For decades on end, staffing agencies have been providing a number of services to employers as well as finding employment opportunities for job seekers across the nation. Also known as employment agencies, these companies, whose employees are sometimes referred to as head hunters, act as a recruitment service for employers who outsource their hiring needs. In theory, staffing agency employees specialize in specific industry knowledge (depending on the company that uses their services) and serve as a type of human resources professional by seeking out, recruiting and hiring individuals for specific jobs, conducting and dealing with payroll responsibilities, and dealing with other issues such as disciplinary actions and employee claims on behalf of the company that employs them.
While these companies are a great resource for employers that do not wish to dabble in hiring affairs, and for job seekers having difficulty landing a steady position, there are a few things that job seekers in particular should know. Typically, when a job seeker applies with a staffing agency, a number of things will happen. First, the candidate will be interviewed for the position about which they inquire. If all goes according to plan, the candidate is then hired on a temporary contract with the staffing agency and then released to the company for full-time employment at a later date. In the event that the candidate is not selected for the particular position they for which they apply, the staffing agency will keep their name in a job bank on file within the agency. Any potential job matches will then be flagged and the candidate will be contacted in the event that future matches meet their needs.
An important to note to make that sometimes throws interviewees off and even deters them from wishing to interview is that most staffing agencies require a computer skills assessment examination before they will even interview you for one of their jobs. It is a good idea to sharpen up on your skills before going to the interview. Unfortunately, some staffing agencies will not interview you for any jobs if you refuse to test or fail a number of tests. So again, practice, practice, practice.
Another important piece of information for the job seeker to know is when applying for a job with a staffing agency, make sure to note whether or not the job is direct hire, contract to hire, or temporary contract. Staffing agencies are most likely used by companies to employ temporary contract or contract to hire positions. Temporary contract is just as it sounds. There will be a temporary amount of time that the employee will be contracted to work and at a specified date, employment will be terminated. Point blank. Contract to hire is slightly different. Employees may be contracted to work for a set amount of time, usually 3-6 months. At the end of this time period, the company may choose to hire the employee on full time, or ask the staffing agency to end the contract between the company and employer.
Buyer beware! Investigate the company before you sign any contracts to make sure they are reputable and hold a solid track record of hiring contract to hires on a steady full time basis.
Hands down, direct hire is your best bet but if it is not an option, you still should consider the others offered by the agency. As with any job search, using a staffing agency or not, do your homework. Seek out as much information about the staffing agency and the company as you can. The more you know, the less likely you are to make a poor decision.