A good staffing agency might help you find your next job, and they will add value to your job search and career longer term. Unfortunately, you’ll find plenty examples of good and not so good staffing agencies out there. A vital step when embarking on a job search is assessing which is which.
Work hard to understand your motivations and your career aspirations, as well as your work history
Treat your relationship as a long term one, not one that ends with a job placement.
Know what they’re talking about – they have strong understanding of your profession and the jobs they’re working on
Treat your application and personal details with respect and privacy
Are focused only on candidates they can place immediately and make a quick buck from
Don’t take the time to get to know their candidates (some don’t even interview in person!)
End contact with a candidate once they are placed in a job
Send out your personal details to potential employers without your knowledge
Don’t have an understanding of the roles they’re recruiting for and don’t have a relationship with the clients they claim to be working with.
The Agency Interview
When you meet with a staffing agency, remember it’s a two-way street: They need to get to know you as a candidate and a person, and you need to get an understanding of how they work and what to expect from them.
Here are some questions to ask in an agency interview:
How established is the business? How long has the consultant been there? What is their experience? Why do they work there? (These questions are important because if consultant turnover is high, the agency probably doesn’t have strong client relationships)
What sets you apart from other agencies?
What will you do with my details? (This is important, as you need assurance from them that your personal details will not be sent anywhere without your permission).
You should walk away feeling you’ve met someone trustworthy, knowledgeable and professional. Always ask yourself this question: Would I be happy having this person representing me to a potential employer?
The Job Opportunity
If a staffing agency calls you with a job opportunity after you’ve met, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve been given enough information about the role to ensure it’s right for you before you agree to being presented for it.
Questions to ask:
What company is the role with? What can you tell me about the company?
Why has the role come up?
What are they looking for in a candidate? Why do you think I’m a good fit for the role?
For temp or contract roles: What is the hourly rate range and dates? What is the potential for temp to hire?
For permanent roles: Salary range and career potential?
If they can’t answer any one of them, perhaps they have been engaged by the client but haven’t taken the time to understand the company and the role.