Those that are in the know know that I’m not working per se. I’m working on other aspects of my life, but yeah, I’m not working. I’ve done the traditional job search song and dance: job boards, cold calls, company websites, etc. One avenue I hadn’t explored were staffing agencies.
Essentially, from what I’ve gathered, which could be totally wrong, staffing agencies provide a service to their corporate clients in one of two ways or a combination of the two:
1) Staffing agencies provide their clients with temporary employees (temps) to fulfill a client’s need such as, uh…bitch work. These temps are employed by the staffing agency, which means that the temps are paid by the staffing agency, which means the staffing agency gets a cut of “your” wages, which means that you’re kinda getting screwed over, which means that kinda really sucks, which means you’re an idiot for agreeing to be a temp in the first place, which means you’re kinda in a desperate position. But they do provide you with a service of finding employment. Yeah, just keep on telling yourself it’s okay, buddy. Alright.
2) This is a more straight-forward transaction. The staffing agency will act as a middle-man/woman trying to match a job seeker with a company that is looking for a permanent employee. The agency will get a finders fee, and you will become a regular employee of the company.
3) There are cases where a job seeker will start off as a temp and then become a permanent employee.
So I had an appointment at one of these agencies the other day. They made me fill out a simple form, which I filled out incorrectly with the wrong date but realized just now. Then there was a brief 10-15 minute interview with canned questions straight out of an HR textbook: what’s your strength/weakness/ favorite colour, if you were an animal…, etc. Then we quickly reviewed my resume. Apparently, with my 2 – 3 years of decent work experience from 3 different employers, I’m well suited to be a temp. Fracking YAY for me!
Then it was onto the fun part of the experience: the Microsoft Office tests. The questions ranged from how to launch an MS Office application from the desktop to the always mind-boggling how to open and close a document. The questions were pretty basic to say the least, but I have to admit that I got a few of them wrong. For one question on the MS Word test, I selected the “track changes” function to see the past actions (plural) done to a document. Apparently, the correct answer was the “undo” command There was no bell curve, so I didn’t bitch about it. They gave me like an hour and a half to complete these tests. I don’t want to toot my own horn (toot toot!), but it took me a little less than 30 minutes to finish all the tests. They also tested my typing speed and spelling. I got owned on the spelling portion. I guess one doesn’t realize that he/she is at the mercy of the red squiggly (RS) line until you are faced with a situation were the RS line is disabled. I for one didn’t know book keeper didn’t have a hyphen between the two words.
After the tests, it was good-bye and good-luck with the job hunt. They said they’d call me if anything comes up. I’m not expecting too much, but it’s a free service. I can’t really complain when something’s free. I mean, it’s not like they forced that free expired chocolate milk down my throat. That was my own poor judgement.
Overall, the whole experience was pretty painless, and it does broaden your options. Kinda like how your marriage options increase once you know that it’s legal to marry your cousins in Canada.
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