Apply to work through a temp agency
Talk to someone from a local reentry or workforce development program for advice about finding a good temp agency and what to expect.
Temp agencies (also called staffing agencies) help match people who are looking for work with employers who want to hire them. Temp agencies can often help you to find a short-term job or part-time job quickly, which, in some cases, can get your foot in the door for a permanent position in the future. In addition, some temp agencies specifically focus on helping people with criminal records get jobs, and they work with employers who are open to hiring applicants with criminal records.
Another benefit of going through to a temp agency is that once you apply to the agency, they can place you in jobs with many different employers who want to hire. Applying to a temp agency is similar to applying for a job directly with the employer—it will likely include an interview, checking your references, and possibly even doing a background check. The temp agency may also have you take an assessment test to evaluate your work strengths and skills. It still can be easier to apply through a temp agency rather than an employer, because most agencies always want to increase their pool of employees to choose from, and employers often prefer to hire temp workers because it’s cheaper.
If you’re interested in applying to a temp agency, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Not all temp agencies are the same! Just like employers, some temp agencies are better to work for than others. Ask around to find a temp agency that treats employees well and has a good record of placing people in jobs. Some things to ask about are: how long people usually have to wait before getting placed with an employer; how long most jobs last; what employers the temp agency works with; whether the agency places many people with criminal records; and how the agency treats people.
- Different temp agencies may focus on different types of jobs or different industries. Each temp agency is different, so the application requirements and process may be different from one agency to another. If there are several different temp agencies available in your area, do your homework to find out which one is right for you.
- When you apply through a temp agency, you will have to sign a contract with the agency that makes you an employee. Any offers of work that you get, either temporary or permanent, must go through the agency. The contract may even prohibit you from looking for work on the side, outside of the agency. If you want to look for other work on your own, you may need to ask the agency to release you from your contract. Before you sign up with a temp agency, it is recommended that you read all the fine print and ask questions about anything you don’t fully understand!
- The temp agency is responsible for paying the employees who they send to work for an employer. The employer will pay the temp agency—NOT the employee—for the work, and then the agency takes a cut of the money and gives the rest to the employee. For example, if the employer pays the temp agency $20/hour for each employee, the agency may keep $5/hour of pay and then pay the employee $15/hour.
- Beware of any temp agency that charges you a fee for job placement! Most agencies collect their fees from the employer—NOT from the job applicant or employee.
For more information about applying for jobs through a temp agency, here are some resources:
- How Temp Agencies Work—http://money.howstuffworks.com/business/getting-a-job/temp-agencies.htm
- Working for Temp Agencies—Pros & Cons of Temping—http://www.moneycrashers.com/working-temp-agencies-temping/
- How Do Temp Agencies Work? 9 Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss—http://www.jobunlocker.com/blog/how-do-temp-agencies-work-9-tips-you-cant-afford-to-miss/