Are you currently looking for a job?
If you’ve recently been laid off, or are returning to the workforce to supplement your family’s income, trying to find permanent employment can be a stressful time. Temp agencies can be a great resource for you to find either a long-term assignment or a permanent position. Here’s how to get started:
- Create a resume in Word format (.doc) even if you are applying for an entry level cashiering or laborer position. A resume a format that can be e-mailed is important because most agencies will upload your resume to their system database. You should also have printed copies of your resume, but gone are the days when you need to put it on fancy paper!
- Select 2-3 reputable staffing agencies to sign up with. You may want to ask friends, co-workers and family for referrals. If you know someone who is in HR, ask them what agencies they use. It is NOT a good idea to sign up with every agency in the city! Staffing agencies are often competing to fill the same position at a particular company, so if several recruiters submit you for the same open job, it can be a no-win situation for everyone.
- Request an in-person interview with a staffing specialist (recruiter). Make sure to dress as you would for a formal interview. Staffing specialists are taking note of your appearance, personality and attitude! They need to know if they send you out on a job or for an interview at their client’s site, you will present yourself and the agency in a good light.
- You will most likely be asked to complete several skills tests, usually computer based. Be prepared to spend up to 2 hrs if you are taking multiple tests (such as MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.). Brush up on your 10-key, typing, and computer software skills before you go, if you are applying for a job that requires these. The better your test scores are, the higher the probability of placement.
- Let them know what type of salary requirements you have, and give them your “bottom line” hourly rate. For instance, if you give a range of $13-$18 per hour, a good recruiter is going to do everything they can to get you placed at the high end of the scale, because they make more commission. However, creating a range allows you to be considered for short-term assignments at the lower end.
- Hiring trends have changed over the last few years, and many companies prefer to hire long-term “contractors” (6 mos+) or temp-to-hire (60-90 days before perm position). Decide if you’re willing to accept these types of positions and be honest with your staffing specialist. If you commit to a long-term assignment and then quit before it is completed, you will most likely be “black listed” at that agency.
- Make sure to also ask if the agency provides benefits to their employees. There are staffing agencies that offer health insurance, accrued vacation and retirement plans to their employees. Note: In California, if you are working as a temp employee and the assignment ends, you can qualify for unemployment benefits – it equates to being laid off. Check to see if similar unemployment benefits exist in your state.
- Once you’ve signed up with an agency or two, be sure to check in at least once a week to let them know your availability. Creating a good rapport with an agency can create a lasting and profitable relationship for you both!