Temporary agencies have become very popular in the job search lately. Before you can discuss if they are beneficial or not though, you should first know what they are and who they serve. Temporary agencies, also called temp agencies or staffing agencies, work on two different levels. The first is for an employer, who pays a temp agency to be the mediator between a company and potential employees. Usually this means that the temp agency manages the screening process, hiring the employee, and paying the employee. The second level on which a temp agency works is for a potential employee or for job seekers. Job seekers can apply and stay on file with an agency, at which point the agency will connect them with employers as positions become available. Are these agencies beneficial though?
Some individuals have a negative idea that a temp agency is a last resort for job seekers. Others find that it’s a source for occasional part-time and temporary jobs that fit their lifestyle. As a job seeker, a temp agency can be both an additional resource and a distraction in the job search. Temp agencies help by placing job seekers in a job they’re skillfully prepared for and even offer temp-to-hire positions. However, temp agencies can also keep you from being an active job seeker- and may cause you to lose your initiative. That being said, there are two sides to every coin, and temp agencies are no different. Consider these pros and cons of temp agencies and decide for yourself if you think they are beneficial to your job search.
“Pros” to a temp agency:
- Temp-to-Hire Positions: Some agencies are able to help you find work that begins as temporary and becomes full-time and permanent.
- Exposure: Through various part-time jobs in different industries and in different positions, you can gain a lot of experience and knowledge that will be valuable on a resume and in a future job interview. In fact, Spark Hire just published a blog discussing how part-time jobs can be great on a resume.
- Specificity: Temp agencies allow you to be specific about the kind of work you are searching for. Typically, temp agencies specialize in a specific line of work- perhaps industrial, medical, accounting, etc. When you enter a temp agency you fill out an extensive application and have a short interview or meeting with a recruiter. This gives you one-on-one face time with someone who will be looking out for jobs specific to your skills or interests.
- Retaining Files: Temp agencies usually retain your information for a period of time. When this period ends is dependent on the specific agency. However, this means that the agency is continually looking for work that you’re compatible for, and they can help you find temporary jobs numerous times.
“Cons” to a temp agency:
- Insecurity: You may feel insecure about not having consistent work or income while being hired out by a temp agency. The fluid and ambiguous nature of temp agencies makes it possible to feel like you’re never in one place long enough to make connections or work up the company’s ladder.
- Lack of Benefits: Few temp agencies are able to offer medical and other benefits to their employees at first, and they usually do not offer other perks such as paid vacation time.
As with almost anything related to the job search, there are inevitably pros and cons on both sides of the table. However, I encourage you to discover what works best for you and your personal job search. A temp agency may be another valuable tool in your toolbox of job search resources that can rest right alongside all the other handy tools like the ones you can find at Spark Hire.
Have you utilized temp agencies before? Was it a successful and beneficial experience? Let us know about it in the comments section below.