Finding the Right Staffing Firm for You
By Larry Hannappel
Close to 2.8 million people are employed by staffing companies every business day. But how do you decide which firm to choose?
Here are some tips on finding the right staffing company, thanks to our friends at the American Staffing Association:
1. Figure out what skills you have. Go back to "square one." Sit down and make a list of your skills and talents and what knowledge and education you have acquired. Figure out your values, interests, aptitude, personality, and desired lifestyle. Once you have done this, you can better chart your career path. The process will also help prepare you for resume writing, filling out job applications, and interviewing. Learn all you can about the nature of the jobs that interest you. Pay attention to educational requirements, salaries, working conditions, upward mobility, and future outlook.
2. Check out the staffing firm. Ask your friends, neighbors, relatives, and business acquaintances what they know about any firm you might be considering. Visit a firm's Web site. Does it display the "member of [ASA] American Staffing Association" graphic? The site should give you a good idea of the kinds of jobs the firm offers. Most staffing firms also let you apply online.
3. Pay attention to how you are treated during the initial contact. Were you greeted politely on the phone? What was the atmosphere in the office when you visited? If a company is unpleasant to deal with when you don't even work for it, how can you expect it to take care of you? Besides, if you're unhappy at your staffing firm, it will hurt your performance for a client.
4. Tell the firm what you want. Let the firm's recruiters know what work you want, where, and your ideal schedule.
5. Be persistent and patient. Sometimes a staffing firm will have an assignment just waiting for someone like you. Sometimes it takes a while to find a client that needs your skills — or it takes the client a while to respond (after all, they are people, too, who have meetings, family obligations, vacations, and other things that tie up their schedules and slow down decision processes). Check in with any staffing firm you've contacted at least once a week to remind them of your interest and to demonstrate your eagerness. Keep gauging their interest. If you're not getting the kind of response you could reasonably expect, maybe you should consider checking out other firms that may be a better match for your skills and job requirements.
Whatever you do, don't give up. Staffing companies match millions of people to millions of jobs — every day. Surely there's one for you!