Marathon Staffing

Drive Business Results with These Best Practices for Your Staffing RFP Process

An RFP process can be beneficial for companies who utilize a significant amount of staffing services, whether that be in a specific site or across a large geographic area. As inflation continues to affect all businesses, managing your temporary labor and contingent workforce spend is more important than ever. How can you help your company issue an RFP that will drive results?

Here are some best practices for companies to follow when issuing an RFP for staffing services:


  • Define your needs: Before you write the RFP, be clear on the specific types of staffing services you require. This includes the number of positions you need filled, the skill sets required, and the desired timeframe. Bring in all the involved stakeholders to hear what is important to them (cost, retention, training, safety, etc.) and include these priorities in your RFP.
  • Research potential vendors: Don’t just rely on who you already know. Look for staffing firms with experience in your industry and a proven track record of filling similar positions.
  • Consider using an RFP template: There are resources available online and through professional organizations that can provide a starting point for your RFP or request Marathon’s Staffing RFP Template here.
  • Decide who will be the Decision-Makers: Who will evaluate the RFP responses and be part of the selection committee? Will it be HR/Operations/Finance/Purchasing/C-Suite or a group that represents these functions or others who are knowledgeable about the company’s staffing needs?

Writing the RFP:

  • Clarity and Concision: Strive for a clear, concise, and well-organized document. Avoid jargon and technical terms that potential vendors may not understand to ensure the responses that you receive back are well-informed.
  • Provide Background Information: Briefly introduce your company and the nature of your staffing needs. Make clear your company’s priorities and what is important to your workplace culture.
  • Detailed Job Descriptions: Include detailed descriptions of the open positions, including required skills, experience, and qualifications. Staffing providers need to know details to evaluate the positions from a workers compensation cost perspective to give you the most accurate pricing.
  • Establish Placement Requirements: List the set of pre-requisites that your company has as a standard for your temporary workforce. Examples include: E-Verify, 7-year pre-employment background check, 10 panel pre-employment background check, skills testing results, etc.
  • Specify Evaluation Criteria: Outline the factors you will use to evaluate proposals. This could include experience, qualifications, cost structure, and cultural fit.
  • Timeline and Submission Guidelines: Set a clear deadline for proposals and specify the method for submissions (electronic or physical).

Additional Tips:

  • Be Realistic About Budget: Don’t lowball your budget in the RFP. A competitive budget will attract higher quality firms. Transparency into the volume of staffing services at hand will help staffing companies present you with their most competitive pricing.
  • Focus on Value, Not Just Cost: While cost is important, the best staffing partner will offer more than just the lowest price. Look for firms that can demonstrate a strong understanding of your needs and a commitment to finding the right talent. Programs that reduce staff turnover may save more money in the long run compared to a 1 or 2% reduction in mark-up.
  • Facilitate Communication: Encourage potential vendors to ask clarifying questions before submitting proposals.
  • Paint the Picture: Explain what your company expects will be the end result of the RFP.  Will multiple staffing partners be awarded a contract? Will there be a primary/secondary vendor or tiers established? Will you enter into a round of interviews for short-listed RFP participants?

By following these best practices, you can create an RFP that attracts qualified staffing firms and helps you find the best partner to meet your workforce needs.

Written by:

Kendra Strickland
Chief Operating Officer