24 Jun Know Thy Agency — How to Choose the Right Temp Agency
It’s the new economy, as you’ve probably heard.
One of the most important things you can do if you’re a job seeker is to research, network and keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. And these days, more and more people (actually, about three million!) are using temp firms or staffing agencies to help them find jobs, whether short term or permanent.
But finding the right company to partner with is more than a search on Google and an online application. Or at least it ought to be. If you want to find a temp agency that will work with you to give you the best opportunities possible, you’ll need to know what’s important to you, and do your part to be valued by them.
Five questions to ask to find the right temp agency.
- What is the company culture? It might not seem important to know the core values of an employer who mostly sends you to work in other people’s offices, but actually, understanding their philosophy can influence your decision. Some organizations are built on the idea of a transient staff (read: people who come and do a straightforward gig while they pursue other interests) and some are focused on building long-term relationships. More and more people are finding that serial short-term roles work well for their lifestyle, giving them flexibility and autonomy they couldn’t enjoy in a traditional job. But that means they want to have a stronger relationship with their staffing agency employer.
- Do they offer benefits? More and more temp agencies are offering traditional employment perks like health care, direct deposit and paid vacation days. Some people might not care about anything more than who pays best, especially if they are covered by a partner’s insurance plan, but for others it might be well worth making a little less on each job as a trade off for other important benefits.
- Are there opportunities to learn a new skill set? One of the toughest things about being competitive as a job seeker in an economy with a lot of people looking for new work is being the least qualified because of a lack of experience.
[bctt tweet=”Temp agencies can be a great go between for you and a potential job to get your foot in the door.”]
This gives you a chance to pick up new skills that you can leverage on the next position. Find out before you commit to an agency if they have clients who are willing to take on someone who has lots of potential (that’s you, right?) but short on actual prior history in a specific area.
- What is their commitment to safety? If you are looking at temporary positions in fields that are in industry, like packing, canning, forklift operations, etc, you might want to ask about precautions taken by the agency or their clients. Some agencies offer safety training for all new temps, others help execute client-specific training on-site when their employees are assigned to a role. But in any case, you want to protect yourself from any workplace injuries just as much as you would in a long-term role.
- Are they local, regional or national? Some agencies have dozens of offices from coast-to-coast and some are locally owned and operated and focus on a specific market. Why does it matter? Well, it might not. But if you’re interested in nabbing a chance at a Fortune 500 company you might discover that those clients want a temp agency that can service their needs nationwide. On the other hand, a smaller temp agency might well feel more personal, and may also cater to clients that are other local businesses tied to the community.
There are lots of things to consider when considering a new job. But a temp job sometimes gets disregarded as less important than a permanent job and not worthy of as much research and preparation. Not true. If you do your homework, ask the right questions and learn something about the different options that are out there, you’re likely to get a much better fit for your needs — maybe one that will make the short term solution a long lasting relationship.