Working for a Staffing Agency
I am looking to get any advice you have regarding working for Staffing Agencies for temporary or temp-to-hire positions in my town? I plan to switch to a different field. I can use my past employment skills for the new field. I feel now is a good time to have a fresh start in a new field as many companies have downsized to reduce costs. I am also thinking that there would be more work available through the agencies. To end, do you have any specific advice for negotiating a wage when employed by the agencies? I do not have a degree and the field I refer to does not require a degree. I just want to make sure I am on the right track as I go about this.
Thank you for suggestions/advice with anything I might be missing in the thought process.
You are on the right track—staffing agencies hold the keys people can use to unlock this tough market. Human resources departments have been scaled back and are stretched thin. They often rely on professional staffing firms to help them recruit and to hire both temporary and full-time employees. In fact, staffing agencies often get the job posting from companies first, rather than the company advertising it to the public.
“The key to getting a great position through a staffing agency is this: Treat the agency as if they were a “real” employer—because they are,” says MaryAnn Raash, Milwaukee District Leader for SEEK Careers and Staffing. “If they don’t listen to instructions, or they dress in a sloppy way, or continually hound us, it reflects poorly on them as a candidate.”
Here are some specific tips from Raash:
- Follow instructions to the letter. Every service is different, so stop in or go to their website to find out what the steps are. We have people who constantly call us but we keep telling them they need to follow the instructions first before we can see them. It can feel like stalking. If they don’t listen to us, they probably won’t listen to an employer. The sequence is often: 1. Send in a resume or submit one online. 2. Fill out an online application. 3. Clerical or other testing. 4. Face-to-face interview.
- Put a resume together, no matter what job category you are in.
- Distinguish yourself on your resume. In other words, what results did you get, what did people say about your customer service, work ethic, or team attitude? What value did you bring to the company? Put a “benefit statement” on your resume. In other words, what are you going to do for the employer? Focus on how you can help the company save money, make money, serve customers, produce a quality product, and so on. This will go a long way to get your foot in the door.
- Find a way to get a face-to-face meeting. Some agencies don’t encourage this but how can they know how you come across unless they meet you in person? Even if you just stop in and get a few minutes with someone, you will have them as a contact.
- Dress as if you could be hired on the spot—because you could be. For manufacturing-related jobs Dockers and a nice shirt would be fine. For office jobs, a blazer and nice slacks, for higher level jobs, a suit—however you would show up for work in your field.
- Treat the service as if it is the only employer you want to work for. Says Raash, “I’ve had people say, ‘Well I don’t remember if I sent that in or not, I’ve called so many agencies…”
- Don’t be so quick to turn down project work. Project work often turns into a good job because the employer falls in love with the person. Companies are gun shy and don’t want to offer jobs before they test someone out.
- Write a hand-written thank you note. “I can count on one hand the number of personalized thank you notes I’ve received. Those people really stand out in my mind—and when you realize we can be in contact with 100 people a day-- that’s a big advantage. I don’t care if you go out to your car and write the note and bring it in and leave it at the front desk…it makes a difference.
- The jobs dictate the salary, and the staffing service determines what the job will pay, so there isn’t as much room for negotiation. However, if you do a good job for an employer, you are in an excellent position to negotiate based upon how much they can see you’re worth.
Do you need answers to tough job hunting questions? Are you looking for some added punch to help you stand out from the crowd? Joan Lloyd’s has developed job hunting tools that can help you to maximize your job search:
Savvy Negotiation Strategies to Get Paid What You’re Worth on a New Job (Detailed, 8-page PDF by email – no shipping charge)
Easy, Step-by-step Guide to Using the Internet to Land a Great Job (Detailed, 10-page PDF by email – no shipping charge)
The Resume That Opens the Door and the Interview That Gets the Job (Detailed, 37-page PDF by email – no shipping charge)
Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership & presentation skills training, team assessment and teambuilding and retreat facilitation. Joan also provides consulting skills training for HR professionals. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.
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