Introduction to Temping Agencies
Temping agencies are companies looking to give you a temporary job it can last from one day to even some few months its all depends on the job. Many recruitment agencies offer temporary jobs but never expect good pay on them at all its usually around 5 pound plus something a hour for most of the jobs.
If you have never worked before or hardly worked its a good chance to gain some good experience. You can also benefit by adding jobs worked as a temp on your CV for some people this can be handy.
* My Personal Experience *
I worked as a temp a little over a year ago and found it be alright. Depending on which recruitment agency you register with the chances are you can get a job. In fact being a temporary worker has a big benefit with in the company you work for.
I worked as a temporary worker at a call centre for a few months and then became permanent. On the other hand I must say my recruitment agency was never friendly on sorting things out for me. They can be a pain temp agencies by demanding you do everything on time.
Each day I used to get harassed with phone calls at lunch and the end of the day. The calls were about "how is it going", " how you finding it"! I guess once a week call would not be bad but not everyday. The biggest advantage working for a temp agency is simple if you do not like the job they put you in do not have to put much effort! At the end of the day you are a temp remember!
 Recruitment Agencies 
I have been working in Australia now for 5 months and have been moving around quite a lot so the best type of work to suit me was temping work. This as far as I can see can only be gotten through recruitment agencies unless you are very lucky to find something else. I am trained in administration in the fianance sector so office work was what I wanted to do as I knew it well.
When looking for a job anywhere in the world through recruitment agencies it is best to sign up with as many as you possibly can. Some companies use the same recruitment agencies over and over again and some specialise in certain areas, but unless you are signed up with them the job will not come looking for you.
**HOW TO SIGN UP WITH AN AGENCY**
Ok so you have decided you want a job and generally you have exhausted every type of media to look for one, whether it is the internet or newspapers. You can find out about recruitment agencies through word of mouth (I asked in the hostels I stayed in), advertisements (billboards or notices in magazines or newspapers) and the internet (either through a search engine like Google or a recruitment website). You will either ring yourself or if you have applied online for a job the recruitment agency will contact you.
So you have made an appointment to meet with the recruitment agency what next? Well you will be given a place and time to meet. You will have to bring some form of ID as you could be anyone, your National Insurance number (in Australia it's a Tax file number), your CV and proof of your qualifications.
You treat this meeting as an interview, it's not generally as formal and you can relax more. I would advise you turn your mobile off and wear a suit or business like clothing if possible. The person you meet will give you a brief introduction to the recruitment agency. You will have to fill in a registration form which generally takes 10 minutes (at the most). This will be general details and maybe some general questions as a starting point. You will then be told what the agency expects from you. Then they will go through your CV step by step asking questions and making notes when they are unclear. They will ask you their own set of questions to help them determine what your goals are, what you want from a job and what type of job you are looking for.
Some testing comes next which is short tests to determine your skills and capabilities. As I wanted to do an office based job I had to do typing, data entry, word processing (how well I could navigate around the system), excel and access. This will vary depending on what area you want to work in. I have to admit I found these tests quite hard and scored a lot less than I would have expected. You are not allowed to use short cuts on how to do things and this baffled me completely. Each test takes generally takes 30 minutes to an hour to do. It doesn't matter is you do badly, but the better your results the more job opportunities will be opened to you. They will let you re-do the tests again if you feel you can do better.
The person who you are dealing with will then look at your results and assess what jobs would be suitable for you that they currently are recruiting for. You will be told about them and asked if you would like to take the job or in some cases you will have to go for an interview or an informal chat with the employer. I was always given a basic description of my role and what the company did and my pay rate per hour.
If you decide to take the job sometimes you will have to complete health and safety modules with the recruitment agency and some basic training and skills which you will find useful. Once this is done you start your job and no more job hunting yeah!
If you chose not to take the first job they offer you the recruitment agency will keep in contact with you. Depending on how good the recruitment agency is (which varies) will determine how much they keep in contact with you. Some of the recruitment agencies I was signed up to rang me every other day to see how my job searching was going, others I never heard from again. Either way you are kept on their books and they will continue to look for a job for you.
I have mixed feelings about the recruitment agencies that I have dealt with so far. It suited me perfectly as I wanted short term temping work. This meant it was on a first come first serve basis as long as you had the basic skills needed. As I went through the recruitment agencies it meant I didn't have to trawl through advertisements and the internet trying to work out which jobs was permanent and which ones where for a short period of time. It meant that I didn't have to explain to every employer I had applied for a job with that I am a traveler and I will not be staying in town for a long period of time. It saved me a lot of hassle. If I was at home it would save the stress of having to look up jobs everyday as you know that someone else is doing it for you.
You will be given a job that's hopefully better suited for you and your wants/needs. You won't be told about jobs that are not applicable for you.
If the recruitment agency has a good reputation and you have proved yourself to them, you may be put forward for a job you may otherwise would not have gotten an interview for or even applied for.
Generally I think you are out of employment less if you go through recruitment agencies as they find you work quicker than you generally can find it yourself.
Some jobs are only available by going through recruitment agencies as companies do not advertise themselves as they don't want the hassle of interviewing and selecting people.
Well there are a few disadvantages and the first one (especially if its was a long term or permanent job) would be money which I feel would be the most important. Agencies will take a cut of your pay and it can work out to be quite a tidy sum so they make off you. This can make you resent them as you feel that you are working to line their pockets, this leaving a bad relationship between you and them as you feel they are profiting for you working. Some agencies just take a fee off the company you are working for or a one off fee. Make sure you read your contract with the recruitment agency and make sure they are not ripping you off. Each agency has different policies and ways of charging to make a profit.
This is not always the case but some recruitment agencies are hard to deal with. Their staff can be rude and make you feel that your skills are rubbish. They can mess you around with jobs and then give the job to someone else. False information about a job can be given to you. An example of this is, well I'm in Australia, I have a quite broad accent which Australian's sometimes find hard to make out so I request that I don't want to have any telephone duties in my role as it would frustrate myself and the employers clients. So I'm given this job, assured there are no telephone duties and think great no more job hunting. I arrive early for my first day and spend all morning on the reception on a switchboard. I nearly cried no-one could understand me and I had never used a switchboard before so was having difficulty trying to work that over never mind any more complications. It made me feel really bad as I was unable to do the job correctly. This in my opinion was really bad management on the agencies part. They just wanted to fill the job quickly as the previous girl they had send had left abruptly, so they were only looking after themselves and not my needs.
Some agents only care about their reputation and not your needs so they will do what benefits them most and not you. This is not always the case as I have worked for some excellent agencies who have treated me great, but I had to learn to be firm about what I wanted as sometimes it felt like they were begging me to do a job I didn't want to do by saying 'sure your travelling you need the money'. I found this very annoying, insulting and it used to frustrate me so much! My advice is to learn to say "no thank you that would not suit me, I want a ..... type of job".
You will spend a considerable amount of time signing up to agencies you will never use. This used to annoy me so much I knew I wouldn't use the 30 agencies I had signed up with in Sydney or the 20 in Brisbane but unfortunately it had to be done. I did find agencies advertised jobs and when I rang them the job wasn't there anymore someone else had got it but they made you come in and sign up anyway. To me it seemed like the job was never there and they used this as a technique to get people in the door to sign up.
I feel that recruitment agencies have their good and bad points. Maybe the bad outweigh the good it depends on your situation. If I was applying for a permanent job I would use them as a last resort personally, but if you stress out and mess up interviews this may be the way for you.
Originally posted on Ciao under my username denisekelly40
Firstly I am an agency employee with a long term contract this time, however, I am considered a temp. I have also in the past worked as a temp.
