Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Utilizing Temp and Staffing Agencies

I know a lot of people that get really turned off by the thought of a staffing or temporary placement agency.  I'm here to tell you why it's worth it.

My first summer after college, I quit my job in sales after three months and worked in Colorado for two weeks filling in for someone.  My now-sister-in-law told me about using temp agencies between jobs to keep the cash flow going.  I had never even heard of them, but looked into it upon my return to Minnesota.  After a callback from an agency, and a quick interview with paperwork, I got a call to start a job at Wells Fargo. 

I temped at Wells Fargo for 18 months.  That was a long time.  Exceptionally long from what I know about the temporary staffing world.  This is one of the negatives...but likely will not be your experience.  You are also not getting a 401K matched, benefits, etc.  BUT if you choose, you can carry benefits through your staffing agency and put money away into an IRA or whatever you prefer.  And I was lucky enough to have a husband with excellent benefits to cover me. 

Another negative is that you are very at-will.  Should there be staff cuts or layoffs, temps are going to be released first.  But your temporary status also makes it a bit easier to leave if your dream job comes along. 

And now for the positives! 

-- It is generally easy to get hired for a job QUICKLY.  Provided you are an acceptable candidate.

--Pay is generally higher than normal because the company is in a pinch and will pay for someone to start fast.

-- There are long term temporary positions, so that you are not having to go to a new office every week or two.  You can really settle in to your work environment. 

-- But, if you have a funky schedule, you can let them know exactly when you are available and you can be placed for short term positions that work for you. 

-- Vacation is easier to obtain (although it is unpaid).  For instance, I was able to take almost two weeks off for my wedding, without problems or worrying about running out of PTO. 

-- Some staffing agencies offer DIRECT HIRE positions.  This basically means that someone finds you a job matching your wants and needs for free.  Hellooooo, stress relief!

-- If you are hired after completing a temporary assignment, my experiences have come with a large raise.  At each of my jobs, when being asked to come on with the company, I was offered a three dollar raise.  Add that to the already higher starting wage, and you're sitting pretty good!

-- You can also usually avoid interviews, as you are generally placed at an assignment without going to the site prior to your first day, AND if they decide to hire you, they already know you and won't have to put you through the ringer ;)

Some Extra Advice:

  • Make sure your agency knows exactly what you're looking for, and don't be afraid to turn down positions that are not the right fit.  You want to stay on your agency's good side, and not completing assignments might lead to trouble. 

  • Keep your staffing coordinator in the loop while you are on assignment.  They like to know how things are going and can advocate on your behalf in the event of problems or questions that need to be addressed. 

  • Treat your assignment as YOUR JOB.  Just because you are a temporary worker, does not make you less of an employee.  You must still sell yourself and your skills.  You never know when an opportunity might open up for you!

  • As with any job:  be prompt, be gracious, and kick ass!

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