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ARCHIVED  August 1, 1997

How to choose a temp agency

Employers in the United States these days increasingly rely on an industry that was virtually unheard of just a decade or two ago.

Temporary-employment agencies have become as essential as a fax machine, e-mail and mobile phone, but, as with most industries, competition has picked up in the temp market, leaving employers with a host of choices in selecting a temp agency.

Here are a few factors that employers should consider when sifting through all the options. Whether you’re looking for temporary help on an emergency, short-term or temp-to-hire basis, know the agency you’re working with. Contact several agencies and get a sense of what each has to offer before you select one.What are you looking for?
Before you pick an agency, identify the skill sets you are looking for. What do you want this person or these people to do? How many hours are they expected to work? How do you want them to dress? What kind of environment will they be working in? Information you provide the agency will help them find a good fit for your office.Visit the site
A good agency will visit your workplace, and you are advised to visit the agency. Tour the site, have them take you through the process for selecting workers. Ask questions. Find out the agency’s specialty: clerical, industrial, agricultural, medical, technical, etc. Find out how many clients with experience in your field they have available to work and what sort of testing or skill evaluations they use. Some agencies have even created training centers to provide workers with skills necessary for a variety of occupations.
If you contract through a sales person, be aware that someone else may be handling your account in the future. Also, you might want to select an agency that you can reach 24 hours a day.References
Any temp agency worth its salt should provide references. Talk to other clients, asking them about the quality, appearance, professionalism and punctuality of temp workers from a particular agency. Particularly ask them whether they had considered hiring any of the temp workers for permanent positions.
Also read the temp agency’s mission statement or philosophy. Consider whether you want to work with a local agency or a national chain.
A good agency is equally concerned with the business client’s needs and the needs of the temporary employees. They’ll look for a safe working environment for their workers and a good match for you.Benefits
Temp agencies generally offer benefits such as vacation, bonus pay, training, and medical coverage. Get details, and inquire about conversion rates for switching the employee from their payroll to yours.
Additionally, temp agencies that provide good benefits to their workers generally will lure higher-quality workers than an agency that offers minimum benefits.Shop around
Most of all, investigate as many temp agencies as possible before selecting one. Competition is fierce, and you can usually negotiate on pricing – at least a little. And you may want to use more than one agency, sampling two or three very carefully over a period of time to ensure that you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Employers in the United States these days increasingly rely on an industry that was virtually unheard of just a decade or two ago.

Temporary-employment agencies have become as essential as a fax machine, e-mail and mobile phone, but, as with most industries, competition has picked up in the temp market, leaving employers with a host of choices in selecting a temp agency.

Here are a few factors that employers should consider when sifting through all the options. Whether you’re looking for temporary help on an emergency, short-term or temp-to-hire basis, know the agency you’re working with. Contact several agencies and get a…

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