According to Economist.com statistics from July 2016, 2.9 million U.S. workers are currently employed on a temporary basis. This number corresponds to more than 2% of the total American workforce. For this week’s post, Menlo Partners Staffing continued our summer interview series and spoke with a San Francisco Bay Area woman about her experiences and insights from working as a temp.
What is your background?
I graduated from college in 2012 with a degree in Social Sciences. Beginning in 2014, I temped for approximately two years at a variety of local companies before accepting my current full-time job as an administrator at a venture capital firm.
What role did employment agencies play in your job search?
Initially, I chose to temp because I was planning to relocate outside the Bay Area. Later, I decided to remain local, and I continued temping while looking for long-term work.
I registered with six or seven local agencies – independent firms as well as local offices of national companies. In my own searches online, I noticed many job postings were placed by agencies. As opposed to sending my resume into the black abyss of Craigslist and Indeed, I felt I had a better chance of being considered for positions by establishing relationships with recruiters. I applied at multiple agencies to expand my scope, because each agency has different clients. Through the agencies, I was exposed to positions I didn’t know about and industries I wouldn’t have considered if I had conducted my search exclusively on my own.
Happily, my current job in venture capital came as the result of temping! I completed an assignment at the firm last year, and they ended up hiring me for position that opened up later. The agency received a conversion fee in the process.
When you were temping, much work did you receive?
I worked on assignments for four agencies, ranging in duration from two weeks to about seven months. The longest period of time without an assignment was about a month. It’s very stressful being in between assignments, because of the uncertainty of knowing when your next interview or offer will come. Most of the agencies were really good about keeping in touch and letting me know about new opportunities.
What was your impression of the agencies themselves?
Most of the agencies were extremely responsive. The staff were friendly and very professional. At one office – the local branch of a national firm – I noticed the staff paid less attention to detail. Their e-mails to me seemed rushed, with frequent misspellings. That made them seem less professional to me.
Did the recruiters offer you positions well matched to your preferences, or did they seem more interested in filling their open jobs?
Although the recruiters I worked with were sincere and genuinely cared about helping me find what I was looking for, I often felt that their first priority was filling their open positions. It was obvious when they were urgently trying to fill a job that wasn’t *quite* what I wanted or preferred. Having said that, I was always willing to hear them out, and I was comfortable turning down assignments without hurting my consideration for future opportunities.
What kind of screening and testing did you undergo?
One agency tested me on Microsoft Word and Excel. There was no testing of any kind at the other agencies, but they all did background screenings and checked my references.
What were the least positive aspects of working as a temp?
The most stressful part was not having job security. I never knew how long an assignment would last. Several of my positions were presented as “possible temp-to-hire,” but the client companies began interviewing outside candidates almost immediately after I started. A true temp-to-hire assignment seemed very elusive. Several companies were willing to use temps as a band-aid, but filled their full-time positions with outside candidates they had sourced themselves. Perhaps the client companies weren’t completely honest with the recruiters about their willingness to hire temps onto their payroll, but I wish there had been more transparency about that.
Final question. Would you work with agency recruiters again?
Menlo Partners Staffing – a leader in temporary and direct hire recruiting
The experienced talent acquisition team at Menlo Partners Staffing is ready and available to assist you in a job search, or to help you fill an open position. Contact our office today for further information! Thanks for reading.