to find ways to improve. And ask us for suggestions that might help you improve your hiring process. We work with hundreds of employers, and we can use our experience to make your hiring a lot easier.

5) Benchmark pay rates.

You'll get better job candidates and fill your openings faster when you offer competitive wages. At the same time, you don't want to overpay for talent. We can help you determine the correct pay rates based on what others are paying for similar positions.

6) Be a great employer.

Try to create a welcoming atmosphere for the temporary workers on assignment with you. Give them a strong, positive introduction to your company and their co-workers. Clearly define your performance expectations. And work with us to provide honest and direct feedback. The more positive your work environment, the more people will want to work for you!

Here is a true story. My dentist did a "clinical" evaluation of my teeth. That is his fancy way to say he looked in my mouth and stared at my teeth with his own two eyes. He found no cavities in his "clinical" evaluation. I felt happy and relieved!

But then he took a quick x-ray. Lo-&-behold, the x-ray immediately spotted a cavity hiding behind one of my fillings!!

In other words, what you see is not always what you get!!! An objective x-ray found a lot more important information than a highly trained eye.

Likewise, some applicants seem fine in a job interview. But, they then proceed to flop after you put them on the payroll. In fact, huge amounts of research prove most interviewers poorly predict how an applicant will perform if hired.

So, it is crucial for a manager to use special "x-rays" to spot potential trouble lurking within an applicant—and also uncover skills and talents that will prove beneficial on-the-job. Here are five superb "x-ray" methods you can use immediately to help you hire high-achievers—and stay away from underachievers.

1. Pre-Employment Tests

Research shows that customized tests are the best way to accurately predict on-the-job performance. You can use three types of tests:

  • Behavior tests—to evaluate interpersonal skills, personality, and motivations
  • Abilities tests—to predict brainpower in problem-solving, vocabulary, arithmetic, grammar, and handling small details
  • Character tests—to detect a "bad apple" who has a bad work ethic or might steal

Tests can be given in paper-&-pencil test booklets or on the Internet. Importantly, only use tests designed for pre-employment assessments.

Customize tests you use by doing a "benchmarking study" to find out how your highly productive, low-turnover employees typically score. Then, you can quickly compare applicants' test scores against scores of your most productive employees. Of course, you can show preference for applicants who score like your winners.

2. Remember One Truism

When I deliver my speech or seminar on Hire the Best—& Avoid the Rest™, I always point out: Whatever behavior you see from the applicant during the screening process is likely to be the very best behavior you will ever see from that person! Surely you have witnessed this truism.

Let's say you want to hire a high-energy person. Candidate A stays very high-energy during your entire screening process, including all in-depth interviews. Candidate B starts interviews high-energy (a good sign) but then acts increasingly drained as the interviews go on (a bad sign). Candidate A is much more likely to be high-energy on-the-job than Candidate B. Do not expect Candidate B to suddenly explode with energy if you hire that person.

3. Referrals from Your Best Employees

Winners hang around with winners. Losers hang around with losers. Your best employees probably hang around with high-achievers. Ask those employees to refer applicants.

4. Bio-data

I'm not referring to DNA. Instead, bio-data is biographical data. Here's how to benefit from bio-data. Grab the files on your superstar employees. Look for common work-related experiences or education that most of them have.

For example, one company I consulted wanted to hire salespeople to sell a service (not a product). Upon examining bio-data of the company's superstar salespeople, we found the high-achieving salespeople had worked selling services. Most of the company's underachieving salespeople worked in sales, also. But, the underachievers sold products, not services.

Interestingly, the same company also discovered most of its superstar salespeople worked at McDonald's for six months or longer in high school or college. This showed an interest in serving customers (after all, that is what McDonald's stresses) plus stick-to-itiveness (lasting six months or more in a normally high-turnover job). So, start digging into your bio-data treasures located in employees' files.

