I get it folks, I really do. Job searching, whether as a student, a new grad, or a seasoned veteran sucks. It's worse than on line dating (at least that's what I hear). When you're job searching taking the time to register with a staffing company can seem to be a lifeline. After all, they get paid to find people jobs, right? Not really. Let me 'splain:
For 10 years I worked for a staffing company. And for 10 years I heard from strangers how horrible staffing companies are (actually I still hear this). The Staffing industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, so why do people hate it so much?
On the surface, all staffing companies may appear to be the same, but underneath they are all different. Staffing companies can be found across the globe in all industries. Some are multinational, some are national, some are local. Some fill labour roles, others office, others executive, others do it all. They work on contingency, retention, or a combination of both. They may fill temporary, contract, permanent, or all. The employees may be skilled or unskilled. I could go on.
I hope that you can already see how complex of an industry it is.
How does it work?
Businesses hire a staffing company to fill an open position. For the sake of this article, I will refer to permanent roles. The company that I worked for worked on contingency, meaning that they only got paid after the role was filled. By law (at least in Canada), it is illegal to charge any money to the job seeker. Therefore 100% of our revenue came directly from the employer.
Myth #1 - Staffing companies will get you a job
- Staffing companies are not in the business of finding you a job. They are in the business of filling open positions for their clients. They may be able to present you to opportunities that otherwise would not be available to you, but they cannot guarantee you employment.
Myth #2 - Recruiters are only in it for the "quick hit"
- If this were true, then they would have no repeat business.
Myth #3 - Recruiters "own" you and you can't apply on your own again
- Most staffing companies will ask you to sign something when you register with them. Read it. Carefully. The company that I worked for did not limit you in your job search. We even encouraged you to register with multiple staffing firms. But we did ask that you not apply at a company if we had already presented you for a role. Sounds pretty fair to me.
- Again, I can't speak for everyone out there, but as a rule, we only called you if you met the needs of the client. If we were filling 4 senior accounting roles and you were a junior administrative assistant, you're right, we weren't going to call you.