Temp agencies: Short-term work yields long-term results

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Temporary help agencies such as Kelly Services began during the last century. At that time, the "Kelly girl" and others like her, filled in for permanent staff while employees took off for short-term vacations or maternity leaves.

Today, however, there's a new face for the temporary worker. Male or female, they are a valuable part of any organizational team. In fact, companies often outsource their hiring needs through temporary agencies. More than ever before, job seekers look to temporary agencies to meet their own employment needs. Here are a few things to consider as you contemplate whether or not a temporary agency is right for you:

1. Got jobs? You bet! Temporary agencies staff a host of positions in a wide range of industries, such as warehouse, light industrial, clerical, management and technology. It's all there for the qualified worker. Select an agency that specializes in your professional area of interest then work with the agency representative to determine the best placement opportunities.

2. What about work on my side of town? Most agencies will work with you regarding personal preferences such as location, hours and days. Obviously, the more flexible you are, the more job opportunities will be available to you. Be careful, though. Don't accept work responsibilities that you won't be able to honor long-term. Consider how the position will impact your life before you accept the assignment.

3. Be responsible. Temporary agencies do not have an endless supply of employees just waiting by the phone to fill assignments. If you accept an assignment, you must work it. Certainly emergencies happen. But be sure that you act as professionally as possible in the course of your employment. You never know what doors will open or close based on your choices.

4. But I want permanent work! That's understandable. (Although experience tells us that nothing in this world is permanent.) Make your desires known to the agency representative when you begin to work together. Many reputable companies opt to secure the services of a temporary service in order to fill full-time positions within their organizations. Sometimes, however, they want to try the potential employee out for awhile. This works to your advantage, too. Isn't it great to check out a company before you commit to it? Temporary work gives you the opportunity to re-enter the work force and get to know the atmosphere of an organization. Maybe you'll love the assignment; maybe you won't. Temporary agencies give you invaluable insight.

5. Relationships count. Relationships are what this world's all about. Make the most of your temporary help experience. First, get to know the schedulers, the placement specialists, in the agency. Call them once a day to find out what new assignments might be coming in. Get to know the schedulers as you allow them to get to know your likes and dislikes. Remember, you don't have to take any assignment they offer but you will garner some "brownie" points if you can help them out. If you do assist them, they are more likely to look out for you when just the right job comes in.

Also, don't forget the value of relationships when actually on the job. You are getting some wonderful exposure to central Ohio employers that most potential employees don't get. Treat every assignment as if you were assigned permanently. Give it everything you've got. Who knows? It might just become permanent. Or the boss might just remember that temporary employee you when he or she goes to fill something else.

6. Is there a fee? Nope. Agencies deal directly with the companies in terms of fees and billing. You'll get a paycheck directly from the temporary agency.

7. What about benefits? Most agencies now have some kind of basic structure for paid time off. Insurance is usually also available but the fee that the employee must pay for insurance is usually higher than other forms of benefited employment. Only you can decide what's right for you and your family.

For more information, contact New Directions Career Center (NDCC), a non-profit agency serving central Ohio, at (614) 849-0028, extension 100. NDCC assists individuals regardless of their ability to pay.