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How to Choose which Temporary Agency to use

Updated on March 22, 2010

Have you been looking for a job awhile? Have you decided that maybe it's worth a try to sign up with a temporary agency? Have you opened up the phone book and realized how many are listed in your area? This can stop the most well meaning job searcher. How do you know what temporary agency is the best one? 

In most areas you will have a choice of which temporary agency you want to sign up with. You have a choice on how to pick which agency you use as well. Of course you can always close your eyes and point down and whichever one your finger lands on, apply...or you can read this article for some fabulous tips on finding the right temporary agency for you to use. 

What is the employment specialty?

If you are working light industrial, you don't want to sign up for an agency that does administrative and office positions. You need to make sure that the temporary agency deals with the type of work you are looking for. Most temporary agencies will work with a few different job specialties. If this is the case, make sure that they are well respected in your specialty area.  

Is the office professional?

The office is going to be contacting employers on your behalf. Do they seem like they are professional? I walked into one temporary agency to sign up and was ignored for almost a half an hour. I am still surprised that I had enough patience to stick around for them to finally help me. When they did, it wasn't anymore professional then my first impression.

If you're looking for a nice professional employer, make sure the agency you use is professional first. 

Do they offer benefits?

A lot of temporary agencies will have a benefit plan you can sign up with. Most of the time it isn't the agencies plan, but it is a group plan offered to several temporary agencies. You will sign up with the plan and the temporary agency will give you the paperwork and numbers to contact. They will take the amount of money for the plan out your paycheck each week. If you need benefits be sure and ask if it is something they offer. I have been lucky enough to find agencies that offer benefits, but some of them don't.

The Process

Most of the time a temporary agency will start out by handing you the paperwork. You will fill out the application and maybe a questionnaire. You fill out this information and then you are set up for testing. You'll probably do computer testing (Microsoft Word, Excel, Typing, and 10-Key) After your testing is finished you will have your interview.

You should be prepared to spend a couple of hours at the temporary agency, and be prepared for computerized testing.

While filling out the paperwork, use this time to observe the office. Are the phones busy? How is the traffic? Do the people coming in the office look like they are professional? This is a great time to get an inside look at the agency and that will help you decide if it is the one you want to choose. 

During the Interview

Interviewing with the temporary agency is an important time for both you and the agency. By this time they've usually tested you and know what the scores are. They can tell if they think you'll be marketable or not. It's during this time you also need to ask them questions and find out if they are a good fit for you or not.

What type of job are you looking for? Let the agency know what type of work you are interested in. Maybe your resume is full of Customer Service, but you want to move in the direction of Marketing. Let them know what your goals are, so they can find a good job match for you.

Is the company interested in what you're looking for? A good temporary agency will ask you what type of assignment you want, and what type of work you'd like to do. They want their employees to be happy on the assignments they are given.


One More Thing To Consider

If you are signed up with a temporary agency don't feel like you have to work exclusively with them. You can still look for permanent employment. You can sign up with another temporary agency. Don't let the fact that they are scoping out potential assignments stop you from your own job search. 

Okay, as great of decision-making tool, closing your eyes and pointing is, don't let that be the only one you use when choosing a temporary agency. I hope this article has given you some criteria to use when choosing a temporary agency. Temping can be a great experience, but choosing the right agency will help you get positive results. Good luck in your job search! 


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    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hey RRG, have you seen the movie "Dave" in which Kevin Kline (Dave) has a temp agency? He did everything to get his people jobs.

    • rocknrodeogirl profile image

      rocknrodeogirl 7 years ago from The Columbia Gorge

      Thanks! ;)

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Good advice and I think a lot need this! Thanks for helping us on our way to finding our steps towards a real career, rodeogirl!