View Full Version : Looking for some temp agency advice
some white dude
11-06-2009, 09:53 PM
I'm in Chicago looking for work, and I thought I'd try going through a temp agency to pay the bills while I look for a permanent job. I'm interested in administrative work or any entry level stuff for which I might be qualified. I've never gone through a temp agency before, as I'm a new grad, so I've got a few questions about the process:
Should I try out a couple agencies, or just stick with one?
How should I approach the agency that I choose? Should I contact them through their web site or come in person dressed nice with resumes on hand?
What can I expect once I do start talking to the recruiters? It seems they typically administer a few tests for competency in relevant computer programs. Is there anything else I should expect?
I understand that the search might be difficult at a time like this, but I figure I might as well put someone to work for me while I do some job hunting on my own. Any anecdotes, good or bad, would be welcome. Anything that'll make the experience a little smoother for me. Thanks!
11-06-2009, 11:21 PM
Definitely register with more than one agency. Most will expect that you will, in my experience, so don't feel like you have to "commit" to one or anything.
Many have an "open registration" time, usually in the morning like 8:00 - 10:00 or similar, but check the website or just call the office. Expect to spend 1.5 to 4 hours at an initial meeting, where you will fill out about 5 different forms. Bring at least two copies of a resume. Many places have some kind of OCR scanning program that looks for key phrases - like "Marketing" or "Budgeting" or specific software or what have you, so list ANY unique skills or experience that will set you apart from the masses. You never know what might be just the thing - a foreign language, an internship in a specific industry, unique courses in your education? Remember that this could be scanned and not necessarily read by a human right away, so use a nice clear font.
My advice? At first, if you get a temp offer from a new agency, take it. Right away. Even if it sounds lame*. They may be frantically trying to fill the order for a client, and being the positive worker who was willing to lick envelopes for a day at ACME industries can go a LOOOONG way when your dream offer comes up. They might think - "Hey! this is a fantastic job and knowing how awesome some white dude is, we wouldn't hesitate to put his name at the top of the list!
I loved temping, and have had some great assignments. You never know which "one day of answering the phones" type assignment might open your eyes to a industry you had never considered.
Also, please don't think that I'm insane, but if you've managed to get an H1N1 shot, mention that. I'll bet that there will be a lot of short term absenteeism in the next few months, and you can be the non-contagious hero saving the day!:)
*note! this only applies to temp jobs! Don't say yes to a long term job that sounds incredibly bad, or does not interest you at all. You'll hate it and quit after a week, and they'll have to start the hiring process all over again. Do this more than once and you'll never get a call from them again. Again - Accept awful jobs of a duration of one week or less! If you need to pass on it, be as diplomatic and professional as possible, and do it immediately. They will appreciate you not wasting everyone's time.
11-06-2009, 11:47 PM
Register with as many agencies as you like (or as it takes) - probably wait a day or two between each. Agree to taking the first job they offer (if it isn't too long-term if it sucks) - a temp who wants to work will get work. It doesn't take much to impress the agency after you start working either - show up on time, dressed properly, and willing to work, and don't leave at lunch (permanently) or go get drunk, and you are a Gold Level Temp.
You can apply online or in person - if in person, you should be prepared to stay and test and interview. If you don't hear from them, feel free to call them and ask to be registered; temp agencies usually like to register as many people as possible, and they aren't the same as regular employers with regards to calling them and asking for work basically.
If you're willing to do entry level stuff like data entry, filing, and reception, you should be working right away.
One thing I'd warn you against is that temp agencies have an attitude that they're doing you a favour by finding you jobs, but the truth is that it is a very effective symbiotic relationship - they find you work, you do the work, they get paid, they pay you - everyone wins. It is also at-will employment - you can quit for any or no reason, and they can let you go for any or no reason. Don't let them try to tell you otherwise.
11-07-2009, 07:18 AM
Also let them know that you will even take half day assignments ... when I temped for Manpower, I called in every morning to let them know I was available, and sometimes I got a call for half days stuffing envelopes and such when companies had an emergency project that just had to get done [I make 300 binders up for CSC one time on an emergency basis.]
I also had a company ask for me repeatedly, I gave good quality work and they knew I could handle the specific job [mail room and copier person] and got called in every time the mail/copy person went on vacation or put in for time off. I also got called repeatedly by the ASPCA publicity office for envelope stuffing.
Being willing and available for anything helps [I even got sent to an aerospace company that did plasma coating for turbine blades originally for the shipping department but they found out I was a machinist and ended up being shifted at need to peening and then to the finishing departments when regular workers didn't show up.]
Thread already going on over here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=538911). Try seeing that thread for ideas and agencies.
Nothing wrong done here, just trying to consolidate ideas.
Closing this one.
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