Unless you've worked for a staffing agency you probably have no idea how getting a job with a staffing agency even works. In some respects, it's no different from any other job. But in other ways it's important you know what you're getting yourself into. The best way to make yourself feel more comfortable about applying for a job with a staffing company is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.
How do staffing agencies find jobs?
When employers have an open position and doesn't have the time or resources to recruit and employ their employees on a full-time basis, they often turn to staffing companies to fill those jobs. Staffing agencies often fill a particular type of work or industry (day-labor, warehouse, administrative, etc.) so an employer may work with one or multiple staffing companies depending on the variety of work functions within the company.
How do staffing agencies work?
Once a staffing agency is notified by an employer that a job is available, it begins actively recruiting to fill the position. The process has three basic steps:
Posting: If the agency does not have an employee on record who is a good fit for the position, it can advertise the position in the places job seekers are most likely to search. Staffing agencies may post the job on their own website or on sites like Snagajob to reach a wider audience.
Application: Once they receive applications for open positions, they follow much of the same process as any other employer. Staffing agencies will contact candidates who meet their requirements, then interview and screen (background and drug tests) to their client's (the employer's) specifications.
Hiring: If you find yourself in the lucky position of being the best candidate for the job, you'll be hired by the staffing agency, not the employer (the only exception to this is a "direct hire" position, which you can read about below). Your paycheck and your benefits (if offered) will be issued from the staffing agency, but the length of your employment is determined by the employer.
What kinds of jobs do staffing agencies have?
As it turns out, not all staffing jobs are the same. Clients (your future employer) have different needs depending on the positions they're trying to fill, so it's important to know exactly what type of job you'll have when you get your assignment. These are the three major types of jobs offered by staffing agencies:
Temporary: With a temporary job, you will typically know the start and end date of your assignment up front. These will sometimes change in the middle of a job (usually longer rather than shorter), but if you're looking for a steady routine, this probably isn't the kind of job for you.
Temporary-to-permanent (temp-to-perm): Lots of people take staffing agency jobs hoping they'll be temp-to-perm or temp-to-hire. Temp-to-perm jobs are a way for an employer to gauge your ability to work for the company on a regular full-time basis.
Permanent (direct hire): For permanent positions the staffing agency acts as a recruiter by screening and hiring candidates for regular positions. Employees are then hired directly by the employer.