View Full Version : Do you think most staffing firms are nothing more than resume banks?
01-29-2005, 11:22 AM
I don't like staffing agencies at all. If you have never had the "pleasure" of registering with one, let me explain the process. You fill out endless pages of paperwork in which you're required to provide every detail of your life. Some of the irrelevant data they request includes your high school's address (for a college grad 20 years out of high school). Then, you get to take endless silly tests including "How to use a mouse." This, right after I'd gotten online to Google my high school's address. Next comes more tests including basic math, basic spelling, and filing. Mind you, I"m not there to apply for a file clerk job and have stated so in the initial screening. After "passing" these tests, then I get to spend an hour and a half taking Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other tests.
Next, they demand the names of my professional references. I try not to give out my reference information unless a job offer is pending. They can verify my past employment with the HR departments all they want, but there is no need to call my professional references.
Of course, they have no jobs available at the end of all this. The job ad I responded to is "pending approval of the client." I read this as, "We don't have this client yet, but we'll take your resume to them on our cold call."
Anyone have similar experiences with staffing agencies? I'm talking about the large ones such as Randstad, Kelly, Remedy, Todays, and other mainstream agencies. I realize YMMV with specific offices as well as by city.
01-29-2005, 11:42 AM
Staffing agencies are the same as any other employer. During slow times, they do indeed collect mounds of resumes for possible use later. However, they do place people. I know because I have been hired by one (Account Temps), and also hired plenty of temps when I was a manager. When I was hired, I had moved to the Boston area that day, desperately needed a job. I faxed them my resume and they called me back within an hour. I went in the next day and took the tests. They placed me at a great financial company, I was there for 6 months, and they treated me like a professional. That was my only assignment until I got my permanent, "real" job.
For the last 4 months, I have been working with contracting agencies to get an IT job. These are the same idea as temp agencies except they are for true professionals especially in IT and the hourly rate is much, much higher. I worked with about 10 of them and I got the feeling that most were indeed just collecting my resume. However, one called me one night, told me to be at a company the next morning and I got the job within the hour. I have a contract for 3 months that will probably get extended beyond that.
So, there are pros and cons. They do sometimes just collect resumes but many people do get jobs if they work with more than one and keep at it.
01-29-2005, 12:05 PM
All recruitment and staffing agencies work the same way. It's not rocket science. On one side of the table is their list of 'jobs wanting people'. On the other side is 'people wanting jobs'. They just play match-maker. Like a dating agency except the aim is a job instead of a relationship.
They do place people. That's usually their only way of making any money. The exact payment mechanism varies. For example, here in the UK, in the IT contracting market, if any agency placed me in a job they got a previously-agreed percentage (typically 15-17%) of my earnings per week or per month which the company had to pay, not me. So if I got paid £1000 in a week, I got my full grand and the company had to pay the agency 150. (Slight technical note: the £1000 wasn't paid to me, it was paid to my limited company or what Americans call my corporation, and I paid corporation tax on it at the end of the financial year). If they placed me in a permanent job, they got a percentage of my projected annual salary, payable after I'd completed a probationary period (typically 4-6 weeks). The probation is there in case the person turns out to be utterly useless or a complete dork.
Some agencies are lazy. They put little or no effort into matching people and jobs. They just send more or less anyone for more or less any position, hoping that this scatter shot approach will occasionally throw up a good match (just by the law of averages) and taking the view that they've got nothing to lose by trying. I've been an employer looking to hire, and these kinds of agencies are a pain in the neck. Other agencies, and agents, are very smart people. They keep on top of their job. They work fast and hard for their money. They take the trouble to actually get to understand what the applicants are looking for and what the empoyers are looking for, and use some intelligence and skill in trying to achieve a good match.
As for all the stupid form-filling, it's just bureaucracy gone mad, and it's a part of life. Live with it.
Harriet the Spry
01-29-2005, 02:43 PM
You've gotten good advice, and I'll second the advice to work with more than one agency and to accept the paperwork as a fact of life. You may want to come up with a "second tier" of professional references. I can definitely relate to not wanting to tie up your best references talking to some chicky-poo from a staffing agency.
One other tip I would say is find some friends/ acquaintances who are currently placed by (that is, making money for) a staffing agency. Have that person refer you to their agency. This is no guarantee, but may result in slightly better treatment. Focus on people who are at least as valuable employees as you are, so the agency sees you as being in the same class as them.
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