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Five Misleading Myths About Getting A Job Through a Staffing Company

By Cheryl Ferguson

Cheryl Ferguson is the host of The Recruiter's Studio, a career resources website featuring weekly web cast interviews of people talking about what they do for a living.

Five Misleading Myths About Getting A Job Through a Staffing Company

I’ve talked to half a dozen college grads recently that are still unemployed six months after graduating. Frustrated, they are not exactly sure what they want to do for a living, but they do know they "want to do something interesting," "they don’t want to be pigeonholed," and most certainly "don’t want to register with a staffing company."

Staffing companies offer candidates, from administrative assistants to CEOs, the opportunity to gain access to companies in one of two ways: on a temporary or temporary ­ to­ hire basis on assignments that can last anywhere from one day to six months or longer; or on a full-time basis. According to the American Staffing Association’s website, more than 90% of companies in the US use staffing firms, and 40% of employees looking for their first job or who are reentering the job market have done so by working with a staffing company.

So let’s take a look at some of the most common and very misleading myths:

Myth #1: I only want a "real" job, not a temporary job.
Reality: The jobs available through staffing companies are “real” jobs at companies like: Amazon, Continental Airlines, Freddie Mac, Hearst Publications, Microsoft, PG &E, RBC Dain Rauscher, Suntron, Sony, Starbucks, and Visa. These companies develop budgets to hire a set number of full-time employees on an annual basis, and include in that budget a substantial amount of money that can be used to hire temporary staff throughout the year to handle the ebb and flow of business. When the time comes for the company to open up the temporary position as full-time, you are perfectly positioned to interview for the full-time job.

Myth #2: The jobs available through staffing companies are low paying jobs.
Reality: This is simply not so. As a recent college grad you will most likely be offered assignments commensurate with your experience, which is entry level. It is up to you to decide how to leverage that opportunity so that you can take your career to the next level. One college grad I worked with was able to parlay his experience planning events in his junior and senior years at college into an entry level job paying $12/hr plus benefits, at a special events company that had a Fortune 100 company as one of its clients. At the end of two and a half years, he left that company to become an Account Executive at a major branding design firm. In this new position he had access to senior level management at Fortune 1000 companies.

Here are just some of the opportunities offered by staffing companies who have open positions:

  • Regional Sales Director for a Major Retailer ­ Full-time position with a six figure salary
  • Employee Relations Coordinator for a Fortune 100 Company ­ 43K
  • Merchant Analyst for Leading Internet Retailer ­Long term temporary assignment at $25/hr
  • Recruiting Coordinator ­Three month temporary assignment at $14/hr

  • Bi-Lingual (German/English) Customer Service Rep ­ Temporary ­ to ­hire position at $14/hr.
  • Marketing Specialist for a Fortune 100 Company ­Long term temporary assignment, rate of pay DOE depends on experience)
  • Accountant for a local construction company ­Full time position paying $55-60k

    Myth #3: Staffing companies only work with entry level, administrative type candidates.
    Reality: Twenty years ago it may have been the case that temporary agencies only worked with entry level candidates. Today, specialty firms that place professional, managerial and technical staffing candidates, and even agencies that are more general in nature, work with companies that offer opportunities for candidates who are looking to get their foot in the door or change industries.

    Case in point: a couple of years ago I worked for a staffing company that placed a Rhodes Scholar in his first full-time job at a major internet retailer, two Ph.D.s making the switch from academia to the “real world” at a much higher rate of pay than they had been making in academia, and a seasoned patent paralegal interested in leaving a law firm and going into industry.

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