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 Dispelling Agency Stereotypes

By Joe Stein

We are placing a spotlight on positions being recruited for by either a “permanent” (I place in quotes because the only thing guaranteed in life are taxes and death) or temporary agency.  You probably have noticed that there are pages of advertisements where these agencies are attempting to find qualified people for the openings in our print version or online.  These positions may be very interesting to you, but something may be holding you back from applying. 

Let's explore some of the concerns Job Seekers may have about using an agency. We will provide you some comments on each stereotype or concern that may help you decide for yourself if an agency is right for you.

 -  The job is “only” temporary – That very well may be true, but you also may be entering a situation where you have a chance to be on-boarded after the assignment is over.  Temporary agencies can be a great way to get your foot in the door with a company.  If there is a company in which you are interested in, then look at not only their open “permanent” positions, but also any temporary jobs.  You can impress them once you are there, and greatly increase your chances of staying.  Do some homework ahead of time and discover the companies that have good reputations for hiring their temporary employees after a period of time.  Find out what company fills their jobs, and either look for an ad or go to the agency directly.

 -  I am better off concentrating on my job search – Certainly one should stay focused on your job search, even if you are a temporary employee.  In actuality, however, the assignment may actually improve your search.  By accepting a temporary position rather than continuing unemployment, you can make a statement regarding your work ethic to a prospective employer.  If you can balance your job search with a temporary position, then it may place you in a better competitive spot in your search.

 -  Why take a temporary job when I have unemployment - The reality is that, for most, accepting a temporary job isn’t something that is considered until unemployment benefits are expiring.  If you do decide to accept a temporary position prior to this expiration, you can really impress a prospective employer with your dedication.

 -  I am not going to be able to use my skills – It is true that many times the temporary job that will be available is going to be entry level, but that is not always the case.  In some circumstances, a company is looking for an experienced, skilled person for a particular job.  This may be to complete a project, fill-in for a vacation or as a replacement during a leave situation.  If you connect with an agency, you will find that they have a variety of positions available, requiring all different types of skills and levels of knowledge.

 -  I won’t learn anything – Although it is true that (often) a company is looking for someone who will be productive fairly quickly, there still may be plenty of opportunity to learn.  For example, you may be doing a job in an entirely different industry, adding another layer of knowledge to your existing skill set.

 -  No one ever gets hired – We have addressed this somewhat a bit earlier, but the truth is that often they do.  Of course, you have to be in a situation where the opportunity exists and you have to do a good job.  There are also times when an agency actually has a direct-hire opportunity available.  In this situation, the agency has been contracted by the company to find somebody for them to hire.  This is usually in a situation where the position is higher than an entry-level role. Why would an employer do this?  It can save them some of the expense of hiring by themselves (i.e., advertising, etc.), and even more valuable, time in collecting and screening candidates.  Ask an agency what direct-to-hire positions they may be currently recruiting for.

Signing up for an agency assignment may not be right for everyone, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not think further about using one.  In your mind, do you have some of the stereotypes of an agency outlined above?  You may be doing yourself a favor by reaching out to one of the agencies advertising this week to find out more information.

As always, best of luck in your job search!