Agency Work

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 - Agency Work, Temporary Jobs


Agency Work

Temporary Job

How to get Agency Work or a Temporary Job

Even though as a recruitment agecy we don’t handle Agency Work, I often get asked how to get Agency Work or a Temporary Job.

The system I keep recommending works time after time, and very quickly, and its quite easy to deploy as long as you are willing to put in a bit of research work first.

As with all of our advice, it is based on the 5 Steps To Employment system.

Work Agency

The first issue with seeking any type of work, is discovering what you have got, and then positioning yourself in a field or market which actually is employing (50 or more jobs?).

Agencies like all recruiters are more selective than employer clients. Specifically, they want people who will enhance their reputation, and hence retain that employer client for more agency work. This is achieved by sending in people who:

  • Do what they claim on their Professional CV
  • Settle in quickly with the team that they are assigned to
  • Pick up the work quickly, and do it
  • Don’t create any issues within the employer client

In reward, these agency workers tend to be kept very busy with a contiual stream of work, and don’t have to scramble around various agencies calling up looking for something.

So, if you want to be a successful Agency Worker, then:

  1. Have a skill which is required in the market (50 or more jobs)
  2. And/or be a reliable and good worker, and enhance that agencies reputation

Agency Work System:

The first issue with an successful system of getting work, is to remember that People employ People. This is as true with Agency Work and Temporary Jobs, as it is with any employer.

The system consists in the Job Application step of seven steps:

  1. Assess the market: who hiring, and what are they paying? Could you do a quick course, or adjust your skill set towards what is being hired for at the right rate?
  2. Create a list of target agencies: this should be made up of a combination of three types of agency: specialist agencies in your target market (ie: accountancy, secretarial, etc); those who are advertising a lot of jobs on the job boards that you research (make a note of the person to contact in these adverts); and those agencies in your area (ie: Agency Work London)
  3. Meet the Agencies: in the world of Click to Apply, much as though you can apply online, if you want work you need to make a personal contact in the agency. They then work for you, rather than you chasing them. So each agency that you have found/researched, ring up and make a personal appointment/meeting. Make contact with a named person (target the one you found in Step2), and make sure that you are talking to a person who handles employer clients and not just an admin or someone who handles job seekers. Take your all of your certificates and professional registration documents, so that clearance of your qualifications is instant. Take time to get to know them, and ideally look to spend 30mins with each agency.
  4. Agree what types of jobs you are suitable for: agree what types of jobs they think you are suitable for, and how you need to adjust your Professional CV
  5. Interview the Agency: ask how quickly they think that they can find you work? As they have agreed the target market and timescale, ask to see how many people that they have placed in that area in the past month? A good temp agency should be able to get you work within 3/4 weeks. If they haven’t placed anyone similar in that timescale, then why register with them?
  6. Adjust your rate for quick Employment: To get work quickly, the easiest way is to drop your hourly/day rate. But while chatting to the agency, ask what their percentages are over what the employee day rate is? Hence with some agencies, much as though you may go low, if they charge a fixed fee below a certain rate, there is no incentive for the employer client.
  7. Manage the communication: now manage the communication. Be prompt in following up on your CV actions, and then agree to communicate regularly. At kimimum, speak once a week on the phone with your contact, and if they haven’t found you any work with four weeks, ask for a meeting. Don’t look like a desperate job seeker, act like a professional! If an agency hasn’t gained you an interview in 6weeks or more, the its a sign that you ought to be reviewing your relationship. No work in 3 months is an instant chop!

How many Temp Agencies?

The next key then, is how many agencies? Agencies want to offer their clients great people who are unique to them. Secondly, when an employer client sees you offered by more than one agency, then you look like a desparate job seeker. Hence at both agency and employer levels, they will be very reluctant to employ you. Further the agency from client feedback of having seen you in more than one agencies list, may well put you on a Do Not Use list. To avoid this problem, I’d suggest therefore work with between 4 and 6 agencies at maximum. Spread this around in terms of specialisation and geography, and be honest if they ask if you have registered with others, explaining your reasoning. If they don’t get you work, then change one or two every four weeks, and make sure that you actively deregister. You may well find that after deregistering, you suddenly get an offer of a Job Interview. Don’t worry, its a normal lazy agency trick! It is up to you whether you take it or not.

