If You’re A Potential Worker, Interview Your Staffing Agency

Most of the time employees and interim consultants are the ones who are being interviewed for possible work assignments. While that’s the norm, what few people do is take the opportunity to interview those same people back.

Why would you do this? There are a couple of good reasons why you should take the time to find out what they’re all about. One, you want to know what the potential is for a staffing agency to get you work. Two, you want to know what their pay structure is, when you’ll get paid, by whom, etc. Three, you want to know if they offer any type of insurance coverage, or have to cover certain aspects for you. Four, you want to know what the possibilities are of getting some money up front if they’re sending you out of town. Five, you want to know if they book your travel arrangements for you, and how flexible they are in accommodating your wishes.

These are important things to know, but there’s one more thing you need to know as well. While staffing agencies will get you assignments, you need to know what they don’t want you to do as well as what they will allow you to do. For instance, there’s not a single staffing agency that wants a potential interim placement to try to renegotiate pay rates. That’s their job, and they’d rather you not bring up the issue of money. On the other end, if a potential client wants your services, sometimes they want to ask you a lot of questions. It behooves you to not only ask some questions back about their needs, but to find out, if you’re consulting, how much leeway you’re going to have in getting things done. Some consultants chafe at having to make recommendations and not follow through on things. Some can work within strict guidelines of an employer, and others can’t. It’s good to know before you go somewhere and find out the working environment isn’t for you.

Take the time to ask questions, because you won’t always get a second chance once you’re in the fold.

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Benefits Or Not?

A question that sometimes comes up are what kind of benefits do people who sign up with staffing companies get. They’re not talking benefits as in how it will improve their lives. The questions concern medical benefits, unemployment benefits, etc.

The easiest answer is that it depends on the company and the state. For instance, in New Jersey, we’re required to cover anyone who works for us that’s not considered an independent business contractor under both unemployment and worker’s compensation. So, if someone works more than 20 weeks under us, they can put in for unemployment in this state, whether they live here or not. And while they’re working for us, they’ve covered under workers compensation.

There are some employees who we provide health insurance for. Those are long term employees, not short term interim staffing. Those employees also accrue vacation benefits, as well as sick time. They’re not considered as much as interim staff, but actual employees. This subjects them to some other rules. For instance, if they drive to assignments, they get the lesser of mileage between the distance from home to the assignment or our location to the job site.

So, the long answer is that it depends on where you work, who you work for, and the conditions of employment that determines whether benefits are given or not.