My experience has led me to believe that you should always be employed by the employer themselves unless you genuinely like temping, I don't like working for an agency on a long term contract, I get paid less, and at any time I can be terminated. We have the same rights as temps but none of the benefits. Unions are attempting to change this, but for us the change will not come soon enough.
I have been a temp before and I loved it, at one time I had three different part time temping jobs on the go, I was a school transport escort mornings and afternoons, evenings I would work in a factory and then some daytimes I would do office work. The only trouble with it was sometimes I did work and sometimes I didn't.
I believe temping agencies have their place, but agencies that deal with longterm contracts have had their day
Temping. It's just one word, but means so much. What's the first thing that came to your mind when you saw that word?
For a lot of people, I'm guessing it doesn't bring brilliant connotations - as a temp, you're moving around and there's a general lack of stability. As an employer, maybe you see temps as a waste of money. You pay them AND a third party for the work they do! Maybe as an employee you find yourself working with a lot of temps who don't seem to do very much?
Well, as someone who has been working for a temping agency for the past three years now, I'm proud to call myself a temp and I hope to explain why, in the following review. As with any profession, there are upsides and downsides, but hopefully by giving you as much information as possible, you'll form a more 'informed' opinion either way.
WHY DO I TEMP?
First of all, I guess I should explain my situation. I'm an undergraduate student, and because I enjoy being able to eat, I work during my vacations. In my particular town, the range of summer jobs on offer is always uninspiring with pathetic wages and I've always been turned down for them anyway, on the grounds that I'm "overqualified". I don't really understand the thinking behind that - if you want to employ someone for a temporary summer job and not on a permanent basis, why do you care if they're overqualified? Are you scared they're going to leave you at the end of the summer? Wait a moment, isn't that what you wanted them to do in the first place...? Hmmm.
As for Christmas seasonal vacancies - they actually start around October or November, not exactly Christmassy, are they? I'm still at university then (my term doesn't finish until a couple of weeks before Christmas Day, usually).
Easter vacancies? Do they even exist?
As a student, my time away from uni is bit mixed up here and there, so it's difficult to find a temporary job direct from a company. This is where my temping agency really shines - I call them up a week before I'm back in the city and they always have a job lined up for me.
People say that temping has no job security, but in my town, if you're a good temp, there's always work on offer. I like knowing that if I get stuck in a place that doesn't appeal to me, I don't have to stay, I like the fact that my duties will always vary from assignment to assignment (each company has its own specific in-house policies) and I like the fact that a lot of the time, I'm actually making a difference. I don't mean that I do anything particularly skilled, but by taking on certain duties, I take the pressure off the permanent employees. Which makes them do their own respective jobs better. Happy client, happy agency, happy temp.
HOW AM I TREATED BY MY AGENCY?
I enjoy a very good relationship with my temping agency. If I accept an assignment, I turn up on time and do it well. It's not much to ask of a person, but apparently a lot of temps don't do that. Which is why my agency likes me - I'm reliable. In return, the recruitment consultants offer me the better assignments that come in and don't sulk if I turn down one. We're honest with each other - I tell them where I will and will not work, the type of assignments I prefer, if I see a client treating one of our other temps badly (so they know not to blacklist that temp) and anything else I think is useful, or they ask to know. They give me as many details as possible about an assignment before I commit to it (if it's a really busy one, they do warn me, or if it's dull, they tell me that too) and if they don't know the answer to something, they tell me; they don't make something up.
As for payroll - the accountants make sure I'm paid promptly, every week. I make sure my timesheet reaches them before noon on Tuesday, a payslip arrives the following Thursday and on the Friday, my pay is wired directly to my bank account. Sorted. In the three years I've been with them, they've only made a mistake once - when they introduced a new payroll system last year, they accidentally deducted taxes (as a student, I only pay NI) but all I had to do was call them. They admitted straight away they'd made a mistake and said they'd add the missing amount onto my payslip for the following week, unless I needed the money urgently, in which case they could work something out. Can't fault that for service.
HOW AM I TREATED BY THE CLIENT?
In general, my experiences with client companies have been good. However, sometimes as a temp, you will be 'replacing' a well-loved colleague and the friends of this person can feel threatened that you might be in line to 'steal' this person's job. One time I replaced a receptionist on sick leave (she'd lost her voice, what a terrible thing to happen to a receptionist!) and we actually shared the same first name. Not only did I do her job well, but I took on other responsibilities and I had the same name. A lot of callers thought we were the same person. So, the ladies in the office pretty much hated me.
I started dropping into conversation, "So, WHEN I go back to uni in October..." but it took a long time for them to take the hint that I did not want to be permanent.
The men in the office were sympathetic and stuck up for me, and when I did eventually leave that assignment, the director bought me the hugest bunch of flowers I have ever seen, paid for out of his own pocket, so it wasn't all bad. Learned a lot about office politics during that assignment!
Certain companies are used to temps, as they have a policy of taking X amount of temps on at certain times of the year and/or always arrange cover externally (ie. through an agency). It's at these companies where people are more receptive to the work that temps do (because they realise temps actually do have a useful purpose), give decent handovers and try to integrate temps into working life, by offering to go for coffee with them, for example.
The experience you have varies from company to company, but in general, it's normally quite good. Of course, knowing that in most cases you will be moving on in a matter of days/weeks can be a bit sad, but it comes with the territory.
WILL I TEMP FOREVER?
I enjoy what I do and do it well, but in a year I'm hoping to have graduated with a half decent degree and have possibilities of better paying, more skilled jobs available to me. Of course I don't want to be a receptionist for the rest of my life if I can work for one of the big graduate companies like PwC earning two to three times as much.
However, if I ever find myself between jobs (for example, I doubt I'm going to walk into a job after uni, I will need some time to find one), I would definitely go back to temping. Absolutely. It keeps you busy and it's a source of income. If you can't earn big bucks, small bucks is better than none.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU'RE WORKING WITH A TEMP?
In general, we temps are actually naturally helpful creatures. If something needs doing, we'll do it, but PLEASE do give clear instructions first. People who say things such as "Well, you just kind of do it", or "I'm not really sure, someone does a thing a bit like that and well, that's it", really aren't going to get the most out of their temp. We only need telling the once, but you really need to explain things properly. Vague directions and hand waving really won't do!
Be nice to us. We don't stick around for long, so seize the opportunity to be a nice person while you can!;)
Please tell us where the toilets are and where we can go for lunch. They're tiny things, but appreciated. And find out what we're called - it's a bit demoralising to be known as "the new temp".
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A TEMP?
A lot of people sign up with more than one temping agency at the same time, but more fool them. You are obliged to tell your agencies who else you're signed up with and they're bound to treat you less favourably. Before signing up with anyone, do a little research. Which temping agencies operate in your area? More than one? What type of vacancies do they tend to offer? What's the pay like? Which agency tends to be more popular with the offices you know?
Once you decide which agency is the best, you need to arm yourself with an up-to-date CV, the details of two referees and visit the agency to sign on. You're required to take various in-house tests there and then - one is to assess your typing speed; the other your general skills with standard programs. Doesn't take long, and equally, it's not hard to do well. Practise your typing first before going in - there are loads of free tests available on the internet for you to try out. "Free typing test" entered into Google normally does the trick.
Be realistic - if you don't like driving to certain areas or your bus service doesn't cover certain places, tell your recruitment consultant. Listen to the advice offered and take onboard what is said. Ask what your prospects look like - when they reckon they'll be able to get you into your first assignment and how busy the agency is at the moment. Don't forget to ask how often you should be calling in to touch base - when I first started, I was advised to keep calling every other day to make sure everyone knew I was still keen to get an assignment. These days, they call me, I don't call them, but it's not unusual when you start out to advised to call more often than you think you should.
