What Candidates should look for in a staffing agency

By: Whitney Heinrichs

  1. Listening Skillsthe most prevalent complaint we hear is the staffing agency “didn’t listen to me”. They tried to push me into a position they needed to fill and not what was best for me.Look for a staffing agency and a recruiter that starts their conversation with you by asking “what type of work are you looking for?” You want the recruiter to ask a number of questions about you and your career goals. If all they are doing is telling you about a position, what it pays, where it is, etc.., then they are filling a position they have open and not worried about the career path that is best for you.
  2. Career AdviceIs your recruiter taking a genuine interest in you and your career goals, your life challenges? Are they asking the right questions to show that they care enough about finding a career path that works for you?A good recruiter asks questions, listens to your answers and provides advice/makes recommendations based on their expertise. They should try to understand your personality, skills and make suggestions on appropriate career paths, companies and positions. Their concern should be “Is your life getting better if you pursue this opportunity?”
  3. ThoroughnessIs your recruiter spending enough time with you?Spending 5 minutes on the phone or doing a 15 minute “interview” is not adequate for making a win –win placement. The recruiter’s job is to make a productive match between client and candidate, not to fill positions as quickly as possible. The acid test of a recruiter’s effectiveness is “how happy is the candidate and client after 3 months?”. If your recruiter is not spending enough time with you, the probability of a successful placement dramatically goes down.
  4. ClientsIs your recruiter presenting you with opportunities at great companies, or are they simply trying to fill open positions with anyone?The single most important aspect in working with a recruiter is whether or not they can present you with a REAL opportunity at a great company. Great companies mean that the organization is thriving and growing, has structured and detailed training and has a professional and experienced leadership team. It also means that there is an opportunity to earn a permanent position if you prove yourself!
  5. PreparationDoes your recruiter spend time with you to make sure you are prepared to have an excellent interview with a potential client?Getting an interview at a great client is an important step, however if you go in unprepared, you will not do as well as you could and might lose the opportunity. It is extremely important to be prepared, to know the position’s responsibilities and why you would be a good fit for the position. It is essential to know who you are interviewing with and what they are looking for in a candidate. You need to be confident in your interview and the best way to feel confident is to be prepared!
  6. Follow upYou got the job — congratulations! Now what? Did your recruiter give you a client orientation? Did they follow up with you after your first day of work, after 1 week, after training was completed, after 1 month, after 2 months, etc…? Or did they wish you good luck and you never heard from them again?The goal is not to fill a position with a candidate (where the recruiter celebrates on day 1) – the goal is to facilitate a SUCCESSFUL placement where the employee is certain they made a good career move (where the employee celebrates on day 90). The most critical and most unsettled time of your employment is in the beginning. You don’t know anyone, you are learning a new position, you have new responsibilities, who do you go to if you have questions, you don’t know the organization and who is in charge of what – there are so many unknowns. You need a confidant, someone who cares if you get off on the right foot, someone to express concerns to and someone to alleviate fears and if need be to address issues on your behalf. If you can successfully navigate the first 90 days, you are off and running with a valuable career.

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