In Boston, a city with one of the country’s highest costs of living, you have to earn money somehow. Whether you’re a student, a graduate, a victim of downsizing or simply someone looking to change careers, you can always turn to temporary employment agencies to help you pay the rent.
That’s what I did. As a person with administrative and editorial experience, I recently knocked on the doors of several Boston
employment agencies looking for temp work. Read on for my reviews.
Name: Abbott Personnel
Address: 4 Faneuil Hall, 4th floor, Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 423-0202
Assignments available: General administrative and office support.
Nature of assignments: Temp, temp-to-hire, contract, perm.
Specialties: Connections with publishing industry.
Initial interview: Thorough and attentive. Staff is empathetic and understanding.
Follow-up: Frequent, usually by phone and E-mail. Staff offered me opportunities up to twice a week. Enthusiasm was contagious!
Notes: Abbott’s temp positions, like full-time jobs, often require interviews with employers before you are given a particular assignment. This can be daunting, but also gives the sense that Abbott is looking out for you, making sure that the temp and the assignment match.
Overall grade: A. Great attention to temp’s skills and interests, as well as for customer service.
Name: Atrium Staffing
Address: 143 Newbury Street, 4th floor, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 447-2000
Assignments available: Accounting and general office support.
Nature of assignments: Temp, temp-to-hire, perm.
Specialties: Connections with universities and financial sector.
Initial interview: Very in-depth. Staff grills you. A bit intimidating.
Follow-up: Weekly, usually by phone, just to see how you are doing. Makes you feel like a valued employee.
Notes: Pre-assignment interviews with prospective employers depend on your areas of interest. Online timesheet submission makes getting your money that much easier. Finally, Atrium’s insurance policy, available after just a month’s worth of full-time work, distinguishes it from other temp agencies.
Overall grade: A+. They’re polite; they’re persistent on your behalf, and they’ll insure you.
Name: Hollister, Inc.
Address: 75 State Street, 9th floor, Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 654-0200
Assignments available: Temp, temp-to-hire, contract, perm.
Nature of assignments: Accounting, creative services, general office support.
Specialties: Connections with corporations in downtown Boston.
Initial interview: Cursory and impersonal.
Follow-up: Erratic. I received one call shortly after my interview, but then seemed to fall off their map, even though I gave my contact weekly updates about my availability.
Notes: Some Hollister assignments may require interviews with potential employers. Also, Hollister offers a limited guaranteed work program. If you choose to do so, you can be on call. If you receive an assignment, you are paid for a full day. If you do not get an assignment, you can get paid for three hours of refining your computer skills at the agency offices.
Overall grade: C. Fast-paced and impersonal.
Name: Preferred Temporaries
Address: 100 City Hall Plaza, Suite 550, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 723-1919
Assignments available: Temp, temp-to-hire, contract.
Nature of assignments: Accounting, general office support, medical.
Specialties: Connections with local universities.
Initial interview: Short and general. Interviewer seemed more interested in putting me to work than hearing about my experience.
Follow-up: Rapid. Preferred was the first agency to offer me an assignment that I could take. Staff also responded quickly when one of my checks was delayed in the mail; they cut me another one over the course of my lunch break.
Notes: For those who want to get to work quickly, Preferred does not usually require interviews with employers to which you may be assigned. On the administrative side of things, filling out Preferred’s timesheets is a pain.
Overall grade: B. Lower wages on some assignments and annoying timesheets are balanced out by superior attention to temps.
Name: Professional Staffing Group
Address: 89 Devonshire Street, Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 250-1000
Assignments available: Accounting, creative services, general office support, technical.
Nature of assignments: Temp, temp-to-hire, contract.
Specialties: Connections with non-profits.
Initial interview: Speedy but friendly. Professional Staffing Group’s raucous atmosphere makes the job-seeking process slightly less nerve-wracking.
Follow-up: Occasional, by phone.
Notes: Interviews with prospective employers not required. Furthermore, Professional Staffing Group has a Guaranteed Work Program Ã¢Â?Â¢. Those who can get into this popular program show up at the firm’s headquarters each morning, guaranteed an assignment and a day’s pay.
Overall grade: B. Large enough to provide you many opportunities, but personalized enough to give you individual attention, Professional Staffing Group should satisfy most temps in the Boston area.