If it turns out you made a mistake and the agency you've signed up with is rubbish, you can always jump ship.
Temping isn't for everyone. It's not always easy, adapting to a new work environment what seems like every other day (and sometimes IS in fact every other day) or forming good working relationships with people who think you're not going to stick around long enough for it to be worth them bothering to get to know you. It is important to have a fairly thick skin in this line of work for those reasons alone, but that's not to say temping doesn't have its advantages.
Unlike most contracts, both the temp and the client company can discreetly express a dislike for the situation and have the temp shipped off somewhere else. Sometimes people just don't get on, and in this day and age, firing someone because you think they're annoying or resigning because you think your boss is ugly just don't hold up well. With temping, it's easy to jump ship if there really is a personality clash. I think that's reassuring for both parties, knowing there's a get-out-clause without legal repercussions, should it be required.
If you have a fairly unstable life, where you can't commit to working for a full calender year without breaks in between every now and again, temping is perfect. It fits around uni, in between jobs and I daresay you could fit it around your childcare (probably not a great idea if you were relying on temping as your family's main source of income though, you have to remember that whilst the work is usually regular, there are no guarantees).
I'm a big advocate both of being a temp and employing a temp. If you didn't find this review very helpful, I hope it was at least interesting to hear my perspective!
As a recent graduate electronic engineer with a couple of years experience. I found myself in the farming capital of England devoid of an Electronics industry to apply to and in need of some temporary work to fill a void before starting a possible graduate training scheme in London.
Now as an electronic engineer I am used to working effectively and working fast, I have learned not to suffer fools gladly and to work things out for myself where ever possible. I decided that a temping job for a few months withing electronic assembly or something like that would be better on my CV than a driving position. Plus I had happened to have seen exactly what I wanted in the window of a not quite local recruitment agency... Perfect?! I thought.
I approached the company and at that time didnt have a CV with me as I was out shopping, no problem they said you can email me one. They were aware that I lived 30miles away and they assured me that the position was available, and we chatted about it a bit. I was aiming for an immediate start and I made this clear to them. Hence I got home and fired off my CV and a PDF reference I happen to have. At this point things looked good and the consultant contacted me instantly saying she would like to arrange an interview back in her office on the tuesday.
Tuesday comes and I get prepared for an interview and head down to the office. However I was in for a disappointment, as the interview she had refered to was simply to fill in the temping details and to sign a bit of paper.. Nothing that I couldnt have done on the friday when I was there. Plus no contact had been made with the client. It became apparant that she hadnt read my CV and was only interested in seeing what other positions I would consider doing instead. To this I made it clear that I was only interested in the position I had come in for. This didnt bide well with the consultant though and she started to say that I had a 'Bad attitude' even a 'Negative attitude' and she hoped I wasnt like this in interviews. I was taken aback by this rude approach as I have a great attitude to work and have been dedicated in looking for temporary work. Then when I questioned why the rate they were offering differed from the rate in the window she started to argue with me and I quickly backed down as I felt the situation was getting tense. I was enraged by their comments and felt the position was lost which deeply annoyed me but I wasnt going to be messed around in this way.
On leaving the office I could see how the company worked they don't have a firm relationship with the clients. It was clear that they trawl local press and via other contacts create a list of possible vacancies. Following this they collect individuals CV's (and hopes) before using the computer based details to match the temps with the clients. They then take a fee for the contact information (on permenant positions) and the usual hourly temping fee. Yes they may also form links with clients but its my impression that this isnt the norm as the consultant only had hazy ideas about the work involved and also said that she didnt want to 'bother' the clients too much.
My solution to the problem is what I recommend everyone here to do - go it alone. I happened to know the company name of the 'client' and on returning to my car I opened the map found the road I had seen on the address in the temping agency and approached them directly. Within 30mins I had met the whole company seen the operation had a guided tour, spoken with the design engineers and taken an assembly test. I was hired to start in two days on my terms and under my own initiative.
My honest recommendation - don't got to an agency, and if you must go to an agency apply to lots of them and do not accept rude comments. They are working for you as much as you are working for them. I have since written a letter of complaint to the consultant and requested my details be destroyed.
Goodluck in your job search!
Why is it Temping agenices never call you?? You always have to pester them..?
If you are lucky enough to be put forward for a job, they never tell you that the company isn't interested, let alone giving you some feedback so you can improve...
As an electronics engineer I went to all the technical agencies as well as temping agencies and there too they just contact you when they have a position thats vaguely similar to what you do.. then 3 months later they contact you again..
The only agency that I have come accross which is Pro active and emails/phones you to find out your situation has been Enterprise recruitment..admitedly they haven't gone on to find me work or give me feed back??
So this leaves the question of why agencies exist.. Why not go it alone advertise yourself as a worker.. free at www.work4cash.co.uk and be self employed..?
Keep your own records go to inland rev at end of year and pay what you owe.. Get 100% from the employer.. (charge 1.5 x as much as you get through the agency) you'll still be 3/4 of their price..
I?ve had a lot of experience of temping agencies in my time, not just because I?ve been a University Student twice, and agencies are perfect for student job seekers. I?ve also been made redundant three times in my working career, each time turning to agencies to help me find work fast, and they?ve invariably come through for me. So, here?s my advice on temping agencies, and all who sail in them: First of all, be prepared! Before you even think about contacting a temping agency, make sure that your CV is absolutely up to date, and that you?ve spellchecked it, and proof-read it thoroughly. Don?t hand in a document this important riddled with spelling mistakes and poor grammar, especially if you?re looking for office work, you?ll just look an idiot! Your CV should be a maximum of two pages long, if yours is longer ? edit it. I know this sounds particularly harsh, many people might think that including the fact that they?ve passed their cycling proficiency and bronze swimming certificate is absolutely essential, but prospective employers don?t have time to sift through every CV they?re sent to find the relevant details. Make it easy for them by keeping your CV short and to the point, whilst still selling yourself to the maximum and including all relevant details. Not an easy task, I?ll admit, but worth it. Whilst still on the subject of your CV, I?ve also been at the receiving end of them at work, and seen some of the very worst examples! These include a person who sent in a six page CV with each page printed on a different coloured page of metallic paper ? he didn?t get an interview. Then there are those CV?s that are written in such a bizarre typeface that they?re practically unreadable ? also rejected. It is absolutely essential that you make your CV as easy to read as possible, I can?t stress this enough,
a basic black type face on white A4 paper is best. Also, put your most relevant details first ? whilst you might be very proud of your qualifications, in the vast majority of cases your prospective employer will be more interested in your work experience, so put that at the top (after your name and contact details, of course!) But enough about your CV. Once you?re happy with it, you need to gather together some other documents in preparation. These should include your passport, birth certificate, driving licence, bank details and National Insurance card, if you have all of these. Any references from previous employers, plus the names and contact details of at least two people who can provide a personal reference for you are absolutely essential (I usually add these to the bottom of my CV). You?ll need all or most of these at the employment agency. Now, your next step is to register at the agency, and there are a couple of ways of doing this. Many agencies are now online ? and registration is a simple case of filling in a form, including your details ? most also ask you to submit your CV and specify the type of work you?re interested in. Alternatively, you could go directly into the agency of your choice in person to apply. If this is your preferred option, then make sure that you?re reasonably smartly dressed ? don?t pop in on your way home from the pig farm! Be prepared to spend at least an hour in each agency (possibly far more) if you?re applying for office work, as most will ask you to fill in a registration form, have a short chat with one of their staff and take their computer tests before you leave. If they?re particularly busy you may be asked to make an appointment to register at another time. Be prepared to answer questions about your previous jobs and experience, qualifications, personal qualities and any periods that you have been out of work.