5. RJP

RJP stands for realistic job preview. To do an RJP, (a) show applicants exactly what they will do on-the-job if you hire them, (b) let applicants think about it for 24 hours, and (c) then ask applicants if they want to take the job. Research shows employers who give detailed RJPs get two results:

  • less employees accept the job offer
  • applicants who accept the job offer are less likely to turnover

Importantly, an RJP needs to be super-realistic. For example, I consulted a tire company that had great difficulty getting people to work in "purgatory"—a horribly hot room in which hot, just-made tires were moved on the tire molds. Anyone who worked in the "purgatory" room spent all day covered in sweat and thick white dust. No wonder most people quit that job after a short time!

I recommended using RJPs. The company worried, "Applicants won't take the job if they know too much about it!" I said let's try RJP anyway. Sure enough, after seeing this awfully hot and dusty job, only a small percentage of applicants took the job. But, those who did stayed a long time.

Do It Now

If you remember these points, you can hire the best—and profit from it:

  • what you see is not what you get—but it is the best you will see
  • use customized tests, since tests predict job success better than other methods
  • take advantage of predictors right under your nose, including referrals from winners, bio-data, and RJPs

Importantly, you can start these valuable methods today so you immediately start hiring the best.

© Copyright 2001 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

"We got the Helix job!"

Keith Radford, partner in a mid-sized technology provider, jumped up and exuberantly punched the air, "Whoo! Awright!" He turned to his partner Mike smiling, "Which parts?"

Wide eyed, Mike said quietly, "We got the whole thing."

Keith slumped down into his chair. "The whole thing?! The whole thing?! Mike, we don’t have the resources to do it all. They need application and server development, mainframe support, systems analysis, architecture...they’re even looking for web development! Most of our people are tied up on other jobs right now! Whoever thought we’d get the whole thing? What’re we gonna do?"

Mike swiveled in his chair, opened his top desk drawer and began rummaging through its contents... "Remember that guy we met with a few weeks ago...from that technical staffing company?"

"Yeah. What? You’re thinking contract hiring? We can’t afford that."

Mike pulled out the business card he’d been looking for... "I thought so too. Our business had leveled off...we didn’t have much new on the horizon, our staffing and business needs didn’t call for contract employees. But maybe now things are different."

Keith stood up and began to pace, "I dunno. Maybe we should just start on recruitment... run some ads...make some calls...I know a couple of guys..."

"We don’t have much time, Keith. Do you remember how long it took us to bring in our last programmer? While we can get a flood of resumes in here, good techs are still hard to find. And besides, what are we gonna do with these people when the job is over? This is only an eight month project."

Keith nodded. "Yeah, I know, I know. But I feel a little leery about bringing in a bunch of strangers to join our team. Who knows what they could pick up...who’s to say they wouldn’t go to work for one of our competitors next, and pass along our methods... and our contacts?"

"C’mon, listen to yourself, Keith. These contractors are pros. They wouldn’t last long in the field if they were in the habit of stealing information from their clients. It’s not in their interest to do that. And y’know, I think a few of our younger people could benefit from working with guys who have been around. They could probably learn a few things. And when the job is done, the contract workers are off our books. The initial extra expense of contract hiring is easily offset, in this case, by the payoff from getting really experienced people with the technical skills we need in here fast...when we need ‘em. It’s a win-win."

Keith nodded. "Let’s make the call."

Contract or Direct?

The popularity of contract staffing has grown dramatically in the last decade as the "just-in-time" way of doing business, particularly in the technical arena, has created new strains on competitive service delivery. For many businesses, contract hiring is an effective strategy for controlling costs and payroll obligations, managing risk, and accessing advanced skills for a specific project need that would otherwise be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to bring on board.

Is contract staffing the perfect solution for every must-hire situation? No. Each business must always weigh its short and long-term needs, its available financial and human resources, and the demands of the marketplace. What makes sense in one situation may not be advisable in another.

