Some job seekers don’t want to use a staffing agency because they think these agencies only provide entry-level, temporary jobs. Others think that agencies never provide benefits to workers. None of this is true.
A job seeker can use a staffing agency (also known as an employment agency or staffing company) to find a wide variety of jobs, including permanent jobs, in a number of industries. Staffing agencies hire everyone from entry-level workers to CEOs. Learn what a staffing agency is, and how to use one to find the right job for you.
How a Staffing Agency Works
At a staffing agency, companies pay the agency to find employees for them. Job seekers can apply to specific jobs through the staffing agency, or can simply contact the staffing agency looking for a job. The agency interviews the job seekers and places them in appropriate positions. Typically, the agency then pays the selected candidate to work for the client company.
If the company decides to hire the job seeker permanently, the staffing agency will no longer pay the job seeker. The employee will instead be paid by the company.
There are many benefits to using a staffing agency to find a job. Some benefits include:
Because the company (rather than the job seeker) is the client, you don’t have to pay to be considered for jobs at an agency.
They Do the Job Searching for You
When you sign up to work with a staffing agency, they ask you about your skills and experience and let you know if they have a job that might be a good fit for you. You can also search for jobs on their internal job site. Often, they know of job openings that aren’t available on other job sites. It is a great way to get help finding job openings.
There Is Variety
You can find staffing agencies that specialize in almost any industry. You can also find different types of jobs within almost any staffing agency. Jobs range from very short-term positions (as little as a couple of weeks) to permanent positions.
There Are Often Benefits
Some staffing agencies provide benefits after employees have worked a certain number of days or hours. These benefits may include health insurance, a retirement plan, or even tuition reimbursement (or all three).
They Give You Feedback
Most staffing agencies provide you with feedback throughout the job application process. They might give you tips on how to revise your resume or provide advice on how to successfully interview. This kind of free feedback is invaluable.
Types of Available Jobs
Some people think staffing agencies only fill temporary secretarial and administrative jobs, but this is not the case. You can find a job in almost every industry through a staffing agency.
Some staffing agencies (including Kelly Services and Adecco) work with all kinds of companies, while others specialize in particular industries. Medical Solutions, for example, focuses on healthcare jobs. TEKsystems staffs companies with IT hires.
Agencies also offer jobs that last for varying lengths of time. These include:
Companies often look for temporary hires to help during an employee’s absence or period of leave, or during a busy work period. Sometimes they hire temporary workers to complete a particular project. These temporary jobs range in length from a couple of weeks to many months.
Also known as temp-to-perm jobs, these positions begin as temporary jobs so that the company can get to know the employee on a trial basis. Then, if the company is happy with the employee’s work, they will likely hire him or her directly. While the staffing agency will typically pay for the worker during the temporary phase, the company will then take over paying the employee when he or she becomes a full-time hire.
Some staffing agencies hire candidates for permanent positions at companies. In these situations, the agency works more like a traditional recruiter, finding, interviewing, and selecting candidates for the company. In this case, the company pays the agency a fee. If the company hires an employee, they pay for the employee.
Many agencies offer a variety of all three of these kinds of jobs, although some specialize. For example, Frontline Source Group focuses on hiring temporary workers.
How to Find the Right Staffing Agency for You
When you are looking for a staffing agency to work with, make sure you know the kinds of industries the agency deals with, and whether they offer temporary, temp-to-hire, or permanent jobs—or all three.
Check out the American Staffing Association’s online directory to find reputable staffing firms. You can search for firms in your area. You can also search by employment options (temporary, long-term, etc.) and industry.
When you interview with a staffing agency, feel free to ask questions. Ask about what benefits (if any) they offer, what kinds of jobs they typically fill, the industries they work with, and the average time it takes for a job seeker to land a job. The recruiter you work with is there to help you, so don’t be afraid to gather all the information you need.
Check into whether or not the agency has any services, such as workshops to help you develop skills or counselors who will help you with your resume and cover letter. If these are available, take advantage of them.
Also, keep in mind that you should never have to pay a staffing agency to help you find a job. Reputable staffing agencies are paid by companies, not by job seekers.