Treat the registration process as an interview ? for one thing it?s good experience, but more importantly this should help you to make the best possible impression on the staff of the agency. You?ll need to specify at this point what type of work you?re looking for, whether you?d prefer full or part time hours and permanent or temporary work. There are good and bad points for using the services of an employment agency. One of the benefits is that temporary work can be very flexible, you can always say no if work offered doesn?t fit in with your life, or doesn?t appeal to you (just be aware that if you continuously say no, you may find that you stop getting offers!) You can specify that you only want to work certain days or hours of the week, so this could fit in perfectly with the lifestyle of single parents, or students. There are a huge amount of agencies out there, so I would definitely recommend registering for more than one at a time, that way you might well find yourself with choices, rather than stuck at home with no work offers at all. Pay for temporary work is variable depending on the type of work and company you?re working for, but in the area that I live it is reasonable. You can expect to earn around £6 an hour for office work in Hertfordshire, though having said that some jobs will pay a lot more per hour, whilst some agencies will try to get you to work for peanuts. Don?t sell yourself short ? you can expect a decent hourly rate. However, don?t be unrealistic. If you insist that you won?t work for a penny less than £10 an hour, when you?re straight out of school, you?re going to be spending an awful lot of time at home waiting for the phone to ring. Agencies make themselves very easy to track down ? you can find them listed in phone books, on the internet and just wandering around your local town centre you?ll see their signs outside their offices loud
ly proclaiming how great they are! There?s always an excellent turn out of agencies at Employment Fayres, too, so if there?s one of these in your area in the near future you might be able to hit a whole clutch of agencies in one fell swoop. Of course, temporary work does have bad points too. The pay is generally not as high as you?d get in a permanent job. Although temporary workers are now eligible for holiday and sickness pay, these benefits are still usually not as good as they would be in a permanent job. Of course, temporary workers also miss out on other benefits such as company pensions and health cover, to name two. If you?re looking for permanent work, it?s also possible that the agency might just not come up with anything for you, or try to push you into accepting an unsuitable job just so that they can get their bonus. I?ve experienced this, and had to very firmly instruct the agency that I would not be taking a job I wasn?t interested in, even though they tried to convince me that it was in my best interests. Still, temping can be absolutely excellent for trying out a job you?re interested in without the ties of a permanent contract. For example, now that I know that a huge amount of marketing involves stuffing envelopes and carrying around bulky boxes of promotional t-shirts, it?s really lost it?s appeal! I?ve also learnt that accounting is every bit as boring as I?d thought it would be, all without having to give a months notice before packing it in! Also, the temp in an office environment is often akin to the invisible man. In the past I?ve been completely ignored (including sitting working quietly at my desk as the rest of the staff had a Christmas party around me!) But even worse is being treated as if you?re thick, just because you?ve been brought in to do a menial job. In the past I?ve been shown how to fold a piece of paper in
half, how to use a stapler and how to seal an envelope ? all because I?ve been a temp, thus considered too stupid to get a ?proper? job. Be prepared for this, and if you experience something similar, then smile sweetly, and remember that you?re doing this for the money - you won?t get paid if you ram that neatly sealed envelope right up the boss?s rectum! On the other hand, temps do have a bad name for a reason. There are people out there who see temping as an easy route ? money for nothing. These are the people who give temps a bad name. If you do a poor job in a temping assignment then don?t expect to get lots more work from that agency. Personally I?ve always worked hard in any assignment, even the ones I?ve really hated. That way you can be assured that your boss won?t go complaining to the agency about you ? and the agency will be so pleased with your work that they?ll give you more ? hopefully the better assignments. In my time I?ve experienced very different levels of service from temping agencies. There have been those who have been all smiles when I registered ? but I?ve then never heard from again. Some have been excellent and kept me in almost constant work ? whilst still others have sent me for one interview, then when I didn?t get the job I haven?t seen them for dust! But the main advantage with temping is that if you have a poor experience with a temping agency, or simply get a bad feeling about them when you go in to register, you can simply leave and register with a different one. It is important to remember that whilst you are a prospective employee of any given agency, you are also their client ? they stand to make a lot of money out of you, so don?t settle for any cra? I mean, rubbish from an agency. If they?re not fulfilling their side of the deal, then change to a different agency, you?ll find a professional one eventually, ther
e are plenty of them out there (though I know that this can be hard to believe!) Personally, I?ve had very mixed experiences. The best agencies I?ve used so far have been Reed and Brook Street. Blue Arrow and Select have always been extremely pleasant during the registration process, but then offered me little or no work. And as for Manpower? Well, personally I haven?t always found them to be the most professional outfit to work for. However, the main thing about agencies is that the standards vary so greatly in different parts of the country, depending on the staff. Whilst I?ve found Reed in St Albans to be one of the best agencies I?ve used, different branches may not be anywhere near as friendly or professional. If you?re looking for a job in a hurry, then the fastest route that I?ve ever found was sending my CV to Reed on the internet. Within an hour they?d telephoned to tell me about a permanent job (that wasn?t suitable for me). Later that morning they called again, this time with a job that suited me down to the ground. Within the space of a couple of hours I was in their office, had taken tests and been given the job ? all in one day! As my new job doesn?t start until the end of the month, in the meantime they?ve been sending me on the odd day of envelope stuffing to get a little bit of money in. In direct contrast, I also e-mailed Blue Arrow on the same morning, and a fortnight later they eventually telephoned to ask me if I?d be interested in a totally unsuitable job? So, in summary, when dealing with an agency you need to be prepared, don?t undersell yourself but don?t expect miracles either and finally don?t settle for any poor treatment. Hopefully you?ll enjoy temping, and you?ll be earning plenty of money, too!
I started a while ago for a quite modern temping agency ? Russell Recruitment. I started in the branch based in Edinburgh. This I have found to be one of the best decisions of my recent months, as I have gone through a few jobs. As a student I need work that is both well paid and extremely flexible ? its nice to have a social life as well as study and work. Temping provides you with the opportunity to work when you want, I for instance get a phone call once a week with a list of available nights for work throughout that week and I choose what I can work. At the moment I do approximately two nights a week this brings in a perfect amount of money for a student it pays for food and a few beers down the pub. The money isn?t the best in the world; however, I have worked for a lot less in many places. For instance I used to work for a nightclub, I would work to maybe 5am, getting up the next day isn?t easy and the pay for this job was rock bottom. Temping generally gives out around £5 per hour, extremely reasonable ? that?s for bar/waiting staff temping. Personal service within the agency I have found to be outstanding, when I can pop into the office I do so, all the people in there will stop work for a couple of minutes say hi to me and sometimes go for a coffee if they have time, I enjoy working for people who are not putting themselves on a higher pedestal than me, these managers, etc. are on my level. Many of my requests have been researched or acknowledged, such as recently I said to them do they do life-guarding temping ? which isn?t common, but they have now started to look in to that for me. Temping provides a fantastic way to meet new people from all over the world. I work with many people from my agency during a big function and very rarely have I found a person to be working in their hometown. On
ly two members of staff that I know off work for the Edinburgh Russell branch. Many of my fellow employees are travelling around the world and putting together a few pounds, the stories and the fun you will have talking to these folk is amazing. Overall, temping isn?t for everyone. I would recommend it to student who need a few quid but don?t want to jeopardise that all-important essay! It provides lovely hours with reasonable pay for what you do and the fun involved is generally high. However, if you are looking to make serious money go elsewhere and as goes with many jobs they are hard working at times, especially when you go into another company and you are the agency worker, they generally treat agency workers as another breed of human, but well worth a go.
