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Not All Temporary or Staffing Agencies Are Good For You

Updated on September 6, 2010

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Not All Temporary of Staffing Agencies Are Good for You.

Will Work for Food!  With 9.6% unemployment and millions of Americans either on unemployment or public assistance, it’s pretty close to bartering for work.   If you’re one of the millions of Americans (like me) out of work, you’re posting resumes, going to job fairs and checking every place that has an open position.  If you get a call about your resume, it’s usually from a staffing agency and they’re usually tempting you with positions they claim they have available.

Since the private sector holding off on hiring, it’s become more common for temp agencies to have an inside plug on the human resourcing of companies.  Not all calls are for employment, some staffing agencies actually filling a quota for a pool of applicants.  Beware because some representatives can be misleading and if you’re desperately seeking employment, these agencies are more of a disappointment than a helpful resource.

Here’s how it will go; a representative will call you, interested in your resume for an open position at company “Blah”.  Next step, come in for an interview and usually a computer test, before they can submit you as a candidate.  You fill out a W-2, leave copies of your ID and maybe a voided check.  You leave feeling optimistic and the rep makes it sound as if they can place you at a company by next week.  Relief! 

However, days after this interview you probably haven’t heard from this representative and you call to follow up about the job at company “Blah” they said they would submit you for.  You’ll either hear “We haven’t heard back” or “The job is still open” or whatever excuse they can use to get you off the phone because they’re calling more applicants to come in and register with their agency.

Now, I’m not accusing these agencies of fraud, but it’s just a numbers game and although some agency may find you that next opportunity, the chances are slim because the competition for employment is fierce and as long as these agencies know people are desperate for work, they’ll continue to thrive.  If you really want to work, you’ve got to know how to work with and without the staffing agency:

1.       Seek agencies that are nationwide staffer that don’t need to meet with you but has job opportunities in the state that you live in.  This minimizes exposing your personal information like filling out a W-2 to agencies who never find you work or cut you a paycheck. 

2.       Only fill out a W-2 with an agency if employment has been obtained.   If they send your resume to company “Blah” and they hire you as a consultant, only then should you leave them with your personal information. 

3.       Agencies are out to make more money off of you temping then if you were hired by the company.  The company makes a killing too because they don’t pay for benefits, days off or holidays.   However staffing agencies charge companies a fee to hire you and if you’re making hourly wages, the agency receives a portion.

4.       Some agencies do not have companies paying what you’re looking to receive as a salary but they still want to use you in their applicant pool.  Before you’re misled to interview, ask them how many temps they employ making X amount of money per hour, per year.  They may tell you their clients aren’t paying that much or they don’t have any positions paying that much. 

5.       The next time a staffing agency calls you with an opportunity, ask them questions about their turn-over rate of employment. How many do they place on a weekly basis?  This will give you some indication of their consistency and if they actually place people to work or just call people to come in.

6.       Finally, ask questions and don’t believe everything just because you need a job.  It’s important to retain power, although being unemployed does feel powerless.  You are in completely control of your destiny.  The staffing agency may be a vehicle but only you can GET THE JOB!    


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    • profile image

      jim 3 years ago

      Seek is a racist company period

    • profile image

      Penny 3 years ago

      I USED TO get lots of work through Manpower and Kelly Services, and at times there were other agencies, but through the 90s and the turn of the century those other agencies seemed to dry up. Now it's getting harder and harder to stay with Manpower or Kelly because they're doing the "if you haven't worked through us for about X number of months we delete you from our database and you have to come in and reapply and re-qualify all over again" - yes, both of them. The two "top" ones. Apple One has never been able to get me any work, even in the 90s, and neither has Office Team. All of these -- the problem is that I "test out" excellently and even telephone interview successfully. Then when I have to show up in person - BAM! There it goes. They give me the courtesy interview and then they never have any work for me, and sometimes they seem to avoid my calls. Up to a point in time, Manpower and Kelly were the only ones who managed to get me ANY work AT ALL through all this - but that's because they had the contracts with companies which are really state government agencies which can't legally discriminate against someone who types 90+ wpm perfectly and scores "expert" level on all the computer software tests. Nowadays it's like pulling teeth to get back to that level even with Manpower and Kelly. Both are acting like it's only what you've been able to get through them in the last 6 months that matters. All my college degrees were in the 90s. All of my "golden years" through THEM, were back in the 90s and the Turn of the Century. I feel like a washed-up has-been and wonder if I've outlived my employability on this PLANET and why I'm still alive!!

    • GirltoGirl profile image

      Kalene Adams 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I have had horrible results from the 15 different agencies I have registered with in Atlanta. Best bet, get on linkedin, post a profile and start tying yourself in to everyone you have ever worked with. It's all about who you know. I'm now 5 months unemployed with 25 years experience. They are offering the same salary I made in 1985 without benefits. They charge the company that may want to hire you thousands of dollars making it difficult for any company to hire you permanently. If you don't hear back from them, even a courtesy call after 1 week, write them and ask them to delete your record. You can also rate any business with the Better Business Bureau or lodge a complaint.

    • profile image

      3Mer 5 years ago

      I have been a temp for 2 and a half years. I am working 3m and they have no plans on adding to there head count. I am so frustrated! I work very hard and they are very happy with my work. It is so hard to go to work everyday knowing that you will stil be a temp. No vacation time, no sick days, no health insurance, no 401k really sucks! 3M is a good company to work for unless you are a temp!

    • profile image

      Ana 5 years ago

      I've noticed when I am constantly looking at job postings from the internet (ie careerbuilder, monster, and other sites) that most of the listings are with different staffing agencies. There seems to be only about 1% of actual buisnesses that are posting. This is frustrating when you do not want to deal with these agencies. My mom has signed up with three staffing agencies which she was drawn in by an actual job listing and then of course they do not mention that position at all. I think a lot of these postings from staffers are bogus and are used merely to reel in tons of desperate people wanting a job.

    • profile image

      Ken 5 years ago

      this is awful advice. If you have bills to pay you take the temp job. Otherwise you're unemployed writing blogs on hubpages. Smart move.

    • profile image

      Informer 6 years ago

      Brilliant advice. Once you play the desperate role you are subject to all kinds of nonsense. It is time for people to stand tall and be in control.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

      Great information!!! I have known so many people who have had a nightmarish time dealing with staffing agencies, and some people who found great careers starting with a staffing agency. I guess it's a matter of being careful!

    • tectonic profile image

      tectonic 7 years ago from Singapore

      very useful information.....thanks