The Top 5 Staffing Agency Myths and Misconceptions

Looking for work can be a daunting proposition, whether you’re fresh to the job market or a seasoned veteran. Interviews can be anxiety inducing, and finding profitable leads is often as much about being in the right place at the right time as it is about diligently researching and following prospects. Perhaps it is for this reason that the staffing industry has shown steady growth for nearly a decade, more than doubling revenues since 2009. The number of individuals who trust staffing agencies to find them comfortable and reliable employment has grown along with the total and variety of businesses who turn to those specialists to find dependable employees for temporary or permanent positions.

Getting started with a staffing agency may be a difficult decision for some people, and the sheer quantity of misinformation available to eager job seekers makes may turn some away from taking advantage of the priceless resources made available by these companies. It is, therefore, my pleasure to assist in pinpointing and correcting some of the more misleading beliefs held by and large regarding the staffing industry. It is important to note that agencies vary, and policies and protocols may change based on standards and/or local or state regulations. That being said, here are some facts from behind the curtain of the staffing industry.

In this article we will be addressing the 5 most common misconceptions about staffing agencies by answering the following questions:

1. Do you have to pay a temp agency?

This is, perhaps, the question I hear most often, and is one of the most harmful misconceptions shared about staffing consultants. The simple answer is: No. Staffing agencies work almost exclusively cost-free. The days of having your wages culled to pay the salaries of your representative are long over. There are individuals who contract themselves out to find highly specific positions for candidates. They are called headhunters, and they’re like professional matchmakers within the employment world. When you are placed with a company, permanently or temporarily, the client (the company with whom you are placed) is charged a premium for the services provided by the staffing agency.

These charges cover things ranging from onboarding costs, finder’s fees, and, as in the case of Opti Staffing, the cost of unemployment taxes and providing benefits for our candidates. Aside from any deductions, voluntary or otherwise, that come out of your paycheck, all costs for finding you a job are passed on to the company you’ll be calling home.

2. Do temp agencies only place part-time or temporary positions?

Another common concern is that it is difficult to find full-time or permanent work with a staffing agency. This matter is somewhat more variable than the question of cost, however it is largely an industry standard that the recruiter helping you find work will do their best to provide only what you have requested.

This means that if you are only looking for permanent positions, your representative will scour their contacts for those looking for long-term team members. If you are looking for work that is full-time or more then this will be the priority by which your case is handled. One of the most notable benefits of seeking work through an agency is the ability to modify and quantify your search in a way that best fits your needs.

3. What are the chances of becoming a permanent employee?

It is believed by many that finding a permanent position with the help of a staffing agency is unlikely, bordering on impossible. “They don’t call it a ‘temp’ agency for nothing,” seems to be the conventional wisdom. Let me be the first to tell you then, that the distinction between ‘temp’ and ‘staffing’ has never been more important than it has become in the past few years. It is
estimated by the American Staffing Association that 49% of the almost 17 million employees hired yearly by staffing agencies state that the process was a dependable way to find permanent work. Furthermore, 66% of those offered permanent positions at the end of their contracts accepted those positions.

4. Do staffing agencies receive 1099’s?

Once again, the policy on this may vary depending on which agency you approach. That being said, the majority of staffing agencies hire their candidates through them, or through the company they represent. This means that you are not an independent contractor, and neither is the recruiter working on your behalf. You will fill out a W-4 when your employment begins, and you will receive a W-2 when tax season rolls around. This streamlined method is another attractive quality of the staffing industry. You get the freedom to define your expectations, much the way an independent contractor does, however you don’t have to keep up with all of the extra paperwork.

5. How do I negotiate salary with a staffing agency?

I’m afraid there just isn’t one simple answer to this question? As I mentioned earlier, one of the primary advantages of pursuing work through a staffing agency is the freedom to set your own parameters and have a trained representative fight to preserve them. This, however, does not change the fact that even the most skilled recruiter is at the mercy of the standards and limitations placed by companies who employ their services. In this situation, you have two strong options: hold out for a better offer or show the company that you are worth the wage you requested. Either way, it is important to communicate your expectations and credentials to your recruiter so they can best be armed to rally for your compensation.

It may also be a good idea to do some market research and educate yourself about average wages. Perhaps you don’t have the experience to immediately convince prospective employers to pay you what you’d like, or maybe wage standards have changed, and you could get away with asking for more! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve; it’s your recruiters job to make sure that your interests are safeguarded.

I hope this article has shed some light into the darker, more obscure corners of the staffing industry. Millions of people a year use these powerful resources to find gainful and satisfying employment. At the end of the day, it’s possible that this won’t be the path for you, but when you have a free resource at your disposal, I believe you owe it to yourself to take advantage of it. Just remember to be communicative, don’t hesitate to educate yourself about your options, and don’t be afraid to set and defend expectations regarding your job search.

If you are looking for workers, check with Opti Staffing. We are one of the best staffing agencies in the region. We are one of the top staffing companies in Seattle. We also have a staffing agency in Tacoma, a temp agency in Vancouver, Washington, a staffing agency in Portland, and a staffing agency in Salem, Oregon. Give us a call today.