Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Every New Grad Needs to Know about Employment Agencies

As a new graduate, you are almost certainly looking for a job. And if you’ve spent any time in your search, you know that trying to find a place to work can be an entire job in itself. So why not get an employment agency to help you out? Having another person, or even a group of people actively looking for work along with you can only help, right? In most situations, the answer is yes. Employment agencies are, by and large, extremely helpful for job seekers, particularly new graduates on their first job search. But before you dive headfirst into the agency office, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Agencies want you to do well. After all, they’re not making any money unless they place you in a position that not only satisfies you, but your employer. Their sole focus is to collect talent (that would be you), and then represent and match that talent with employers who need qualified workers.
Employment agencies aren’t just an extension of your job seeking efforts — they are people that can supercharge your career. An established agency will often have a long list of clients, and may even be able to get you into a position with a company that you wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. Read on to find out how an employment agency can help you, and what you need to know when you’re working with them.

Choosing an agency

In a large city, you will likely have several employment agencies available to offer their assistance. They should all be well equipped to find you a job, but it’s likely that some will be better than others. Agencies tend to be highly specialized, focusing on certain industries or positions, such as those who place administrative personnel or nurses. This specialization works in your favor, as they will almost certainly be well connected in your area of interest.
In addition to different types of agencies for specialized industries and positions, there are also agencies that specialize in temporary work, temp to hire, and permanent placement. Most new graduates will be interested in permanent placement, or temp to hire, but temporary work can be helpful, and even educational, while you work on finding the right position for you, so be sure to consider help from all types of agencies.
If you need help finding a good employment agency, ask around. Talk to fellow students, professionals in your field, and members of any professional organizations you belong to. Of course, you may find an employment agency right under your nose as so many job postings are placed by recruiters. Just be sure to research the agency by checking online and with the BBB, and ask for references before you commit to working with them. And also keep in mind that you’re not limited to just one — multiple employment agencies can help you at once.


The vast majority of employment agencies are operated with the legitimate goal of placing qualified candidates with the right position, but as is to be expected, there are plenty of scammers out there as well.
You may come across ads that sound way too good to be true, describing your dream job with great pay and awesome perks, but be wary. The job probably doesn’t exist. Shady employment agencies will place these ads, called "blind ads," to get you interested and pick up the phone to sign on with them.
Some agencies will operate under the guise of finding you a job, but all they really want to do is charge you to rewrite your resume. This may be $200 or more, and might not even be helpful. Instead of agreeing to this "help," talk to a mentor, or stop by your university’s Career Services office for free or low cost assistance with your resume.
You should never feel pressured by an agency. Those who insist that you have to sign on right away, or threaten that you’ll miss out on the chance of a lifetime are probably trying to push you into something you’ll regret. Before you sign any contracts, give yourself time to think and completely read the fine print to be sure that you’re happy with the situation.
Almost all agencies perform their services to job seekers for free. But even the few that don’t should disclose their fees to you up front. Agencies that promise to find jobs for a fee, especially federal jobs, are often not legitimate, and may be making false claims about the availability of positions.

Getting the agency to work harder for you

It’s in every employment agency’s best interest to do a great job finding you a position, but the fact is that some candidates will do better than others. Agencies are performing a service for you, of course, but at the same time, they are gatekeepers. Before you ever go on an interview, you have to make a good impression on a recruiter, who will be assessing you to consider which jobs you will be qualified for.
When you meet with a recruiter, treat it as if it’s a real interview. They are your advocate, but you should not treat your relationship casually. Dress appropriately, bring your resume, and be ready to answer questions. Present yourself as a star candidate, and recruiters will be eager to send jobs your way.
Although recruiters are good at what they do, they do need your help. Some may be able to take a look at your resume and quickly match you up with available jobs, but it’s much more likely that they’ll need some guidance from you. Don’t expect recruiters to be your career counselor and give them something to go on. Consider job titles, industries, and pay ranges that you’re interested in, and be sure to pass this information along to the recruiter so that when they find the perfect job for you, they’ll know it when they see it.

What’s in it for the agency?

Employment agencies will work night and day to match you with your perfect employer. It’s a sweet deal, but you have to wonder, why are they doing you such a big favor, and how do they make money to stay in business?
The answer is that employers pay them a percentage of what you’re earning-typically 10-40%. Although employers are paying the employment agency directly, it’s important to keep in mind that this fee is a direct cost of hiring you, and while you’re not paying for it yourself, you can be sure it’s coming out of the budget for your position. If employers are interviewing free agents as well as employment agency candidates, you may be a more expensive hire if you get help from an agency.
If you’re not paying the agency, and the employer is, it’s easy to figure out that their allegiance is with the employer. So if you’re not a good match for any of their available positions, it’s simply too bad for you They want to find you a job, but not if the job doesn’t exist in their client list. That’s why it’s important to find the right agency for you, one that will attract the positions you’re looking for, and will work hard to match you with the right one.
With a good employment agency behind you, you’ll be on your way to finding a great job and finally putting your hard earned knowledge to work. Work effectively with recruiters, and you can create an ally not just for your current job search, but for your entire career.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

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