Anyone who has been on the job search probably has thought about using a temp agency. Is this something that is a good idea? Do temp agencies still exist in this day and age? Lot’s of good questions which we’ll address below.
First, though, let’s discuss what this article won’t really cover. And that’s the way in which temp agencies do business. That is a complicated discussion, and it’s one which I cover in detail on this website. In fact, here are a few recent articles if you’d like to get a jump start on answering those separate questions.
This article is only going to cover the main question: are temp agencies still even a thing? And if so, should you use them?
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Are Temp Agencies Still a Thing?
Yes. That’s the easy answer. Temp agencies are still a thing. They’ve never gone out of style. Even if you’re never used one, or if you don’t even have friends who have used them, it doesn’t mean that temp agencies are not around.
Thousands of companies around the country use temp agencies every single day. Everyone from major Government entities, to hospitals and large non-profit agencies utilize temp agencies. And it goes without saying that for profit companies also utilize these services.
The reason that temp agencies are still a thing is that they serve a useful purpose. That purpose is multifold and isn’t likely to get outdated anytime soon (there is a complex set of reasons temp agencies are used, many of them having to do with tax, insurance, and liability).
So, yeah, temp agencies are still a thing that you should be aware of. And it’s not just that they are for people who are seeking short term work. Temp agencies are used and should be used by anyone seeking work. They are no longer the domain of people who only want a short term job. Many temp agencies are actually equipped to handle people who are seeking long term work.
Is It Bad to Get a Job Through A Temp Agency?
Alright, so now that you are confident that temp agencies are still a thing, and that you can get a job through them, let’s discuss if there are any downsides.
When using a staffing or temp agency (often the terms are used interchangeably) many people want to know if it’s a bad idea to get a job through a temp agency.
Well, there are a lot of variables to consider. Some people are concerned that if they get a job through a temp agency, that it won’t be a real job with long term potential.
Other people are afraid that they types of jobs that you will get through a temp agency would not be desirable.
Of course, these are all valid concerns. Whenever you are applying for a new job it is important that you take the time out to consider all avenues. And there’s a real reason to be concerned about temp agencies.
The main concern that people have when they are using a temp agency is if the job is not stable or permanent.
Those are legitimate concerns, but the main thing to be aware of is that there are real opportunities out there that you can find through a temp agency. However, what I always would suggest is to be very particular and diligent about.
You should never just trust a recruiter that contacts you from a random temp agency nor should you believe them if you go in person and seek them out. Be careful to do your own due diligence and make certain that you are not entering into a job situation where you will be unhappy due to the role being not exactly what you expected.
Where To Find A Temp Agency?
Alright, this is a particularly tricky topic to cover. The reason? Well, simply put there is such a wide variety of temp agencies out there and you have to be very carful when you engage their services. Some of them are solid shops with good reps, while others run slipshod of the law and stiff their workers.
The best approach to take is to read as many reviews online as you can. With that said, be aware that most staffing agencies have lots of fake reviews on Yelp and other review sites. They have good fake reviews (often time brought from 3rd world reputation firms that specialize in outsourced review campaigns) but also fake bad reviews (negative attacks run by competing agencies).
Then of course there are also reviews by disgruntled employees who were unable to find work and zero in on the agency as the source of all of their problems. These people are not to be taken seriously either.
So, it’s a fine line between what is a legitimate review and what isn’t a real review.
Also, use LinkedIn to check out the agencies recruiters. You don’t want to use an agency where the recruiters either do not use LinkedIn or are not on LinkedIn. If the staffing agency is not active on LinkedIn, or more correctly if the recruiters are not actively using LinkedIn in their job search, then you have a good idea as to the kind of work they are staffing for.
LinkedIn is the main forum for people who seek professional work. If you have a temp staffing agency where the recruiters do not use LinkedIn, then you’re going to be dealing with a temp agency that is likely dealing with short term day labor, or medical work where you do not need to be a professional to work in those roles.
So, check out Yelp reviews (even though you can’t trust most of the reviews on their, it’s better than nothing). Research the firm on LinkedIn, and then also see if there are any comments about them on Reddit or Social media (Facebook, for instance).
This whole process will help you paint a picture of the agency.
Again, this should be a quick process if done correctly. You don’t have to do a whole deep investigative dive into the company. A fast review of their social medial presence, reviews online, and comments that you might find on Reddit and other sites is sufficient.
Just be aware that if you search out temp staffing agencies by location, most of the detailed reviews on websites you find are more than likely paid adverts. That’s because agencies employ expensive PR and Marketing teams to saturate the web with advertorials. These might look like unbiased reviews, but are in fact little more than a pr release that has been crafted in a slightly more sophisticated manner.
Can You Switch Temp Agencies?
Alright, this is a bit of a tangent, but it’s something that a lot of people are curious about. The answer depends on how you’re working with the agency.
If you are just connecting with a temp agency in order to find work, but you have not yet found any work, then of course you can “switch” agencies. There is nothing holding you to their company.
If, on the other hand, you’ve found a job with the agency, it gets a bit more tricky. If you want to get up and quit the job and switch agencies to work somewhere else, then you can likely do this. Be aware, though, that it will give you a bad rep and you won’t likely be able to go back to that original agency.
The big problem come when you’re working at a company and want to switch temp agencies to work at the same company, but through a different temp agency. This is where there are many contractual problems and difficulties.
In most cases, the temp agency will have a contract with their client company that prohibits people from switching over to a new temp staffing agency. This is done because otherwise, temp agencies would poach workers and there would be an endless back and forth which would create chaos at the client companies.
As a general rule of thumb:
Has the temp agency gotten you work?
No, then yes you can switch agencies.
Yes, then you can’t switch temp agencies unless you also want to quit the temp job they have found you.
Can You Use More than One Temp Agency?
Of course you can. There is not limit to the number of temp agencies you can use. The entire reason you should want to connect with temp agencies is to make sure they can get you work.
If you don’t utilize multiple temp agencies, you are severely limiting your chances of getting work. Part of that is due to the fact that temp agencies don’t all have the same work.
If you only work with a single temp agency, you are not going to get access to jobs that competitng agencies have access to.
The concept of working with multiple temp agencies is best understood if you separate the idea of landing a job vs seeking a job. You can use multiple agencies to seek a job. Once you get that job, a single agency will be responsible for handling the negotiation and salary. But until that point, you’re best approach would be to reach out to as many as possible and make sure that you have access to as many potential jobs as possible.
Christian. 20+ years in the industry. If you want to learn more or reach me, vist my bio page.