Many job seekers work with placement agencies or temp agencies to increase the reach and effectiveness of their job search. There are some advantages to this, but also reasons to be cautious. News coverage of poor treatment and even scams by agencies has some job seekers wary.
Here are some good reasons to work with an agency:
- Use of temporary workers is predicted to increase this year. Working with good agencies is one way to take advantage of this trend. It may be your best shot at getting in the door at some places
- If you develop a strong relationship with the agency, they will constantly have their eyes out for opportunities to place you
- You may become a “serial temp”, continually moving from one temp job to the next, if you get an agency that places you over and over.
- Hiring through agencies tends to proceed quickly
- Some agencies pay benefits or allow you to purchase benefits such as health care at group discount
Here are some things to watch out for:
- Request from the agency for money up front
- Refusal to give you a list of companies they work with
- Refusal to put you in touch with current and former clients you can talk with
- Request for resume but no job specified
- Request for resume but you never hear back
Here are ways to make your relationships with agencies successful:
- Be respectful of the agency representative’s time
- Don’t treat the agency as a career counseling service. Their goal is to place people, not to help you with career development
- Be responsive when contacted. Agencies often work on “rush jobs” where finding the right person quickly is critical.
- Make clear the types of positions you are looking for and where you can bring greatest value
- Ask the agency to keep you posted on where they are submitting your resume
- Ask for and respond to feedback from the agency about your resume and interview skills
- Ask your agency representative what he or she is hearing about you from potential employers
- Never go behind an agency’s back and apply directly for a job they are filling
- Build positive relationships with agency representatives. You want them to recognize your value and work hard to place you.
- Remember, the agency’s reputation is on the line when they put you forward for a position
Word of mouth is one of the surest ways to figure out if an agency is reputable. Ask friends, and inquire on internet groups to hear which agencies people have had good success with.