Your Best Job-Search Resource: Staffing Services De-Mystified

July 17th, 2014

In other posts, we’ve talked about the benefits of a staffing service, the flexibility of temporary work, and all the opportunities one can find through a service. However, we really never defined some key staffing service lingo or explained how all this works! So here it goes.

Temporary (AKA contract)
Just as the name implies, these assignments have a specific end date. There may be someone on medical/maternity leave, a seasonal increase in business, or a special project. These are just some of the possible reasons a client may have need for a temporary employee. The timeframe varies rather widely. Some assignments are just one day or a couple weeks, and others could be for as long as a year! On average, they tend to be around 2-3 months long.

And a quick note about some other terms that can be rather confusing. The labels full-time and part-time really refer more to number of hours worked per week; it’s not an indication as to whether a job is temporary or permanent. Actually, it’s quite possible to have a full-time job that’s temporary or a direct-hire position that is part-time.

Temp-to-hire (AKA temp-to-perm)
In the temp-to-hire scenario, the client is looking to fill this position on a permanent basis. And while this trial period allows them to see if things work out from their end, it’s also a fabulous chance for you to test out the job and see what you think. If at the end of the trial period both you and the client are happy with the match, then the job offer would typically follow. The length of time for this trial period varies. But overall, it usually averages out to about 3 months or so if you’re working full-time hours. So it actually functions very similarly to the 90-day probationary period that many employers use.

Direct hire
In this scenario, the company is using the staffing service to help with the sourcing and interviewing of applicants. But when the client selects someone for the position, that individual is an employee of the client company from the very first day on the job.

The process and what to expect

While it varies a bit from one staffing service to the next, the process typically unfolds like this:

  1. Get started with the application, which is often found at the staffing service website. Be sure to submit your resume!
  2. Interview in-person with the staffing service. You can talk a bit more about your background, skills, preferences, etc. This conversation is crucial; it paints the picture of what you’re looking for!
  3. The process may include computer evaluations and reference checks

That should give you an idea of the basic language you’ll encounter in the world of staffing services. And during this process, a really great staffing service will take the time to get to know you just as thoroughly as they know their business partners. And from there, they can match you with jobs that meet your needs while also meeting the needs of the companies they work with, resulting in a wonderful win-win situation. So now that you’re an expert, get started and find the path to your dream job!