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So, what are staffing services? Chopped liver?

I wrote a blog once about answering the telephone when speaking to staffing services….most people are polite, don’t get thrown when they get an unexpected call from recruitment agencies, are a credit to the parents’ parenting skills. Some, though….not so much. The same applies for candidates who come into the agency offices to register. We want to love all of you, we try to love all of you, but there are a few exceptions who make us want to lie down in a darkened room.
Why are they rude/disrespectful/lacking common courtesy? Dunno, and it doesn’t actually matter, because the chances of my getting to the bottom of their insecurities and helping them through it all are slim to nil. Perhaps though if a couple of my readers (I have decided I have readers) stop and think, “Oops, I’ve done that on occasion,” then this blog will have helped do the trick.
My colleagues and I have come to the conclusion that a small but annoying minority of candidates look on agencies as a necessary evil they have to live with to get through to the company where they want to work. Agencies are given job assignments by companies, our clients, for a reason. We’re good at it, we do the grunt work of filtering out those who are, for a whole variety of reasons, not right for the position, and we save the clients time and money having to do it themselves. We want to keep the clients as clients for years and years, and have them send us heartfelt thank you emails/telephone calls/Christmas cards. So we don’t send candidates who stand little chance of being successful in the job. And we would hardly be doing the candidates any favors either.
See how that works? Simple, really.
That means when you meet us, you’re trying to show us how you’ll interview with the client. You don’t take phone calls in the middle of our interviewing you (well, unless you’ve apologetically warned us in advance), you don’t chew gum, you don’t take out your bottled water and chug without asking first, you don’t wander off into our open-plan kitchen area to sit down to fill out the application form (yes, we have an adequate reception area), you don’t take the paper napkins without asking. I mean, puh-leeze. After you’ve interviewed with the client, you don’t contact them direct – we KNOW they give you a card sometimes. It’s instinct. They didn’t mean you to use it till you got the job. You don’t call them to ask how the process is coming along – if we haven’t told you it’s because THEY haven’t told US yet. You don’t call up to negotiate a better salary than they offered. All of these scenarios annoy the clients. I could go on.
These are not examples that happen often, thank goodness, but often enough for us to be letting you know that there’s an etiquette to working with agencies. We are the intermediaries, here to help the clients fill the jobs, of course, but also to help the candidates find the right job. We can help with the awkward questions you can’t ask early in the interview process, about vacations, operations, salary requirements, why you left your last job (“I toyed with killing him. How do I say that in a positive way?”)…and so on…..
We’re here to help – you, the client, ourselves, the economy — ok, that last one was a bit pretentious. Please remember that we’re not an annoying obstacle between you and employment. We’re an integral part of the recruitment process for many of the jobs out there.