Do Not Use List

All Temporary Employment Agencies have a Do Not Use List, which lists job seekers who through various pieces of assesment they do not wish to place. This list has to comply with all Employment Law and Discrimination Legislation, so it is normally based on the fact that you were dismissed early from a piece of Agency Work at the clients request. There are other reasons that you will get placed on there, including being serially difficult to handle by the agency staff, or being highly persistent/looking like a desperate job seeker, and registering with too many other agencies.

What should you do if you end up on a Do Not Use List, or suspect that you have been placed on one? Firstly, call the agency if you are not getting any work, and ask what the problem is? If they seem willing to work with you, ad opportunities suddenly appear, then its just been a drop-off in communication.

However, if opportunities do not appear, then ask again why? If you are not happy with the answers, then seek out and register with another agecy, before actively deregistering with that one. There is no point in fighting against their decision, it will never get you work any quicker.

If you fail or make a mistake in a job, and get dismissed by the client early, then engage the agency and put your side of the story across. Always be prepared if necessary to applogise, remember you represent the agency and its retention of its reputation with that client is revenue to them. Enabling them to achieve that means that they will work for you to get another position.

OK, let see the principles of the system in operation…

Howdo you get a job through a temp agency?

Mike, a creative artist who is looking for temporray admin work: I have been registered with at least 12 temp agencies and have been calling at least weekly to each one for the past six months. So far, I’ve been placed on 3 one-day assignments and one full-time job where I was fired after two weeks (given a very vague reasoning). I’m wondering just how should I go about working with these temp agencies? They always say they will call me right away when something comes in. Is it possible they’ve only received a handful of jobs in the last 6 months? Who should I be speaking to at these agencies? Is there something else I need to be doing in order to really get them to pay attention to me?

In Answer:

Well, you have made the right third step, but after that made a few errors.

First step is to assess the market: who hiring, and what are they paying? Could you do a quick course, or adjust your skill set towards what is being hired for at the right rate?

Second step is to create a list of target agencies. This should be made up of specialist agencies i your target employment area, those who are advertising a lot of jobs on the job boards that you research (make a ote of the person to contact in these adverts), and those agencies in your area.

Third, phone each agency and ask for a personal appointment/meeting. Make contact with a named person, and make sure that you are talking to a person who handles employer clients and not just an admin or someone who handles job seekers. Take time to get to know them. Then agree what types of jobs they think you are suitable for, and how you need to adjust your CV/resume.

Then having agreed to do that, ask how quickly they think that they can find you work? As they have agreed the target market and timescale, ask to see how many people that they have placed in that area in the past month. The key here is that agencies want people who will do good work, reliably, and then the client will pay them and keep engaging that agency. The fact that you didn’t do that with one agency suggests that you are on their Do Not Use list. You may not only have lost yourself work, but them a client as well.

To get work quickly, the easiest way is to drop your hourly/day rate. But while chatting to the agency, ask what their percentages are over what the employee day rate is? Hence with some agencies, much as though you may go low, if they charge a fixed fee below a certain rate, there is no incentive for the employer client.

The next key then, is how many agencies? I’d suggest that 12 is far too many. Agencies want to offer their clients great people who are unique to them. Secondly, when an employer client see’s you offered by more than one agency, then you look like a desparate job seeker. Hence at both agency and employer levels, they will be very reluctant to employ you, ad the agency from client feedback of having seen you in more than one agencies list may well put you on a Do Not Use list. To avoid this problem, I’d suggest therefore that you want to be choosey, and work with between 4 and 6 agencies at maximum. spread this around in ters of specialisation and geography, and be honest if they ask if you have registered with others, explaining your reasoning.

Once you are registered, rather than eMailing on a regular basis, set timescales of communications with your contact. Once a week should be minimum, but pick up the phone and talk at leats one a week, and meet once a month. A good agency should need more than a few weeks to place a reliable and initially cheap employee, and once you are proven you won’t find getting work a problem.

The position you are in now, suggest that you ought to reasses everything, from target market to agencies that you are registered with. I’d start by calling each, and asking for feedback o why they are not getting you work? What more could you do to help them? If they agree that they can’t help you, then what’s the point in being registered with them? If an agency hasn’t gained you an interview in 6weeks or more, the its a sign that you ought to be reviewing your relationship. No work in 3months is an instant chop!

There is work out there, I just conclude that in part due to personal branding/positioning, and in part due to over registration/being put on at least one Do Not Use list, you have dug yourself into a job search hell. Don’t worry, its easily solved, you just need to go back a bit and make sure that the agencies are working for you.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Agency Work”

  1. Ken Haggans Says:

    Excellent piece, very informative. The Agencies really are interesting, and you need good understanding before you go encounter them

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