Finding a Job - Temporary Jobs

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Organizations hire temporary workers in order to fill internal and short-term vacancies or take on special projects. In return, temporary employees enjoy good pay and experience a variety of work environments. This mutually advantageous arrangement is one of the reasons temporary employment is increasingly popular for both prospective employees and employers. Work for temporary workers is available in many fields and is open to staff at all levels; however, this type of work is contingent or time-limited, and depends solely on the needs of the employer. Temporary employment allows you to choose when and where you work. So if you want to work during the academic year and take summers off, you have the option to do so.

What are temps, agencies and clients?

The temporary employee is employed by the recruiting agency – not the organization – and, therefore, the recruiting agency pays all wages, taxes, insurance, and benefits.

Recruiting agencies are also known as contingent recruiting agencies, staffing companies, and temp agencies. A recruiting agency hires temporary employees and “leases” them to organizations. The recruiting agency conducts all initial recruiting, screening, and interviewing. In turn, the recruiting agency arranges appropriate interviews for the candidate with the organization. The agency negotiates the contract for the temporary employee. The majority of recruitment agencies offer both health and disability benefits. Some may also offer full packages, including holidays, medical and dental coverage, life insurance, and a 401K plan. In addition, many recruiting agencies will provide training sessions and workshops dedicated to networking and organizational skills.

The company or business that the employee works for temporarily is known as the client. The client pays either a flat fee or a percentage of the starting salary to the recruiting agency; therefore, all recruiting agency services are provided at no charge to you (the employee). Lastly, clients use staffing agencies to keep fully staffed during busy times.

What are the benefits or risks of working with a recruiting agency?

All recruiting agencies are not the same. For example, a recruiting agency may not have available work for its temporary workers at all times; therefore, in order to maximize your options, you should register with a variety of agencies. As the prospective employee, you should maintain contact with your recruiting agencies and communicate any changes in your plans.

You must remember that recruiting agencies are paid by clients, not by you. In turn, you should not mistake their motivations for loyalty; be sure to maintain a steady relationship in order to ensure that your needs are met. Also, some recruiting agencies may have long-standing contracts with larger organizations. For example, a recruiting agency may field employees to large technology-based firms only. Therefore, in researching recruiting agencies, identify any niche fields you may or may not be interested in working. Similarly, if you identify a company that you would like to work for, you can contact the company and ask if it uses a specific recruiting agency (also known as “preferred suppliers”) to hire temporary workers.

Recruiting agencies work to place their temporary employees. While finding employment for you is their primary goal, agencies may not take your needs into consideration. In order to gauge the strength of the recruiting agency, ask specific questions regarding employment laws and determine if the agency’s staff is qualified professionally. The less respected agencies may not focus on your interests or needs, thus offering you jobs that are unsuitable for you.

In order to minimize this type of miscommunication, make sure that you highlight your interests and skills, and market your qualifications. The recruiting agencies arrange all formal interviews between you and the company/business, and often recruiting agencies will provide you with only a brief summary of the company. It is, therefore, your responsibility to learn about the company and your potential job duties.

Although the recruiting agency arranges your interviews and jobs, it is your responsibility to negotiate on your behalf. For example, you should know the average wage for a given job and what you expect to be paid. In turn, if the client does not offer a satisfactory wage, you are entitled to ask the client to offer more or for the recruiting agency to assume greater financial responsibility. This tactic may not always work, but if the client likes you during the interview, there is a chance that the recruiting agency will want to secure the deal.

Once hired, you should report any feedback concerning your work performance to the recruiting agency. Clients do not necessarily report your progress, good or bad, to your recruiting agency. As a result, the recruiting agency does not know if the match was successful. By communicating such information, you will enhance your record with the recruiting agency.

Preparing for a Recruiting Agency Interview

The interview with the recruiting agency is a way for you to determine whether there will be a match between your needs and the agency and client’s needs. Here are some questions you might ask:

  • Who are some of your clients?
  • What industries do you specialize in?
  • What kind of assignments do you specialize in?
  • When is the best time to call to see if there is work?
  • Do you offer medical or vacation benefits?
  • What is your policy regarding overtime?
  • Who is responsible for getting my assignments and jobs?
  • Do you train temporary workers? If so, what kinds of training sessions or workshops do you offer?
  • What would happen if I show up to a placement and they don’t need an additional employee?
  • If the company wants to hire me as a full-time employee, what is your policy?

Examples of Sector Specific Agencies in New York City

The list above is a sampling of New York City agencies and does not include other cities’ agencies. Any phone book’s yellow pages has a listing of recruiting agencies under the Employment Contractors or Temporary Help sections.