How To Get A Job Through A Staffing Agency

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 2, 2020

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Staffing Agencies — otherwise known as staffing firms, employment agencies, or recruitment companies — are organizations that work with companies to find new employees suited for a particular job. They offer guidance, services, and exclusive access to finding the position that best fits you.

Learn more about what staffing agencies do, how they work, and how to get a job through a staffing agency below.

What Do Staffing Agencies Do?

Staffing agencies provide job opportunities at all levels of work experience and in any industry. They are free to job-seekers and offer several benefits and services to help you in your search for employment.

Many people think these agencies only offer short-term or temporary work opportunities, but this simply isn’t the case. Staffing agencies can provide a great jumpstart to establishing your full-time career.

If you have been searching for a job and getting a bit discouraged at your prospects, staffing firms are an excellent way to expand your job search and find the right position for you.

How a Staffing Agency Works

Staffing agencies are paid by companies looking to find workers. The process of recruitment, interviewing, and finding the right person for a position can cost companies a lot of time, energy, and money. Staffing agencies help cut down on these costs by doing much of the onboarding work and offering talented, pre-screened workers.

On the job candidate’s end, you begin the process by contacting the agency — typically online or via phone — or by simply applying to jobs through the recruitment website. This is your way of signing up for the agency. The recruiters then review your resume, professional skills, and work experience and decide how to best proceed.

Oftentimes you will receive feedback or follow-up questions based on your application. It’s in the staffing agency’s best interest to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Therefore, they typically help you optimize your resume and give you tips on explaining your work experience or any concerns an employer may have.

The staffing agency then conducts an interview that is akin to a regular job interview. A potential company may or may not be involved in this process. The final decisions are then made on which position or positions best fit you.

Once you’ve found a job, the staffing agency acts as a middleman between you and the company where you now work. They will handle all the paperwork of your employment, and they will provide you with your wages for as long as you remain a “temporary employee.”

Suppose the company you work at as a temporary employee likes your work and considers you a good fit. In that case, they will then directly hire you and take over payment and other responsibilities from the staffing firm.

How to Work with a Staffing Firm

Working with a staffing firm is relatively easy and — best of all— completely free. You should avoid any service which requires you to pay a fee as a job candidate.

When working with a staffing firm, decide what type of work you want and in what industry.

There are many different types of staffing firms to choose from based on your work needs and desires. A staffing firm will often work in one specialized industry, such as marketing or healthcare, or in specific cities or locations. There are also staffing firms that work with just about any company, and these can be an excellent option for anyone not tied to a specific kind of work.

One of the best ways to find a staffing agency to work with is by doing an online search and looking through your options. The American Staffing Association website offers a comprehensive directory of effective agencies that can be helpful to search through.

Staffing agencies offer different types of jobs, including temporary or temp positions, temp-to-hire positions, and even traditional permanent employment positions.

Temporary positions will have a set end date, whereas temp-to-hire positions are more like “trial runs,” and if an individual ends up being a good fit, the company will hire them permanently. When you’re hired for permanent positions, you’re hired for good (unless, of course, you quit or are terminated).

You can work with multiple staffing agencies at once, and you can also work with agencies in conjunction with independent searching through job boards and other means. Just be sure to keep track of which positions you have applied to so that you don’t end up applying more than once.

Seven Tips for Getting a Job Through a Staffing Agency

  1. Choose the right agency. As mentioned above, staffing firms often work in specific industries. If you know what industry you’d like to work in, it’s best to choose one of these specialized agencies.

    Agencies specializing in specific industries often have a wealth of information about the industries they specialize in, including insider knowledge and connections to major companies and individuals. Specialized agencies can help you find a job more quickly and advise on how to make yourself a more appealing candidate in this industry.

    Regardless of whether you choose a specialized or general agency, be sure to pick one that’s reputable. Research the agency and ask them questions about their success rate and how quickly they place an average candidate in a position. Never work with an agency that requires you to pay a fee.

  2. Take advantage of staffing services. Staffing agencies want you to succeed, and many of them offer services and feedback that can help you with this. These services include feedback on your resume or interview, workshops, training courses, or even career counselors.

    You can check to see what services the agency provides, or you can ask about it during your initial consultation. Be sure to take full advantage of them, and implement whatever feedback or tips they give to improve your chances of success.

  3. Treat the interview like a regular job interview. The staffing agency will set up an interview with you as part of their standard procedures to review your skills, work experience, and goals. This interview plays a vital role in how the agency determines the best position for you.

    For these reasons, it’s crucial to take this interview as seriously as you would any other job interview. Dress professionally, show up on time, and be positive. Prepare beforehand by researching common interview questions or even staging a mock interview.

    After the interview, consider asking for feedback on how you did. This shows that you’re a good sport who’s willing to learn. It also gives you invaluable advice on how to approach job interviews in the future.

  4. Be honest at all times. A staffing agency’s goal is to help you put your best foot forward and land a job. It’s essential to be completely honest with the agency so they can find a position that fits your needs and help cover your back.

    Tell them upfront what type of job you are looking for and what job offers you would not accept. For instance, if you won’t accept a job that doesn’t have a possibility of leading to permanent employment, say this rather than having to explain your rejection of a temporary position down the line.

    You also want to be honest about your employment history. If there are significant employment gaps on your resume or a specific reason you were terminated from a position, tell them. They’ll be able to help you explain these circumstances to your future employer.

  5. Check in frequently. Once you begin working with a staffing agency, you will ideally have potential positions open to you within the first week. If you’ve applied for a job through an agency, you will also ideally hear back within a week. If it’s been over a week and you’ve heard nothing, check back in.

    Consistently follow up with any staffing agency you are working with each week to reiterate your interest and show that you are still looking to find work. You can even consider sending a follow-up or thank you email after your initial interview to demonstrate interest and professional skills.

  6. Be open-minded to different types of work. If you really want to increase your chances of landing work, be open to all the different types of employment offered by the agency.

    You may really want a permanent job — fair enough. However, temporary jobs can also provide great experience and great pay. They can also lead to permanent employment, even for positions that are not strictly listed as temp-to-hire.

  7. Use agency resources to prepare for your new job. If a job prospect has opened up for you, you can use the resources provided by your staffing agency to help transition into this new position.

    Ask the agency for all the info you will need to succeed on your first day on the job, including how to dress, whom to report to, and what to expect. If there is a secondary interview with this company, the agency can help you prepare with tips and feedback.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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