How to Get the Most Out of a Staffing Agency When Job Searching

If at first you don’t succeed, try a staffing agency.

According to the American Staffing Association, “U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.95 million temporary and contract workers per business day during the third quarter of 2012, which represents a 4.3% increase over the third quarter of 2011.” More companies are using employment agencies to screen interview candidates so by joining forces, you can increase your chances of getting more interviews and accepting a job with the best employer.

Here’s what you need to know about staffing agencies in order to have the best chance of landing the right job.

1. Know the Differences

There are many different kinds of employment agencies out there. Some focus on contract work, others are temporary placement firms, while others focus on placing qualified candidates in permanent jobs with their clients. Some firms may charge a fee for finding you a job, especially temp work, but most reputable staffing agencies will not charge you anything for their services. Typically, the companies the firm works for will pay to be matched with the best candidates for their jobs.

2. Find One in Your Field

Agencies will focus on different types of employment, but they also often specialize in placing candidates in specific industries or fields. For instance, a staffing agency like Incepture will focus on healthcare, finance and IT professionals, but not marketing or law. It’s important to choose an agency or agencies that will have strong connections within your industry to help you get a job that suits you. Diligent research on staffing agencies in your industry will help you find potential jobs that meet your skills and work requirements.

3. Make Contact

Once you have chosen a few staffing agencies in your field, it’s important to do more than just send them your resume or an email saying that you are interested in staffing services. Like regular employers, staffing firms will see a lot of resumes, and you need to make yourself stand out. Call the agency on the phone and ask to speak to a placement representative.

4. Know What You Want

Before you make contact, you should have a clear list of your skills and work that you are willing to do, and where you are willing to do it. Providing the agency with a clear picture of what work you can perform will make finding a job easier for them and for you. Just make sure that you remain flexible in the work you will accept. If you’re holding out for a specific job or company, you may be left waiting for a long time.

5. Treat This Like an Interview

If the agency accepts you as a suitable job candidate, you’ll be called in for an interview and probably a series of aptitude tests to determine your skills and best fit. This interview should not be taken lightly, and should be treated just like an interview with a potential employer. Staffing agencies work hard to deliver the best job candidates to their business partners, so consider your placement officer as a gatekeeper to other jobs. However, an interview with the staffing agency is a great opportunity, since you can treat it as a rehearsal for an employer interview, and you can ask candid questions about the company that you might not be able to ask in a full interview.

6. Stay Positive

Remember that staffing agencies are only one tool you can use to search for your next job. Even with the business contacts and assistance of a staffing firm, it is easy to get discouraged while job hunting. One of the most important things to do in a job search is to stay active. With staffing agencies, you should stay in touch with your placement officer at least once a week to let them know that you are still available and ready to work.

Have you ever tried or found success with a staffing agency? Let us know your experience.

About the Author: Mike Cushing is a freelance writer for Incepture, a Florida-based staffing agency serving the healthcare, IT and finance industries in Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville.


  1. BJ Edwards says

    Why is it that some staffing agency reps totally ignore me. I interviewed with two particular agencies in the North Dallas area and they said they could assist in my job search. I thought there was an interest in matching me with their client employers, but they never returned my calls or emails. I think it is very unprofessional and downright rude to totally ignore someone. If there was a problem, the least they could do is to respond to the email with a basic “thanks but no thanks” or better yet a reason for the lack of assistance.

  2. Can Gee says

    I have the same experience. Many staffing agencies do not return calls or e-mails. They are very rude and unprofessional to say the least. One agency told me they did not actually have the job opening. They just posted the position to attract more applicants. They have to interview so many applicants a week to meet their quota. When I asked about the position I applied, they usually said it was filled.

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