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General staffing firms and Subject Matter Expert (SME) staffing firms are two services a business can choose to fill roles for projects. They both involve the placement of a consultant, but serve very different purposes. Finding the right kind of staffing firm for your business starts with a look inward. Getting the best understanding of the projects you need to complete will help you decide which firm to use. Focus on the requirements needed for the project’s success such as skill, size, and time.


The skill needed for a project is an extremely important factor in deciding which staffing firms to use. What skills are needed? What subject areas must be understood? How well? These questions will help you picture your ideal staff. Once you have a good grasp on the skill needed, you can start to figure the other two components: size and time.

If you are looking to fill entry-level spots with basic skills, you should use a general staffing firm. This will provide quicker placement and is more cost-effective than an SME staffing firm. If you need to staff a high-level, managing, and/or specialized skillset role, you should go with an SME staffing firm. You can also use a mix of both. If you need to enlist a number of low-level roles but lack the in-house staff to manage them, you can add an SME firm to your general staffing strategies to manage the project.


The magnitude of the project can also inform your decision to use general and/or SME staffing firms. This is where you must also consider your budget. If you need to complete an extensive project but do not have the budget to place all roles with subject matter experts, you have a few options. You can increase the timeline of the project (more on that later). You can also decrease the number of roles you are filling. This will likely lead to a decrease in the size of the project. Or, you can decrease the scope, requiring the staffing of less SMEs and general roles to a level which you can afford. This will result in a less expansive project but may not affect the size of it.

You will likely blur the lines with large projects, using general and SME staffing firms in tandem in order to carry out large operations. As mentioned above, SME staffing firms can be used to fill in holes in managerial infrastructure. If your project moves away from your central business aim, you will likely lack the talent needed to direct the project to success. SME staffing firms can help your business attain the aims of the project without diverting in-house resources away from other important operations.


Time is a crucial element to consider when deciding which firm to use. The timeline of the project along with its scope will relate to the number of roles you need to staff; a large project with a short timeline will require lots of roles, while a small project with a long timeline will require very few roles.

Subject matter experts can be quite expensive to staff, so you need to be acutely aware of the project’s duration before considering an SME approach. Like the other two variables, you must balance the timeline with your budget. You might need to extend your timeline if your budget does not allow for enough or any SMEs, so that you can task less-skilled, and thus less expensive, consultants with the project.

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The second blog in our series focused on the client-end of the staffing industry, we are excited to share this post with you! You can also check out the first blog in the series, which discusses IT Staffing and Consulting Firms. Follow along on our site’s blog for more related posts, and check in with us on LinkedIn and Facebook for blog updates and more!

About Us

blueStone Staffing is a Certified Woman-Owned IT Staffing Company. We were founded in 2002. One of North America’s premier staffing firms, we assist mid-tier to Fortune 500 clients. We find talented candidates that can help complete your project on time and within budget. Our company is transforming the staffing industry. blueStone has excelled over the last 19 years, becoming the vendor of choice for many of the Fortune 1000 companies located in the United States. We hope to be the consultant that you trust your professional IT project needs to! We will surround you with meaningful attention. Our team creates long-term relationships with our clients, candidates, and associates. In brief, we help great people execute their vision.

Contact us to learn how we can help your company fill roles that seem impossible to staff.
Phone: 888-363-4800

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