Generally, bringing in contract professionals makes sense when:

  • • organizational capacity is strained
  • • time demands are tight for project deliverables
  • • projects are of limited duration
  • • specialized expertise is needed on an interim basis
  • • project managers lack the time for a full-scale recruiting effort
  • • project talent cannot be easily located

Let’s face it, it takes time to hire talented, competent people. Many organizations have found that contract staffing offers a high level of flexibility and response time that’s difficult to replicate through the more traditional direct hiring route. Projects with high technical skill demands coupled with relatively short life spans lend themselves ideally to this type of response. In this situation, the client informs the staffing provider of his needs and timeframes, and the contractor then manages the personnel functions of hiring, oversight, performance evaluation, and overall coordination of the contract staff. This approach frees project leaders from the demands of ramping up staff levels and allows the client’s management team to focus more intently on project deliverables.

There is a substantial bottom-line cost affixed to recruitment/hiring, orientation, and training new staff. That payout is not always added into the expense of wages, benefits, severance (as needed) and overall personnel administration when comparing contract and direct hiring.

No One Size Fits All

There isn’t any formula for making the call as to when to use contract hiring services. In the case of Keith and Mike, they needed to quickly bring on a number of highly skilled technical staff to help in planning, designing, and implementing a large project with a demanding timeline. For them, hiring contract staff allowed them to accept a major contract that otherwise, they might not have been able to manage.

In today’s fast paced and highly competitive marketplace, the most effective businesses always pay close attention to their options, especially when it comes to workforce management. Contract or direct? It depends...what are your needs, when are your needs, what alternatives are available to satisfy those needs, and does anyone really have the time or inclination to manage recruiting in-house? Just pick the option that most cost-effectively helps you get the work done!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information, but it should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal requirements regarding co-employment and the use of temporary employees, please consult your attorney.


Contingent staffing, outsourcing, behavioral hiring. All have become commonly used buzz-words among human resource and staffing industry professionals. While the terms refer to different activities, their intent is the same: gain competitive advantage by implementing new tactics and strategies in the hiring and use of labor. If you are familiar with the current trends in staffing, that's great. If your organization is benefiting from their implementation, that's even better. If you are interested in learning more about current strategies and tactics in staffing, read on. This article outlines several popular staffing trends and provides an introduction to their use.

Contingent Work Force

Call it downsizing, rightsizing or a layoff. Companies throughout the 90's have been trimming their staffs to eliminate waste and focus on their strengths. These cuts have led to the development of the contingent work force - the people who are called in on a short-term or project basis. While using temporary help is certainly not a new concept, incorporating staffing as a part of an organization's competitive strategy is.

Companies are turning to contingent workers for a variety of needs. The idea driving this trend is simple: bring in people to meet the demand for labor or expertise only when those people are needed. Companies executing this strategy are able to reduce fixed expenses by maintaining a smaller direct (or permanent) staff. When work loads increase, they are able to bring in top quality temporary workers using a human version of a just-in-time inventory system. As an added benefit, the cost of a contingent worker is often lower than that of a full-time employees due to the elimination of benefit expenses.

Today's contingent work force crosses all lines of business and areas of functional responsibility. While temporary help used to be thought of as clerical support, the term has now come to encompass industrial, engineering, information technology and professional positions. In many parts of the country, the fastest-growing category of temporary workers are interim executives - from marketing and financial experts right up through CEOs. The following are the major staffing trends associated with the contingent work force.

Supplemental Help Fill-in for short-term demand such as a vacation or special projects. Using supplemental help allows existing staff to focus on more pressing business. It frees them from time-consuming tasks that disturb work flow and do not add much value.
Variable Capacity Staffing Strategic use of temporaries to accommodate workloads which are known to vary in seasons or other cycles. This results in consistency between the amount of work to be done and the available number of employees, keeping direct employees working at peak effectiveness. In some instances, employers have actually developed a shared work force that rotates from one business to another to accommodate each company's unique seasonal needs.
Vendor-on-Premises The temporary help supplier provides an on-site coordinator for temporary employees at a client company. Typically, these arrangements are made by large volume staffing users to simplify coordination and increase both productivity and quality across a variety of departments or functions.
Facilities Staffing The temporary help supplier assumes responsibility for staffing certain jobs or departments with disproportionately high turnover, driven by routine or mundane work. Employees are "rotated" into and out of these positions based upon productivity. As a result, performance and quality increase, while the employer's liability and headaches are reduced.

