Inside Staffing – Visiting a Staffing Firm

You’re going to use a staffing firm to help you with your job search. What do you need to know? How should you prepare?

Staffing firms can be great resources for those that need help with a job search. They know a ton of people in the industry and work with some reputable companies in your region as well as across the nation. They know companies that are awesome that you will never know about by just living in an area. It’s part of their job.

A good recruiter will tell you what to bring in with you and it’s typically the following:

  • Copies of your most recent resume
  • Information for your I9 – state ID, passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate, etc
  • References

Did I miss any?

A good recruiter will also tell you what to expect when you come in by setting the agenda up front, you’ll:

  1. be greeted by our admin.
  2. complete an application and fill out paperwork to include I9 and W2.
  3. be given a couple skills evaluations – and should list them based on your experience.

Continuing on with the spiel…

  1. We’ll then meet to discuss your experience, pay, goals & objectives
  2. If we have an open role that matches your skills and pay I’ll talk to about it when we meet.
  3. The whole time should take up to…hour(s) of your time.

Above is what the recruiter will do. But the article is for you the job seeker. Some things to consider or ask before you visit…

How should I dress for the interview?

Dress for success. Some firms can be more casual. Don’t be afraid to ask.

How should I answer salary question?

The best way is to simply let them know what your last position paid you and what you’d like. Be reasonable. Understand the market, your skill set, and experience. Expect the recruiter to mention what the market salary is if you tend to inflate things. Keep in mind, you can ask for whatever number you desire, but the recruiter may not call you for roles that are close. Don’t limit yourself too much.

How does your company work?

To be more accurate, what steps are taken by the firm when they get a position and how do they determine if you are a potential candidate? They do it every day, the firm should tell you step-by-step how things are done on a daily basis – from what the sales person does to the process of presenting a job opportunity to you over the phone.

What companies do you currently work with? OR Who are some of your top clients?

Pin the firm down a bit. Just because they did huge volume with a company a year ago doesn’t mean they have current contractors at the same company when you meet with them. Many markets have good, large, companies that people have heard of and prefer to work at. Ensure the firm tells you about the companies that fly under the radar and are not as well-known. These are gold nuggets and can be exciting places and good options for employment.

What can I do to help you find me a job?

I don’t think I ever had anyone ask me this question, but wow would that show how you want to collaborate on your search efforts. Keep in mind that the info you provide to the firm will be used as leads.

How will I know where my resume is submitted?

Don’t let the firm blast your resume all over the place! Many should not for fear of double submitting you and having you disqualified based on this technicality. It’s important to know where you’ve been submitted and for what position. Also ask how it works if you get submitted to an employer for a role, can you submit yourself to the same company for a different role. These are rules of engagement and you need to know this. Many relationships with firms, companies and candidates/applicants can go bad if not everyone has the same, consistent, information. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of these details to include: company, contact person, position, stage (submitted app, phone screen w/HR, phone interview w/manager, etc)

What sets your firm aside for all the others?

Keep in mind, you’re dealing with sales and marketing, but you can tell a sincere explanation from the one used by used-car salesmen. After speaking with a few of these folks, you may hear some of the same details, but it’s always good to know. One may just impress you enough where you determine not to use any other staffing firm.

What benefits do you offer?

You want to know what you’re entitled to as you work for the firm. Some firms will allow you to waive benefits in order to get more pay.

How do you determine the pay for a position?

It can be complicated, but a logical explanation should be provided. Don’t push this if it makes sense. Some companies have fixed/set contract agreements with companies that only allow certain pay scales. It should, again, come down to experience level, market, and skill set.

What are the next steps?

If the firm has a job, they’ll let you know the process – submit your info to client, then interview, etc.

If there are no open opportunities that match your profile, the recruiter may tell you they’ll call you or keep in touch. One that is excited about your background will keep you close and schedule future calls to find out how things are coming along in your search and tell you what’s going on his/her end. Eventually you’ll be a contact in a database, not a bad thing, but keeping up to date on things that are not moving forward is a waste of time for everyone. Just let the firm know when you have a new job, if you feel so inclined.

Any staffing experts out there that ask for other information from candidates? Leave it in the comments section.

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