How Staffing Agencies Work

The search for your new career, or job, does not have to happen alone. Whether you are interested in freelance work or a full-time position after graduation, staffing agencies offer qualified candidates a team of recruiters and account executives who are all working toward finding the best fit for your career needs. They work to build a relationship with the client that job seekers can benefit from, making staffing agencies another resource for your job search.

According to the American Staffing Association, around 3.2 million temporary and contract workers were employed by U.S. staffing companies per week in 2014, up 5.4% from 2013.1 Additionally, more and more companies are using one or more agencies to fill open positions; often, those positions may not even be publicized. Partnering with a staffing agency on your next job search gives you access to that many more opportunities. If this is your first time considering it, read on for information on the process.

 Selecting an Agency

With so many choices, making the first move toward finding a recruitment agency can be just as stressful as finding a job itself. How do you know which one is right for you? The answer really lies in what you are looking for. Before moving forward, start your list with agencies specific to your industry. There is a staffing agency for every field from creative to financial to technical. Creative Circle, for example, specializes in placing advertising, marketing, creative, and interactive professionals. This narrowed focus ensures that the agency has the connections to hiring managers in that field and expertise necessary to be successful.

Another testament to an agency’s connections is how long they have been in business. One that is more established will have accumulated loyal clients along the way. The established agencies have spent years developing direct client relationships that job seekers won’t get from applying directly. Alternatively, a relatively young agency may have fewer candidates you are competing with for the same position. Either way, determine which factor is most important to you to get the most out of the agency you decide to work with.

The last factor to look at (but definitely not the least) is the industry experience of the agency’s recruiters. Your recruiter will be your partner on the journey to a new job so look for an agency staffed with professionals who have industry-specific experiences, that way they will understand you and your skills.

Creative Circle’s recruiters, for example, all have creative backgrounds. As experts in the field, they will be able to provide relevant feedback on your resume and portfolio. In addition, they know the technical terms around your work and will have no problem relaying to clients. Be at ease knowing that your connection to the client can sell your skills in a way that reflects you in the best light.

Submitting Your Application

You’ll find that applying to be represented by a staffing agency starts much like applying to work directly for any company: with a resume. Because this is the first impression you get to make on a recruiter, include all relevant experience and skills. Be honest with your proficiency in each area of your work – your recruiter cannot help if they do not have an accurate representation of who you are.

While the exact registration process varies, most agencies will ask that you sign up online and upload a resume and work samples or portfolio, if applicable. You may also be able to respond directly to the job posting. Once you are in the agency’s system, a recruiter will review your documents and may get in touch to schedule an interview if you are a good fit. The interview helps the recruiter gain a better understanding of your career goals and objectives. You will also get a chance to receive feedback on areas of improvement so that you can better your chances of getting placed.

Keep in mind that your first interview may not be for one specific job. Recruiters work on dozens of jobs at one time and after the interview, they may find that you are a better fit for another position you had not yet seen. Interviewing is the first step to unlocking the connections that an agency’s experience and client relationships can bring you.

The Hiring Process

The most beneficial part of applying with a staffing agency is being represented by a team who puts your best foot forward to clients. After the interview, you can expect that your recruiter will share your resume, portfolio and details of the interview with the rest of the team. Once a job order from a client comes in, they will begin to make calls to viable candidates to talk about the job specifics and determine availability and interest. The candidates who fall into these categories are submitted.

Since companies often work with more than one staffing agency, it is likely they are receiving several submissions to one job since each agency will present their top candidates for the position. If the client would like to learn more about you, your recruiter would set up an interview, communicate the expectations and make sure you are prepped to meet the client. At this point, your pay and other terms of employment would be negotiated on your behalf. Because this happens directly with the client, it is important to be upfront with your needs and expectations during your initial interview.

If the client thinks you are the perfect fit for them, you can expect competitive rates and the opportunity to enroll in benefits. Since most staffing agencies provide this service at no cost to the candidates, it is a smart way to expand the reach of your search while ensuring you have the help of industry experts along the way.

Get Started

Working with a staffing agency gives you one more resource in your job search toolbox. Spend the time to refine your resume and develop clear objectives so your recruiter can find the best possible job for you. Know that you will have a team of recruiters and account executives all working behind the scenes on your behalf. You will benefit from their experience, client list and many available jobs. While you are still encouraged to use other job search resources, submitting an application to a staffing agency relieves the pressure of job searching on your own and provides guidance to make sure you find a position that is right for you.

This article was originally posted on CSU Global’s The Global Broadcast here.


  1. It was helpful when you explained why we need to look at the industry experience of the staffing agencies we’re considering. I need to find temporary employment for the next few months because we have some extra expenses coming up. Thanks for sharing this article and helping me feel prepared to choose a good staffing agency to use.

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