In the News

Why (and how) you should work with an agency… by, Mandy Smith

jobI first came across temp agencies in college. I was home for the summer and needing to work. (Because apparently sleeping in until noon everyday wasn’t going to work for my parents. I was mildly bummed).

I was surprised at how easy it was. You go in, you test, you interview, then you get a call a few days later and bam, you have a job for __ amount of days. Beautiful!

Obviously things have slightly changed. It’s not easy to just walk in somewhere, get a job, and walk out smiling. Regardless, if you are on the job market, you should be registered with an agency.

Agencies have a bad rep. Unfortunately, there are a few bad eggs out there. But why let them ruin it for the rest of us. That’s unfair!

Working with an agency is simple. Some things you may not know/should know:

–         Recruiting firms actually do have strong relationships with clients. Meaning, our job is to seek out the clients that we can best service. When you combine our brand with a compatible client, you get a very strong staffing relationship. Often clients use us exclusively. If there’s an open job, we get the order. What does this mean for you, as a candidate? Agencies are an instant connection to a lot of hard-to-get-into companies. Simple enough. A lot of companies do a lot of their hiring externally. And these external resources = agencies. Obviously, different recruiting companies work with different client companies. Some are in niche markets. Some are boutique firms (like us. Which, by the way, just means we are smaller/seek out very specific client companies, and offer focused service to our clients.)

–         Recruiting firms consist of recruiters. (Not to make you feel dumb, of course.) But people tend to forget this. Sometimes it’s not so much about the recruiting firm you’re working with, but the individual recruiter. When you work with an agency, try to develop a strong relationship with a recruiter. Sometimes the “click” doesn’t happen. If so, move on to a recruiter that really listens, asks the deep(er) questions, and tells it to you straight. It’s a bit amazing how long a candidate/recruiter relationship can last. I still talk to candidates I met with 4 years ago. When you build a good rapport, the relationship can carry you through your career. They are always there.

–         Flexibility and communication go a (really) long way. If you’re a temporary candidate who wants to be on call for same-day assignments, it’s important to…actually be on call for same-day assignments. Few things are more frustrating on our side than a candidate who goes MIA. Um…where’d you go Mr. Anxious-to-Work? Communicate. If you decide to move to New Zealand, GREAT! Send a postcard. And on that postcard, let us know you’re no longer available. (It’ll likely stay tacked on the wall for a good 3 years. I think that’s the record for our office). In addition, be a flexible candidate. If you want to do an administrative job, consider doing reception on some days. It’s best to not walk into a recruiting firm with a shopping list the size of Texas with jobs you DON’T want. As a temporary worker, if you’re far too specific, it’s going to be far too difficult to find your idea of perfection. Open yourself up and you’ll be surprised at what ends up being a good fit.

–         Let us be the experts. And use our knowledge. I know we all like to think we know it all about every topic…but, we don’t. I haven’t a clue about car parts. Therefore, I go to a mechanic. (Or my dad. Story for another day.) Well, same thing when it comes to career hunting. If you need advice about jobs, resumes, networking, the market, relocation, benefits, state laws, etc etc etc, you can go to your recruiter. We’re your employment encyclopedias. Finding jobs, finding candidates, and matching the two are what we do with a large part of our lives. And it’s amazing the wealth of information we find along the way. If you have a question about overtime, you should ask it. If you’re curious about how Company A hires a temp-to-perm candidate, ask. If Company B tickles your fancy, why not ask if we work with them? Maybe we don’t, but maybe we know someone who does. We network. We know a lot of HR professionals. We’re connectors. We’re experts. (You’re welcome.)

Recruiting firms = friends. Maybe we won’t have the right job for you…but hey, maybe we will. Those on the job market who are out and about, creating relationships with recruiters, registering with a number of firms, staying communicative and flexible, and being honest are the ones who will have a greater selection of jobs to choose from.

Oh, and because I know you’re dying to know: I worked three temp jobs that summer. Job one: standing in front of copier for 8 hours a day. In heels. Because I wanted to prove I was an A+ professional. Job two: at a plumbing company, calling in “orders.” I loved it. It’s amazing what I learned about clogged up pipes. Job three: reception at a doctor’s office. The unique part of this job? Her patients were terrified of her. Terrified. It made for good stories.