Temping don't you just love it being the lowest of the low and having no job security. On the up there is only one interview to do with the agency then you can sit back and wait for them to bring on the work. Generl things about temping Temping is great when you need the money. With the right agency you can be in a job within a day of signing on. The only problem is job insecurity. These are temp jobs not jobs for life so you can be finished wheneever ythe person yu are coverin or comes back/ when the task is finished or when the company can no longer pay your extoriionate fees. The other thing is often the jobs unless you have a specific skillare monotenous. Things like filling, envelope stuffin gerc erc. The money is not great. As a clerical/assistnat/ Ward Clerk/ All rond skivy I have had hourly rates ranging from £4.25 to £5.50. Secreterial work especially in a specilist capacity such as Medical or Legal secretaries do earn moree. My experience Since I've been in Manchester (November 2000) I've used temping agencies with varied levels of success. I actually signed up with loads of them to start off with. There are loads of them to choose in the Manchester area. There are sixty of them in Yell. Some of them are more specialized than others. I went for office work as that is where my expertise is. I did sign up in November so I was told there where fewer vacancies were available. Most of them did not deliver at all. Anyway the first agency I gained work with was Berkley Scott Central http://www.berkeley-scott.co.uk/jobseeker_main.htm. Their service to begin with was good. I had applied for both Permanent and Temporary work and they were enthusiastic at putting me forward for a couple of permanent positions. However I never heard about these positions again. I did manage to get a weeks worth of stuffing envelopes for the Co-op paying £4.25 if my memory is correct. After this job nothing. I phoned t
hem but they kept telling me phone back later and nothing ever came of it. The next month after seeing an ad in the paper I tried Topstaff http://www.top-staff.co.uka small Manchester agency. Again they were very friendly and very willing to in me up. There was a short application form to fill and but no dreaded data entry or typing test as I hate these and do really badly in them. I noticed the employee/jobseekers files were on paper rather than on a computer database. The agency offered me a temp to perm work at Chep (a palette hiring company) as a scanning assistant. They promised me as it was a new position if I did well there could be a chance of a permanent position. However only after a week I was again unemployed due to the software going wrong. Topstaff were not bad. They did give advice on where was suitable I?ve seen other agencies offer me temp jobs miles away when I do not drive. I just feel Topstaff did not work for me. The next agency I worked for was Kelly Services. http://www.kellyservices.co.uk I had high hopes for these as they are a multinational firm. They have over a 100 branches in Britain and have branches in more than 26 countries world wide. They seemed to be very busy and professional. I chose them as one to go to as they did seem to have a wide range of jobs. On signing up I had to do the standard data entry and typing speed test. However I would not use them again. The reason is that although they can be fast in finding jobs I've found them to cancel jobs. The first assignment I had with them was cancelled a day before I started. The second assignment I had I lasted a day when I was told I was not picking the job up fast enough. The job in question was straightening pieces of paper then putting cards in between them and putting elastic bands around them. The final assignment I had with them was cancelled just before I go to the door of the company the morning I was due to start. Kellys d
id ask me I to the office to do some skills training and whilst I was in the office a job stuffing envelopes for a week did become available. They were apologetic but I was not amused at all since then I've steered clear of them. They also took a big chunk in tax. Finally I settled with Jobwise http://www.jobwise.co.uk/ the agency I use now. Jobwise is a small agency based in the north west of England. They have six branches in Manchester, Stockport, Bolton, Altrincham and Warrington. I initially signed up with them just before Christmas 2000 but only started working for them in June 2002. On signing up I had to do a Word and Excel test. This was not as traumatic as the data entry tests and I came out okay. As it was just before Christmas they had no jobs available Fast forward to June 2002. After finishing a short contract I found myself unemployed. I tried a few of the agencies that I had used before and it was Jobwise that delivered with a job. They gave me two possible jobs very quickly. I chose to o filing at a hospital for £5.25. When that finished they almost immediately offered me another job at another hospital. Since then they have constantly came up with jobs. I've been working at th same place now St Mary;s Hospital since September and I feel valued and the staff seem to be keeping me on. Why are they different? They are small but not too small. I know the team n my consultant Heather. It is nice o get a friendly "How are you?" when dropping in a time sheet. They have been great if there has been any problems and have sorted thing immediately. When I want some of my holiday pay they are very accommodating. The only problem I have had is a time sheet that went missing when they were refurbishing the office thus getting my pay a week late. However I do not think they would suit everyone. As stated they are a smallish agency and are only limited. Thus there are not a lot of part time or evening jobs availabl
e. My advice for temps. Shop around and try different agencies. Different ones suit different people.
Some years back I registered with about 55 or so agencies. Not because I wanted to, but when you're desperately looking for work you apply for nearly every vacancy an agency advertises and they all insist that you "come in and register" so then you end up with a portfolio of agency business cards a fraction of which you ever find useful. Anyway, I had a government/public sector background and I wanted some commercial experience. I was a hard worker, put in long hours, had impeccable references, but out of all those agencies only two of those agencies gave me a chance and that is probably because of my high typing speed, not because they particularly believed I was a good worker. That was back in 1996. Anyway, this particular agency have been so good to me. My consultant there has found me work on and off since 1996, even if I don't get in touch for months then phone up, within 24 hours, they find me work. Even though the work is not terribly exciting I get well above average rates, the companies I get sent too 90% of the time are prestigious and the staff are pleasant. My consultant is not spiteful. Even if a company make an unjustified complaint against me (and I've had that perhaps twice whilst working for this agency), she will weigh up and pros and cons and think "Every other company has been satisfied with your work, don't take any notice, I'll send you somewhere else". She is probably one of few genuinely interested temp consultants around. Now I have also had some pretty nasty experiences with agencies. I had one particular agency who gave me a six month contract, I left two weeks before the end of the contract to do exams (having given the client notice and everything) and the agency got annoyed and posted my P45 back to me without another word - and did not bother returning my phone calls when I was looking for work again. Another agency offered me a week's work then suddenly towards t
he end of my first day called me and said "The company have decided that their secretary is well enough to return to work tomorrow" Yeah right!! I was the only black face in the whole company. Say no more. There was another agency who found me work at a construction company - it so happened that day that I had toothache but nevertheless I downed loads of painkillers and got on with what I had to do rather than pull out. The client nevertheless complained and ended my assignment. The reality is, temps are treated like machines. You are not allowed to have views, to experience pain or even complain about being treated unfairly. You are expected to sacrfice your lunch hours, work like you have no life of your own, and run around doing errands while enduring period pains. We get lumbered with all the rubbish jobs that permanent staff cannot be bothered to do, like filing and moving equipment and boxes, and agencies only want to put our rates up once every 5 years. You have to register with about 50 agencies to find an exceptional one. Take my advice, don't sacrifice your interests for any consultant even those that are good to you. Look after no.1, after all your consultant is and so are their clients. Once you temp on that understanding, you'll get through it.