Hiring Options

The demand for good people is certainly not something new. Business executives commonly complain about the difficulty in finding and hiring producers. To handle this difficulty, many people are taking new approaches to making the hiring decision. An overview of two major tactics being used by hiring authorities follows.

Behavioral Hiring

Have you ever selected a job candidate based almost solely on that person's past work experience? Have you ever ignored a nagging doubt about a job prospect's attitude or personality, hired and later regretted your decision?

According to Ed Ryan, President of MPR Consulting, companies put too much emphasis on education and experience while neglecting two attributes he says earmark a successful candidate: behavioral traits and chemistry.

When filling a position, managers often prepare a description detailing the duties of the job. Unfortunately most people stop here. Missing is a description of the types of behaviors necessary to successfully execute these duties - a behavioral traits profile. To develop a behavioral traits profile for an available job, you must identify the company's top performers in that position. Ask yourself: "What makes these people so good?" The answers will help you uncover the behavioral traits necessary to succeed in this position.

Once a profile of the ideal job candidate has been prepared (and all the traits necessary for success have been identified), the hiring process can begin. Following a behavioral hiring methodology, every candidate must be put through a structured interview. The standard interview questions are designed to determine if a candidate possesses the desired personality traits. Those individuals having the right attitude and behaviors then undergo a review of skills and experience.

The next time you have a need to hire you may wish to consider the importance of behavioral traits and chemistry as well as experience in your hiring process. If you are not sure how to implement behavioral hiring, contact a staffing service or industrial psychologist who is.

A partial list of traits:

Intensity Very high stamina, endurance and a high level of work orientation.
Values Risk Avoidance A solid ethical system, refuses to cut corners or over-promise. Acts responsibly, avoids breaking rules.
Stress Tolerance Manages stress well.
Focus of Control Level of responsibility a person takes for his job and his actions.
Independence Ability to work well with minimal supervision.
Optimism Positive outlook on situations, ability to learn from mistakes and move on.
Leadership Skilled at directing and leading others.

Temp-to-Direct Hire

Temp-to-perm enables companies to test an employee on-the-job before committing to direct employment. This trend has become popular because it alleviates some of an employer's fears of making an incorrect hiring decision.

This strategy is an excellent way to lower the risk associated with the hiring decision. On the downside, however, many of the best applicants for a given job opening may be currently employed. These people are rarely willing to leave their current job for a temporary position even when the opportunity for permanent employment exists.

Professional Employment Organizations (PEOs)

Employee Leasing

Employee leasing is a service provided by a PEO or Professional Employer Organization. According to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, a PEO is a company that provides "integrated business services which more cost effectively manage critical human resource responsibilities and employer risks for its clients." More simply put, a PEO firm takes over the responsibility for a significant portion of the employer's functions for the workers assigned to their clients. The PEO firm contractually assumes the employer rights, responsibilities and risks. Included in those rights and responsibilities are the payroll processing, tax withholding, worker's compensation insurance, employer's share of social security tax, unemployment tax and benefits provision and administration for the leased employees.


Payrolling is a service offered by most temporary staffing services. Unlike leasing, which is a relatively new industry, payrolling has been around for a long time. In many respects, employee payrolling is like employee leasing. The mechanics are almost identical - a current employee is placed on the payroll of another firm. The payrolling firm is responsible for the payroll processing and administration including creating the paycheck, handling the statutories and governmental reporting, and supplying unemployment compensation. One major difference between payrolling and leasing is that most payrolled workers do not receive medical benefits. What most often differentiates payrolling from employee leasing is the scope of the agreement. Payrolling is frequently a project-based service used for temporary and other short- to medium-term personnel requirements. Leasing, in contrast, is designed to be used as a permanent solution to payroll and benefit administration needs. The question facing employers is: Why use either service?

