So, if you are considering seeking out a temporary employment firm, or temp staffing agency, for some work, you should be prepared before you go in with your recruiter. The more you prepare, the more of the professional, they’ll see you as and thus, the more jobs they’ll ultimately hand you first. So what to watch out for:
1) Dress professionally
Even if it’s an ultra cool, artsy temp staffing agency, wear something at least business casual. Nice pants and a blouse or nice shirt is ideal, or for ladies, a long skirt with a nice top. Depending on the weather, don’t forget to think about your layers as well. For example, if you anticipate being chilly, bring a sweater that is appropriate for a nice office, instead of a grungy oversized sweatshirt. Even though the latter is much more comfortable, and often excusably dressed down when the weather is cold, you want to make a good first impression, for these are the people who decide where you work and what you make. The same rules go for if it rains. If you absolutely must wear a casual rain jacket for lack of anything else, be sure to take it off the second you enter the temp agency building.
Bring a couple copies of your resume as well as a separate page of references. Most likely the temp staffing agency has already gotten this online or via email, but they always seem to want another copy. It may be to send to the prospective client. Or possibly just to let you pass the time while anxiously waiting to be seen. Also, the temp staffing agencies usually have their own resume style form they want you to fill out. Although this will have almost the exact same information required as is on your resume that may very well already be in their hands, keep your mouth shut and fill it out anyway. If you have your resume copy with you, it should be just copying back and forth from page to page which makes for an easy quick fill out, not to mention the same information on all of their forms. Either way, take a few copies.
3) Be prepared to wait awhile
You might want to bring a book. Temp staffing agencies see hundreds of potential new temps a week and in most instances they all will seem to show up for their appointment at the same time as you. This is another reason it is helpful to have your own copy of your resume and references because during this stage, most temp staffing agencies will give you that specialized form and the quicker you finish it the further up in the interviewee line you will get.
4) Know Your Programs
It depends on your skill type and level, but almost all potential temps at almost every agency are required to take standard tests to determine their level of knowledge over particular software programs, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Power Point, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, etc. Earlier, before you are seated in front of the computer to test your skills, you probably will have to fill out a form and rate your level of expertise in certain software programs. Be sure you are honest and don’t overrate yourself too much because these tests will be very telling. Not to mention that while you are likely to overestimate your skill level, they are likely to result with an underestimate. This is because they can be much more difficult than one would anticipate. The trick is that you must know how to perform tasks in the programs, particularly Microsoft Word, which is the standard test for everyone, without using shortcut keys. In the Microsoft Word test, which any temp will probably agree it is quite hard, you have to know how to take the long route to doing various things. And agreeably, it is probably ideal that the shortcuts are performed in real life, to speed up your task, but for some strange reason, temp staffing agencies always use this no shortcuts allowed evaluation.
5) Practice your typing skills
Practice that typing, and once again, be fairly accurate when asked to write down your typing speed. You will more than likely be required to take a typing test. The standard test is usually on some sort of flip board just to the left or right of your computer monitor, propped up for an easy read. Your goal is to type it verbatim as fast and as accurately as possible. Accuracy is almost more important than speed, so keep that in mind and type carefully. At many temp staffing agencies you can opt to take it a few times if you wish, and there is also one practice round, but keep in mind that the recruiter you will meet with later on, will be able to see all scores. So practice before you go.
6) Prepare for an interview
After you take your tests and wait a little while longer, you will meet with a recruiter from the temp staffing agency. This is where you must really shine. As stated earlier, these recruiters see hundreds of people a week so you want to make a great first impression. It is their decision who gets what assignment and how much they are worth, so sell yourself.
And then you should hope for a call from your recruiter with an open assignment. Try to call and check in with them every few days to remind them you are still there, waiting. It may seem like you are overwhelming or stalking them, but trust me, they like this persistence and it actually helps them know who is still available to call, thus saving them time in the long run.
So good luck! And even though this might “only be a temp staffing agency” it could lead to the real deal, and even if not, is great practice for it.