Working for Temp Agencies: The Good and the Bad

5 Minute Read

 

There are pros and cons for temp agencies. I have worked with them for years and I have found that they are:

  • Usually quick and efficient
  • Better used when you use more than 3 different agencies at a time
  • Great for times when you are really in a crunch
  • Allows you opportunities to build your skills in different types of organizations
  • Allows you opportunities for career exploration
  • Great for expanding your social network
  • Typically very good at negotiating wage/salary
  • Opportunity for a permanent position

 

Some of the cons that I have experienced with temp agencies are:

  • The risk of your wage being a few dollars shorter than you want,  due to the temp agency being paid by the company
  • Sometimes, there is high turnover
  • Uncertainty of whether you will be offered the job at the end of the contract
  • Not being offered the job at the end of the contract or an abrupt ending with no explanation
  • Limited flexibility with requesting time off
  • If the position is new, sometimes, other employees automatically don’t like you because the company didn’t recruit internally
  • Unfair treatment / treated like the help instead of an employee
  • No benefits when you are a temp

My first two jobs out of college were temporary/temp to hire jobs. Each one lasted different contract lengths. One was 3 months, the other was 7 months. In that time, I learned A LOT of things that I didn’t learn in school. I have used the skills and abilities that I gained from my first job to land my second job, and what I learned from both of those two jobs to land my current permanent job (which I did not find through a temp agency). My job is perfect for me and I love what I do, but honestly, I likely would not have gotten it, without the knowledge, skills and abilities that I gained from my temp positions.

Personally, I think the pros outweigh the cons, but I also have a different set of circumstances than a lot of other people who use temp agencies. Being that I am in my first year out of school, and living at home, I have a little more flexibility of the types of jobs I could accept. I did not have an immediate need for a permanent/fulltime position, though it was something that I wanted. My first job out of school was a three month contract that ended. I was offered to apply for the permanent position, but I did not think it was a good fit for me, so I declined and moved on. My second job, thanks to the temp agency, came along one week later. It was another temp to hire position. The contract specified a certain number of hours had to be worked before they would consider me for the position. The quota dragged over 6 months and I wasn’t being treated respectfully. I was being overly micro managed and treated as if I was not an educated individual with the skills do to my job, so I quit. (See my post Quit your job. Know your worth. for more on this job). This was obviously not good for the agency, but they understood once I explained.

Which brings me to my next point.

            When you work for a temp agency, you are not the only one at risk. Temp agencies are at risk of losing their reputation if they do not have temps who are proven to be skilled in their jobs or if they have temps that quit. When temps quit, the agency loses money. The agency is typically paid by the company that you temp for 15-20% of your wage.

The company itself takes on risk as well. They have to rely on the agency to give them good candidates instead of doing it themselves. They also have to pay more money, (the 15-20% that I mentioned) for the use of the employee. Companies take on the risk of a temp employees’ lack of commitment to the job as well.

In all, I still think that temp agencies are worth it, especially for students or people who are fresh out of college. My best friend, Ali, didn’t believe in temp agencies before we graduated. I told her to give it a chance and now she is working an amazing job that she loves. I have told many of my friends about the benefits of temp agencies and while some have taken my advice and some have not, and that is perfectly ok. It’s really up to you and how you feel on the topic. Hopefully, sharing my experience with it has given you some insight.  

There isn’t really a taboo of using temp agencies. It’s the fear of your resume looking bad because you were job hopping. And let me tell you why, for me, job hopping was the best thing ever…stay tuned in my next blog.

 

 

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