A number of forces in the marketplace cause companies of all sizes to look at alternative staffing arrangements such as employee leasing and payrolling. One such force is the increasing regulatory burden of being an employer. Government reporting, compliance and administration are consuming an ever-increasing share of businesses' time and resources. At the same time, these organizations are being forced to "do more with less" due to increasing global competition and decreasing product life cycles.

Is employee leasing or employee payrolling right for you? It depends on what your company is trying to accomplish. Both services increase productivity and reduce risk.

Payrolling and employee leasing eliminate the paperwork, reporting and administrative burden of human resource management. For many small to medium-sized companies, these services provide key managers the freedom to focus on those activities which are most critical to the success of their businesses.

Employee leasing or payrolling may provide your firm with solutions to the headaches of personnel selection and administration.


Outsourcing has become a popular cost-effective method to manage non-essential functions while maintaining focus on the company's core competencies. What is outsourcing? Simply put, outsourcing is having an outside company take over some function of your business. Some business functions have always been outsourced. Accountants, attorneys and consultants are essentially providing outsourced services. The difference now is that companies are taking a hard look at their business, and determining which functions are most critical to their success. All the non-critical activities are then turned over to an outside provider (or providers) who can perform the function either at lower cost or with greater productivity.

Many market forces continue to drive the need for outsourcing:

  1. Accelerating technology has provided new product and systems capability. Taking advantage of this phenomenon, however, requires ever-increasing levels of understanding and expertise.
  2. Heightened customer expectations in areas of quality, service and price performance have required increased attention to detail.
  3. Declining product and service life cycles and an increasing need for customization has produced a myriad of added headaches for business.
  4. Globalization has created new challenges as well as new markets and new economic rules.

In short, competition and a changing marketplace are squeezing business from all sides. Companies must spend more time concentrating on the specific products or services they represent. They must reduce costs, reduce head count, flatten the organization, and redirect and focus management to increase profitability.

Outsourcing offers one way to reduce management involvement by eliminating specific administrative activities. The outsourcing partnership between company and service provider can:

  1. Reduce the cost and hassle of labor-intensive activities. For example, telemarketing may be an important part of a company's marketing strategy; however, it is a type of work that is plagued by high turnover. Rather than suffer the expense, aggravation and morale problems that can result from frequent turnover, this function could be successfully outsourced to a company that specializes in recruiting and training. The service provider should be better equipped to deal with the turnover and will take away the administrative burden of the HR functions.
  2. Lead to improved performance in areas impacted by improved technology. A service provider like EDS in information technology or MCI in telecommunications has state-of-the-art expertise in the hardware and software needed to enhance a company's technological operations. For many small to mid-sized companies, technology investments can be cost prohibitive. Through outsourcing, the costs of technology are shared with the other users of the service provider. Even for larger companies, the service provider's expertise with the technology helps assure greater efficiency.
  3. Add extra value through a risk-sharing relationship. For instance, outsourcing a mail room off-site might allow the service provider to run multiple shifts using existing equipment. By selling mail room services to other firms in need, the outsourcing provider can turn this support function into a profit center. The risk and the reward may be shared through a partnership or strategic alliance between the outsourcer and the service provider.

To determine if outsourcing is a viable alternative for your company, you must create a well-defined plan. Conduct an internal assessment to define your firm's core functions. In doing so, you may discover non-core functions which are appropriate for outsourcing.

If you discover areas to be outsourced, the next step is to determine what service providers offer the expertise you require. In selecting a service provider, you are choosing a partner for your company. Be very selective! Find a partner with experience, traits and chemistry that blend well with your company. Interview and reference check all candidates to insure that the provider can do the jobs and will provide the level of service you want.

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