Tired of cruising job boards for your next opportunity? Looking for an alternate path to acquire the vital skills you need to succeed in a new professional role or industry? We don't blame you — and the answer might be to work with a staffing company.
To help you understand what that's like in a little bit more detail, here's a high-level view of what to expect when working with a staffing company.
temp agency vs. staffing agency: what's the difference?
First things first: Let's clarify this distinction, as it's something that many job seekers struggle to grasp initially. The difference, in a nutshell:
- Temp agencies offer short-term, "temporary" work assignments for job seekers across a wide range of industries. While these assignments could last anywhere from one day to several weeks, some temp agencies will send you to a different job site every single day.
- Staffing or employment agencies are broader in their focus, offering not only temporary assignments but several different hiring models for employers and job seekers to choose from (see our section on flexibility below for more information in that vein). These agencies likewise work with employers across industries.
temp agencies offer short-term work assignments, while staffing agencies offer a fuller range of hiring models.
If you're looking for immediate opportunities, either type of agency can deliver value. In general, however, you're more likely to get longer-term career growth by partnering with a staffing agency.
Why is working with a staffing agency often a faster route to professional opportunities than when you apply for jobs on your own through, say, a job board? Think about it: Companies typically hire staffing agencies in situations where they need a position filled as quickly as possible, which means these agencies are actually incentivized to deliver on that goal. The result, happily for you, is a faster hiring process.
Contrast that with the experience on job boards, where you might submit an application and never even hear anything back — but then, that's something you've probably discovered for yourself.
Flexibility is the name of the game when you're working with a staffing agency. In what ways? For one, you'll have the freedom to work in any one of the following three employment models, depending on your interests, availability and goals:
- temp: short-term assignments, ranging in length from one day to several months
- temp-to-hire: work on a temp basis for an agreed-upon "trial period," after which you become a full-time employee
- perm: permanent placements in full-time roles
with temp, temp-to-hire and permanent placements, staffing agencies can flex to fit your job goals.
Bear in mind, you can leverage the opportunities that are available through staffing agencies to take on temp work — and at the same time, continue to actively search for full-time roles that align with your longer-term career plans. That's the best of both worlds. It'll also help you avoid accruing awkward gaps in your employment history, which you might be asked to explain when the time comes for your next big interview. For these reasons and more, flexibility is one of the biggest perks of working with a staffing agency.
as a job seeker, working with a staffing agency is absolutely free.
While there are many myths and misconceptions associated with working for a staffing agency, perhaps the most enduring is this one: it costs money to do so. In other words, some people seem to think that staffing agencies earn their revenue by taking a small percentage of your paycheck each week.
In reality, that isn't the case at all. Working with a staffing agency is absolutely free. Staffing agencies recoup their costs through fees charged to clients (employers), not by garnishing your wages.
professional development and networking opportunities
There's nothing like hands-on experience when it comes to elevating your skills — or acquiring new ones altogether. Working with a staffing company can help you get a foothold in a new field, develop critical skills and evolve in your career.
Plus, from a networking standpoint, the benefits of working with a staffing agency should be clear as day: After all, any contacts you make on the job you get to keep long after the assignment ends. Expanding your professional network in this way can be a source of long-term value.
As part of the interview and application process, many staffing agencies require candidates to submit to background checks. In the eyes of some job seekers, understandably, that could feel a little bit invasive.
Bear in mind, however, that the goal of a mandatory background check isn't to dislodge skeletons from anyone's closet, but rather to ensure the on-the-job safety of everyone on a given work site.
All staffing companies, even the largest and busiest ones, experience occasional lulls in the action. We try hard, but it's simply impossible to predict the fluctuating levels of demand that all of our clients are going to face. So while it's easy and fast, as we have discussed, landing your next gig by teaming up with a staffing agency means adding an element of variability to your work schedule. You might have to quickly ramp up for an assignment — and then just as quickly ramp down.
By now, you should have a pretty clear sense of what to expect when working for a temp or staffing agency. Simply to rehash, we've broken down the following expectations for you to keep in mind:
- professional development
- networking opportunities
- background checks
- schedule variability
Put these insights into practice right now by searching for jobs with Randstad today.