Firstly, I must apologise for the length of this op, but as well as being a review of temping, I hope that there's some useful, practical advice in here for anyone thinking of giving temping a go. On and off, I have been a temp for a total of about 2 years of my fairly short working career (less than 5 years.) Contrary to popular belief and despite my dooyoo name, although I enjoy making the tea, I have never actually earned money from serving tea. The kind of temp work I will discuss is office-based work, so think agencies like "Office Angels" and "Spring", as opposed to industrial ones like "Pertemps" and "Manpower" (which specialise in truck driving, packing in factories and catering.) Temping, in my view is an excellent way to earn a bit of cash, without the hassle of interviews and the permanence of 'proper jobs'. The beauty of it is that, if you get it right, you can pretty much choose when and where you work. If you take on a 3-week assignment, but then you fancy a week off before starting your next role, you should be able to do this. If you hate the job you're in, you can leave, within reason. It can be a really good way to try different companies out, and also to get your foot in the door if you like it there. I believe you can make a career out of temping and you can fit it around your lifestyle. At the same time, you don't get job security or sick pay, and you may feel a bit left out of staff schemes. I have tried to categorise the things I think are the most important if you are new to temping, and so I hope you find them useful. +++Choosing an agency+++ Personal recommendation is always the best, but failing that, there are plenty of agencies listed under "Employment Agencies" in the Yellow Pages. I have generally found smaller agencies (as opposed to National agencies such as Adecco and Spring) more helpful and friendly. Generally the te
sts are easier(!) and things feel a little more personal as they're not dealing with as many temps. However, if they are too small, they won't get as much work in as the bigger agencies. It's a good idea to walk around the local ones to get a feel for what's out there. See how busy they are and whether they have any vacancies in the window that interest you (do not be fooled though, these vacancies rarely actually exist! But they do show what kind of work they usually have available.) You could also ring them up first to find out their rates of pay and if they have any specific requirements before you come in to visit them. Some employers will only use a specific agency, and so it's worth finding this kind of information out first. I would never advise signing up with more than one agency in the first instance! I know it's tempting, but you should only do this if the one you've signed up with turns out to be unsatisfactory. You shouldn't need to have more than one if you're with a good one! It only annoys them if they think you're free but you're actually doing work for another agency. You'll be put further down the list for future jobs, so you're only shooting yourself in the foot if you do this. +++Visiting the agency for the first time+++ Firstly, you should bear in mind the time of year. If it's the summer and you try and sign up any later than June, the students will have already been in and swiped all of the jobs (unless you can do something specialised, in which case there may be a few jobs left.) It's likely you'll be turned away! If this is the time of year you have to sign up, be prepared to sell yourself and your skills, if you really want work. It's also a good idea to ring the agency in advance to check when they're least busy. Friday afternoon and Monday morning are usually when they're processing timesheets, so you should avoid these times if possibl
e. <b r> I have never dressed smartly to visit a temping agency, but it can't hurt to wear something other than jeans if this makes you feel better. The main tip I can give you is to be confident. The staff will have seen loads of people like you all day, and so you'll find that even if you can type 100 words per minute, they won't believe you, because people will have been lying about their abilities to them all day! Be prepared, look organised and be persistent! I suggest you take the following with you: *Several copies of an up-to-date CV *Your National Insurance Number (and your P45 if you have one) *Your bank details *Pen and paper Show them your CV, tell them what sort of work you want, in what area and ask if they have anything available. If they don't have anything immediately, don't worry, as they'll be getting new work in all the time, and something could even come up while you're there. (They may have had something anyway, but want to get to know you a bit better before they'll offer it to you.) You'll be asked to fill in lots of forms (more on that later) and to do a test! Most small agencies will simply ask you to do a typing test. Large, national-type agencies may also ask you to do an MS Word test, which could be simple, or it could be a nasty one where they ask you to do something a bit more complex like a mail merge. Now normally that would be fine, but if you accidentally click on the wrong menu (which is likely under pressure), it deducts points from your score! Other tests I have had have included basic maths, spelling and data entry tests. +++Paperwork+++ You'll either be asked to fill this in on the day or to take it away (if they've not got much work for you.) Adecco ask you to input your details directly onto their computer, but other agencies have paper forms. Whatever the system, this is where your CV comes in handy, because you j
ust copy down all the relevant educational/employment history for them. When you sign up with the agency, you'll sign a contract containing minuscule small print, but this will cover things such as keeping confidential any information that you find out about when you work for companies etc. It should cover what the agency requires from you and in return what it will do for you. You may also get extra paperwork explaining how that particular agency's holiday pay scheme works, or their requirements for handing in your timesheet. If you don't have a P45 to give the agency, you will also have to sign a P46 tax form, which specifies whether this is your only/main job, and will dictate how you are taxed. N.B: you may find you are 'emergency taxed' for the first few weeks, and you may need to claim this back at the end of the tax year by sending your P60 to the relevant Inland Revenue office (you find this out by asking your agency which office they use.) +++Accepting and Preparation for a temp role+++ JOB SUITABILITY Once you have been accepted into the agency, you should be prepared for them to ring you at any time. You should be aware that even though you may have told them you specifically don't want Call Centre work, and you want full-time work, that they may call you with a part-time position in a call centre! If you really don't want to do it, don't! Tell them this isn't what you asked for. Quite often, in the same 'phone call, they'll offer you something better. A good agency will be able to offer you a range of jobs, so don't feel pressured into taking the first thing they offer! PREP Once you've agreed to a job, you need to do a small amount of prep work. Okay, so a two-week post working as a receptionist at the local health authority may not be your dream job, so you don't need to go all-out learning the doctors' names in advance or any
thing. However, you m ay end up enjoying the environment and if you're good at what you do, you'll be in with more of a chance if a vacancy comes up. If you are looking for permanent work, on your first day you should always be on your best behaviour! Two essential temp items are (1) a map of the local area (2) a mobile 'phone. Put the agency's number and the contact number of the person you are to report to on your first day into your phone (store it under 'work' if you're worried you'll never be able to find it.) This is so that if you get lost or your bus is delayed on the first day, you'll be able to ring your contact to explain (or ask directions!) The day before your job starts, make sure you look at your map and are confident about where you will be working. If you're working at a large institution like a university, try and get hold of a campus map to help you identify buildings. Make sure you know how long your journey will take at that time of day and allow a few extra minutes for unexpected delays or problems finding the right building. FOOD If you feel a bit nervous, you may not consider what you'll do for lunch on your first day! However, it's always a good idea to take something in case there is no canteen or shops nearby. I always take sandwiches and a can of coke, in case there's no tea/coffee-making facilities (imagine that!) I can't survive without caffeine, so the coke comes in useful sometimes! DRESS Unless you're told to wear a uniform or something specific, or you know you're going to be working somewhere where a suit is appropriate, be fairly smart, but don't worry too much about buying clothes for a temp job. Remember, there's no point wasting money on clothes for a possible short-term job, when you haven't even started earning to pay for them! If you haven't got anything smart enough, borrow something for the firs
t day, if necessary, and th en you can get an idea of what everyone else wears and you can dress more appropriately in future. I find that smart trousers and a top is fine, but you should dress according to the type of work you will be doing and whether or not you're likely to be dealing with the public. For example, jeans may be okay for a data entry job, but not for reception work. INTRODUCING YOURSELF & THE FIRST DAY Don't worry too much about this. Just introduce yourself as the temp and ask to see the contact name you've been given. If you can't remember names easily, write it down and look at it just before you go in. Most employers will be really friendly and your first hour or so you'll be shown around, shown where the photocopier/toilets/tea & coffee are and generally will be settled in with some small roles to do to get you used to the job. Establish start/finish times and ask who should sign your timesheet. Some firms may offer flexi-time, so ask, as this could be beneficial to you! As far as the role itself goes, you may feel that you spend the first day just asking questions, but it's better to ask than to get something wrong. +++Working as a temp+++ WHAT'S IT LIKE? Once you are settled in, you'll find it's just the same as any other job and you may really enjoy it. If it's a long-term role, the main difference you'll find between it and a 'normal' job will be the weekly timesheets you'll have to complete. Obviously, there are things you'll be missing out on such as staff schemes and job security but your day-to-day work will feel much the same as if you were an employee of that business. WHAT IF THERE'S A PROBLEM? Most problems will be identified early on, even within a few hours of starting the role, such as (1) you can't do the work(!) (2) you hate the atmosphere (3) the location is too far to travel to. Generally if you'
