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Working With a Staffing Agency

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by Charlotte Gurney

Putting staffing firms to work for you

Staffing firms provide a simple service – connecting employers and employees. Many staffing firms have distinct areas of specialization (Information Technology, Life Science, Engineering, etc.), so when selecting a staffing company, investigate their web sites to determine which providers are best able to serve your needs.

Many hiring companies take advantage of a particular staffing firm exclusively. Having your resume on file at several staffing firms provides access to jobs not listed elsewhere. It also increases your chances of finding a match. Along with practice specialization, most firms offer a variety of employment options to job seekers, including:

- Contingent placement: providing short- or long-term temporary employment

- Contingent-to-hire: assignments that may convert to direct-hire jobs

- Direct-hire placement: recruiting candidates for full-time opportunities

- Professional search: connecting hard-to-find talent with niche industry positions

For contingent positions, the candidate is employed by the staffing firm itself, assigned to work at the client company. In most cases, employees receive benefits that match or exceed the industry standard. For professional search and direct-hire placements, staffing firms recruit a candidate on behalf of their client, and the employee immediately begins working for the client company. The American Staffing Association offers additional definitions of staffing services to assist you.

Tips for working with a staffing firm

- When working with a staffing firm, there is NEVER A FEE to the candidate. The staffing firm’s fees are paid by the hiring company.

- If applying to a position listed on a staffing firm's website, make sure to specify the position, and if available, the location, job/position number, and contact name for that posting.

- A word version of your resume is preferred (unless otherwise specified) with your updated email address and contact information included.

- The same guidelines apply to supplying resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. The recruiter is working as an agent for the hiring company, as well as representing you to those companies. Make the same effort to impress them as you would to impress any potential employer.

 - If you have resumes on file with several staffing firms, make sure you keep them all current, including certifications, additional education, or new work experiences. The more skills you have on file, the better your chances of matching the criteria for an open position.

Advantages to working with a staffing firm

There are many reasons why working with a staffing company might be perfect for you.

- Staffing firms know where the jobs are: Businesses of every size, in every industry, rely on staffing firms for qualified, reliable talent.

- Flexibility for your life: Many employees enjoy the flexibility of short-term opportunities available through staffing firms, completing one assignment and moving on to another, often with different employers.

- A portal to long-term employment: About three-quarters of contingent employees move onto become full-time employees at the client companies. Temporary assignments enable you to get your foot in the door with a hiring company, increasing your odds of finding a permanent position with the company.

- Broad selection: Staffing firms can expose you to a variety of companies, jobs and opportunities.

- Free training: Many staffing firms offer employees an array of free training - from common office software tutorials to information technology products and programs.

Staffing firms can play a vital role in an effective job-search strategy, providing skilled candidates with a variety of opportunities with respected companies locally and worldwide. 

Find one that serves your industry, and they just may find a job for you.
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