It’s no secret, it’s hard to find a good paying full time job. With unemployment still sitting around 8%, those out of work have typically resorted to low paying retail and fast food positions. There are other options, such as staffing agencies (or temp agencies). These are businesses whose job it is to help you find a job.

The Recruiting Process

You reach out to the staffing agency and provide them with your resume. You tell them what jobs you would like to work, your salary expectations, etc. You may have to take a short test to show you are competent to perform the work as well. From there, the agency looks in their database to try and find you a match. But there is no rest on your end. You should review the open positions on their website too and let them know if you find anything you would be interested in doing.

If a match is found, you will interview with the company that is considering hiring you. If you are ace the interview, there is a good chance you have a job!

Job Contracts

It is important to know what type of contract you have with the staffing firm for this particular position. Some positions are simply temporary. A company will hire you for six months during their busy season. After that, you are unemployed again. Another possibility is temp-to-hire. Here, you are a temporary worker for six months. After the sixth month, you continue to work for the company but they can now hire you full time. A final possibility is direct hire, where the staffing firm places you in a full time job with the company from the beginning. For the remainder of this article, I will be talking about temporary and temp-to-hire job opportunities.

Advantages of Temp Jobs

The biggest benefit is getting your foot in the door. Even though you are technically employed by the staffing agency, you are showing your skills to the employer where you are working. It is imperative that you be the best you can be so that your temp job can turn into a permanent one.

Another benefit is that you are covered by Equal Opportunity Employment laws. The staffing firm cannot discriminate against you based on your race, creed, gender, etc. You have the same rights as anyone else applying for the position.

Even if you are not hired full time, the experience you gain and get to put on your resume will help you to land a full time job. Face it, having something on your resume is better than nothing.

Disadvantages of Temp Jobs

The biggest disadvantage is uncertainty. As the end of the contract nears, you do not know if you will be hired full time or not. You can always ask for a status update, but don’t be surprised if your superior is vague.

Another disadvantage is that you aren’t eligible for the benefits at the company where you are working. This means no health care coverage, no 401(k), no vacation time, etc. While many staffing agencies do have benefit packages for its workers, they are usually not as generous as other firms.

A third disadvantage is you can expect your pay to be less than the full time employees doing the same job. This is because part of your pay goes towards the staffing firm who placed you.

A Temp Job is Valuable

In my eyes, a temporary job’s advantages outweigh the disadvantages. When I first graduated from college, I worked a part time job at first because I couldn’t find full time employment. I ended up using a staffing agency to find me a job. It was temp-to-hire job and a few months in, I was hired full time. I ended up staying with that company for over five years.

Even though you give up some benefits and a lower salary, the experience is invaluable, along with the possible network connections you can make.

Photocredit: Bede Jackson via flickr