;re unable to do the work, your employer will tell your agency and you will be moved on. If it's something that you're not happy with, tell your agency. It's not worth travelling for hours or at great expense for a temp job. Similarly, if you're not happy with the atmosphere, it's not worth staying. For example, I've enjoyed pretty much all of the temp roles I've done, but one in particular had a strange atmosphere and I knew I couldn't stay! I was only assigned to do a 3-day task, but I only lasted a day and then told the agency I wouldn't return. It's best to ring the agency on your lunch-break (which is why you have their number stored in your mobile) but you could wait till they ring you. They will usually ring you at some point during the first week to check how things are going, although sometimes it's not easy to be truthful if your supervisor's there. If you have just cause, then your agency shouldn't give you any hassle. In my case, I'd been told to arrive at 9am, but the office didn't open till 10am, (losing me an hour's expected pay,) there was nobody to tell me what my role was and in an open-plan office for about 50 people, there were about 4 miserable people, ignoring each other. I relayed this to my agency and didn't suffer adversely because I had chosen to leave. PAY AND GETTING PAID Most agencies will pay a standard rate, with increased rates for more specialised roles or "one-offs", i.e. one day roles which break into your week, perhaps jeopardising your chance of working elsewhere that week. The temping agency I used most recently paid one of the lowest rates (compared to other agencies) but it always has a good selection of work on offer. When you choose your agency, you can base your decision on the rate of pay, but the amount of work on offer and the way you are treated by your agency are also really important. As a guide (pay will var
y for office work around the country, ) hourly pay is around £5.50 in South Yorkshire. Eighteen months ago, it was £4.50. More skilled/specialised office jobs such as medical/legal secretaries can command say £6p/h. I know people from more southern areas have been shocked to hear how low the hourly wage is here, but it is comparable to that of a permanent worker in the same region. Approximately one-third of what the office pays to have you will go to your agency. Bear this in mind when accepting roles/deciding whether or not to stay in a role you're not happy with. Your agency will be making money from you, you don't owe them any favours! Make them work for you! For example, if you've chosen to have a week off from temping, but your agency ring you with a job, stand your ground and say 'no.' Don't ever feel pressured into taking work on. As a temp, you should be paid weekly in arrears. Make sure you keep an accurate record of your hours each day and that your timesheet is signed at the end of the week. If you don't keep an accurate record, it is possible that you may not be paid correctly, but you may never know. I have done one-off very short assignments of only a few hours and found that these timesheets have not always been processed. It's only when checking my timesheets against my payslips that these errors have become obvious. Timesheets are in triplicate, one for the office, one for you and the top (clearest) copy for the agency. An easy way of making sure you're paid for each timesheet is to keep your copy of your timesheet in a ringbinder, and to throw each timesheet away as the relevant payslip comes in. The timesheet number is usually printed on the payslip for ease of reference. The top (agency) copy of the timesheet usually has to be delivered to the agency by the Monday lunchtime following the week you have just worked if you want to get paid that Friday. Either take it in after work on the Friday,
post it, or fax it late Friday or early Mo nday. (Your office should be happy for you to use their fax machine for this purpose.)If your agency is large, with only one fax machine, you may find it a little tedious waiting for your timesheet to go through during these busy times. Having tried various methods of timesheet delivery, I have found the easiest way is to post them first-class on the Friday evening. I've never had any problems doing it this way, except that I'm down by 27p each week! HOLIDAYS Holiday pay entitlement will vary from agency to agency but generally you get a week's holiday pay for every 12 weeks you work (1 hour accrued for every 12 basic hours worked.) Some agencies will require you to actually take the time off, others will allow you to work whilst claiming your holiday pay. If you only temp for a proportion of 12 weeks, you should get a proportion of your holiday pay, but it's worth checking and finding out your agency's specific rules. TEMP or PERM? Many temp roles will be short-term, i.e. covering someone's holiday, or you may be employed to do one specific role for a short period of time. However, you may end up covering someone on long-term sick or in a new role for which the employer is looking for a permanent employee. Temping has opened up several permanent positions for me, if I wanted them. There's the added benefit of being a known face so you may even get a permanent role without an interview. Obviously, as I've mentioned before, there are benefits of temp and perm roles, and it depends what you're looking for as to what's best for you. I have recently taken up a permanent position, having temped for almost two years in a row. During that time I was able to try out a range of jobs that used a variety of skills, and take time off whenever I wished. I was able to take advantage of the benefits of temping whilst deciding what to do career-wise. Finally,
I chose an agency offering temporary and perman ent roles, and I started a permanent role two weeks after requesting one! I am very happy with the job they found me, although I did have to stand my ground and turn down one role that they would have preferred me to have (because they would have earned more commission.) +++Conclusion+++ I would recommend temping if you're going to give it a real go and accept a reasonably amount of work from the agency you sign up with. The agency should work as hard for you as you do for them, and so if you're prepared to put in the effort, you can either make it a career or use it to earn short-term cash and gain experience of working.
About 4 months ago I left university and hit the real world with a thud. I had no money (and a ludicrous level of debt) and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As I had used temping agencies to find me part time and summer work whilst at university, it seemed natural to find work through one. Due to financial concerns I was forced to take the first job offered which was in a call centre. The agency told me that it would be a bit of typing and dealing with customers. That was only half of it (a lot of job involved lying to customers and generally bullying them) and I ended up hating the job so much that I left in tears each night and wasn't sleeping due to the dread of going back the next morning. When it all eventually became too much, I really started getting upset and in the end I left. On the day that I left I called the agency to ask for some more work. I then found out that the agency were aware of all of the issues that had been upseting me because other temps had encountered them before. They kept putting new temps in because they needed the business and they didn't warn the temps because they needed people to take the job. I feel that the agnecy could have done something about the situation becuase they had other temps leave for the same reasons. Luckily the next job that the agency placed me in was fantastic and I am enjoying it immensley. I am currently working at a further education college and as a result of the encouragement of the people I work with I have decided that I would like a career in lecturing and have enrolled on a teaching course. I think agencies are a necessary evil for some people (students especially) but they have to run as businesses. This means that putting temps in jobs is more impotrant than whether the temp will like the job or is being well treated. Agencies also tend to pay quite badly. It is also important to remember that you can say no, as some consultants can be quite pus
hy and can try to convince you to take jobs that you don't want to do. If you only want to do a specific type of work and you can afford to be choosy, stand your ground. There are plus points to temping, it is perfect if you don't know what you want to do with your life as you get an opportunity to sample lots of different working environments. I also feel that I have acquired a high level of flexibility which is a much needed skill. I know that I can go into a company and quickly learn about the company and the role that I am expected to play. If you do find an agency that treat you well and that you are happy with, stick with them as they are hard to find. If you prove yourself to the consultants then they are more likely to find you work when you need it. I believe that agencies provide a service that is necessary but that they should not be relied on to provide a constant supply of work. It is important to remember that as a temp you should be able to stand up for yourself and speak your mind because the agency will not always be enthusiastic about doing it for you.
