Using A Staffing Agency

Jesse Ohrenberger shares the inside scoop on using staffing agencies in your job search.

There are many methods for job searching, and staffing agencies can be part of the mix.

What is a staffing agency?

Staffing agencies are hired by companies to assist with filling positions. Staffing agencies are paid by the company that is recruiting (you don’t pay anything) and help to match candidates with jobs. Many staffing agencies work to fill temporary or temporary-to-permanent (temp-to-perm) positions, while others (contingency recruiters and headhunters) typically focus on filling permanent positions. Staffing agencies that connect employers with candidates for temporary or temp-to perm positions can be a great option for new graduates.

Why consider a staffing agency?

  • If you aren’t sure if a company or industry is right for you, you can try a temporary or temp-to-perm position to see if you like it. At the end of the assignment, if you aren’t keen on the position, you can ask the staffing agent for a new assignment at another organization.
  • Staffing agents know the local labor market well. They are immersed in the job search process all of the time. They know who is hiring, what the competition looks like, which companies offer which types of positions, and who the major players in various industries are. This can be particularly helpful if you are moving to a new location and don’t yet know what companies are in the area.
  • You get access to unadvertised positions when working with a staffing firm. Some staffing agencies know of positions and are looking to fill them well before they hit the general job boards. Additionally, the staffing agent is looking to make a good match because they get paid if you get hired through them.
  • You can ask for feedback. If you have ever been on an interview and then not gotten a job, you know how frustrating it can be to think that you did your best, you don’t know why you didn’t get the position, and you don’t get any feedback. You can ask the staffing agent if they got any feedback and a good staffing agency will give you tips and pointers for how to do better next time.

Staffing agencies that connect employers with candidates for temporary or temp-to perm positions can be a great option for new graduates.

Some things to remember:

  • Staffing agents work for the company, not for you. This is good because it means that you should not have to pay them, but it also means that they are not there to just get you a job. Their job is to find a good match for the company, so don’t rely on them as your only method of job searching.
  • Many staffing agencies and temporary jobs do not offer benefits. Make sure that you understand the pay, time-off, expected hours, and if there is a possibility for converting to a permanent position before accepting a position.
  • Some companies work with more than one agency and also post positions on their own HR website. Be sure to be communicative with the staffing agent so that they know if you are applying to jobs with other staffing agencies; they won’t want to submit your resume to a job if you or another agent already has.
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