Dealing Effectively with a Temp Agency – and What to Expect

Image result for temp hiring“A temp agency – are you kidding me?”  That’s the understandable reaction of many upcoming or new BAs when someone suggests  going to see a temp agency.  But for upcoming graduates or unemployed recent graduates, it may be one of a number of options to consider, especially if some of this applies to you…
  • You are very unclear about the career path you want to pursue, or even the employment sector that most interests you – government? non-profits? private sector? start your own enterprise?
  • You worked your way through school in a retail job, nannying, etc. – and this limited your opportunities to do internships.
  • You are facing financial pressures and need to start earning money asap, but working in a hardware store is not an appealing career path.
“Temp-to-Perm” Positions.  Try to focus on agencies that emphasize temp positions that could convert into longer-term jobs.  Here are a few possibilities in DC:

How to Present Yourself to Temp Agencies
  • Put a bulleted “Administrative Skills Profile” at the top of your resume, listing the number of words per minute you can type, your software skills, and any experience you have with data entry, other digital filing, physical filing, mailrooms, doing inventory. (BTW, there’s lots of typing-test freeware available on the web.)
  • Be upbeat & energetic in your demeanor (!) – because the temp agency staffer interviewing you is trying to determine whether their client will like you.
  • Be ready to answer interview questions without hesitation; e.g., Are you restricting yourself to Metro-accessible employers? (probably say “yes”); Can you work weekends or evenings if needed? (say yes, but probably won’t be necessary); When can you start?
  • Be ready to prove yourself with the temp agency; i.e. be willing to take an initial offer that is not temp-to-perm, but which will build your credibility with the agency when the employer gives them a glowing report about this. Such initial offers could be a month long or as short as a few days.
  • Remember – you are not the agency’s client; the employer is.
Finally, applying to temp agencies is just one strategy.  You also should be applying for jobs in the normal way, via job boards and contacts; you should be networking you should and trying to get informational interviews.  And see your AU career advisor!