Before you start reading this work, I would like to point out it was written few months ago. As I put it in my profile our situation has changed today. That is why I also put an update at the end. I never came round to publish this opinion before for the simple reason we moved out and for health matters but I finished it off and it looks slightly better than the original to my mind. Well in fact you’ll tell me what you think. I am more than definitely expressing my dissatisfaction and my disappointment towards this service. I need to explain few things first so that you can see why we approached employment agencies. My partner has been unemployed for a certain length of time now and since the beginning we have put all the chances on our side to face this redundancy: -Subscribe to employment agencies either by mail or via Internet -Register to the Jobcentre -Get newspapers or magazines containing specific job sections -Personal research -Mass mail -Word of mouth -Obtain funds for a specific training And so on. So far we responded to more than 50 ads by mail and we had about 23 feed backs being all thanks but no thanks. The results being not flourishing enough my partner decided to create an interactive CD containing sample of his work, letter of introduction and a CV. It has been a hard work and a challenge but it kept him busy. He has never done such thing before. He might be working as Graphic Designer but building a CD from scratch to finish requires certain skills and knowledge. Well after a while he managed to do it and it is a cracker. He even incorporated sounds when you click on a link…I might overreact but I personally think it is a brilliant idea and more original than sending just a CV on paper. And I am extremely proud. Some of you might laugh at my partner or me specially if you know how to design a compact disc but i
t is not easy when you are a dummy. Oups I should maybe not call him that way, he won’t appreciate the ticking off. Anyway the plan was to list all the job agencies we would send this CD to, 17 in total. And also to any suitable job coming up in the papers… What a disappointment when most of the agencies used the CD to print out his work and then file the CD but not showing it to potential clients as a reference guide. Some even returned the CD and said it wouldn’t be of a great use for them. To me this long lasting effort has been a flop and put my partner right down the bottom of the ladder. He thought he could boost up his position by being a bit original but he only put himself in an unwanted state of mind: feeling useless and being seen as a failure. And I’m not talking about the money we put in. It hasn’t been easy to prove him wrong but he slowly concluded his initiative was not what the agencies were looking for. By reading over these lines I noticed I diverted a bit from the main subject. I’d better get back to it now. So job agencies. Their job is to find a candidate for a specific job requirement. And to do so they file your CV and when a position arises they screen their listing and dig out that perfect match, at least the one they think could do the job. It is like if you insert something in a touch control combination micro-wave from “return to the future” and end up with a superb brown chocolate and blueberry brownie (still to be tested and tasted to prove the purpose built of the oven) ready to eat (and being my actual craving of today…). In our case they enter data in the computer that will pick one or several possible persons supposed to suit the job. The next step is to contact the chosen people either by phone or thanks to Internet by e-mail. I got a first shock when Stuart received a letter, well a compliment slip with the following words: “Cal
l me as soon as possible”. Signed SW. Is there something you want to tell me about Stuart? Is it a secret code? Is it the formal way agencies get in touch with clients? Despite the astonishment from our part towards the very unprofessional manner of requesting someone to phone, Stuart contacted the person to her usual office but only to know she was based in a different area this week (something she could have mentioned by ticking the appropriate phone number on the slip!). Being transferred few times Stuart finally talked her and got to know he has been put forward a position. “Good but aren’t you supposed to ask me if I am interested before deciding for me?” “The client is tied up and needs someone urgently. Beside that the job is an attractive package and I instantly though of you.” Giving a brief on the job specification Stuart ignored her unprofessional manner and got excited about the whole thing. And according to her saying, he was the most experienced and suitable candidate. She also said he had a good chance to get the job as the client seems very interested in his CV and would like to arrange an interview as soon as possible. She said she would let him know at the end of the week where and when. Good news he mumbled. His hopes and his confidence boosted up, he waited. The end of the week has gone now and she never called. The following mid-week Stuart phoned her up: “I’m sorry but the client is holding up the position for another week but you are still in the lead and he still wants to meet up with you.” “OK no problem just keep in touch this time.” A far too friendly answer from Stuart’s part considering her total lax of attitude. I would have barked at her and told her not to mess up with me. But I understand my partner smooth reaction: behaving like me would have blown up his chance of getting an interview and possibly
thrown him out of the agency listing. The job interview finally came and everything went well. According to him but also to her he made a very good impression. Now it is only a matter of waiting again for their final say. She had professional and convincing words for Stuart and led him to think the job was in his pocket. She ascertained him she will phone as soon as the client will do on his part and asked if he could start this Monday coming. And once again he waited and he waited. This time the trick was she has been on holiday and therefore never passed Stuart’s file onto her colleagues. What a chick! Stuart was so disappointed not to have the job but also to have been so lenient with someone who has never been honest or trustworthy. All those lines to say job agencies are to be used with moderation. They should only be a part of your job search and do not rely just on them to find a contract. Of course they have their advantages. They seem to be exceptional for temporary jobs and sometimes offer great packages but overall don’t reflect the quality of the service they praise. Their only target is to get as soon as possible someone for the job in order to get all the acclaim for it and most of all the bonuses. They don’t see jobseekers as individuals but as quotas. So yes our agencies experiences (plural used for experiences because we had several misadventures with other agencies) have been a real disaster and most of all a waste of time and money (when I say waste of money I mean phone bills and mail expenses related to them). I remember once Stuart went for an interview (about 100 miles from our home) and when he got there, the person who led the interview was never faxed his CV and therefore didn’t know anything about him and his speciality. At the end it happened they were looking for a programmer and not a graphic designer. If the agency would have done its job in the first place, such thing should have
never occurred. So overall be aware and all the best of luck if you are looking for a new job. Enough nagging now and let’s get back to our Friday job section in the newspapers. *UPDATE: Despite the long and somehow negative comments on job agencies, it is thanks to one Stuart has today a permanent position. Things this time went very fast: Got a phone call on a Monday Went for an interview on the Wednesday Went back to sign the contract two days after. I suppose Stuart was lucky to fit into the company’s specific requirements. The managing director was a bit tied up and needed someone straight away. But he certainly didn’t want to pay the 17% commission the job agency was taking if he wouldn’t get a minimum commitment from Stuart so a no probation period but a permanent contract was also an essential condition. Lucky us because a week after we had the great pleasure to learn I was pregnant. Finally things will start to kick in now. Thanks again for reading.
I have had several experiences with various agencies, such as Pertemps, Thorn Baker, Apex, and quite a few others. During the summer after my first year of uni, I registered with Pertemps' industrial branch and a couple of days later I was working as a receptionist there. This gave me some insight into the employer's side of agencies. I graduated last year and after slobbing for a bit, realised that I needed a wage. I registered with about ten agencies and got different jobs with two of them. I had to quickly learn the individual systems within companies, which is pretty tough yet rewarding. I learned a number of skills in a relatively short space of time and gained insight into a range of industries - this is particularly helpful if you're trying to figure out what to do as a career as well as boosting your CV. I would suggest registering with quite a few as I don't feel you can trust or rely on some agencies 100% to get you work. As with any interview - first impressions count - agencies have hundreds & thousands of clients, so you need to be able to impress them and make them remember you. This can also be achieved by phoning them regularly enquiring after vacancies - even if it's just to jog their memory that you're available for work. One thing to remember is that recruitment agencies profit from your work, so they'll help you as much as they can and as much (or as little) as they want. Although, temping agencies can be a useful starting point in the world of work, I feel that some are ruthless and in it for themselves only. Another tip is to not feel pressured into taking any job (particularly if it's permanent or long term). If you're not sure don't be afraid to say no, it's in your own interests at the end of the day & they'll probably appreciate your honesty as you're less likely to let them down half-way through a contract. A problem
I have with temping is that the length of jobs can be uncertain, you don't have many rights and jobs are insecure, so please don't forget to apply for permanent work too!
I went out to Brussels in the Summer of 1998, looking for work, and didn't want to do a HORECA (Hotels Restaurants and Cafés) style summer job. I went to Avenue Louise Interim, where I was asked to do a typing test (Wordprocessing and Spreadsheets), and was interviewed in French and German (my chosen languages) as well as English. Whereas other Interim Bureaux just take your details, Avenue Louise Interim checked up that you were capable of what you said you could do, meaning that you could not lie on your CV and get away with it, as had been the case with other Bureaux with friends. As a consequence I landed a summer placement with a large business telecomms company, and returned for a second summer with them in 1999. Getting paid was also never a problem, and timesheets were punctually processed, and contracts for signing arrived promptly too. The staff were exceptionally useful when it came to sorting out tax and banking issues, and getting you a social security number, and they helped me considerably, to the extent that as a result of a job they found for me, I have found a career path.