Shelby Penman works for a building business. Literally.
"We provide a core group of trades people such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, millwrights, masons, welders, heating and air conditioning technicians and others for all cycles of construction," explains Penman about her employer, CLP Resources. "We work all over the state and cater to licensed contractors and facilities such as schools and hospitals to provide them with flexible staffing."
Companies find the service attractive because CLP eliminates all the hiring and firing hassles of maintaining a staff, she adds. "We take care of all the paperwork and the headache of payroll."
CLP is currently hiring. All applicants need to do is visit one of the nationwide firm's many offices throughout Northern California. Although employment is not permanent, assignments can last from one to two years. Employees are not under contract with CLP and there is no fee to apply.
Firms like CLP may have access to employment opportunities that individual laborers would miss if they were looking for work on their own. That's one of the advantages of going to an employment agency. Whether you're a carpenter, a clerk or an executive, there's an agency that's right for you.
Employment agencies typically specialize in specific industries or occupations and, for most full-time permanent positions, their fee is paid by the hiring company. However, for low-skill, low-wage or entry-level placements, the applicant may be expected to pay the agency's fee after being hired. Explore your options by checking the local yellow pages under "employment agencies" and "employment-temporary."
"Temporary administrative staffing is the most recession-resistant profession because companies will always need that support," declares Sheri Morgan, division director for OfficeTeam in San Jose. "When a company downsizes, the first people to go are the support staff that includes executive administrative people, receptionists and customer service."
But the lack of a support staff doesn't mean there isn't work to do. That's where the temp employee comes to the rescue.
Morgan explains that OfficeTeam takes care of all the screening of new workers for an employer, using a six-step process: a background check to establish if a candidate has the required two years work experience, employment verification, an evaluation testing of skills (computer, math, spelling and filing), personal interview, references and a performance survey after the assignment.
In addition, OfficeTeam offers networking alliances with International Association of Administration Professionals and the American Businesswomen Association, to monitor what is going on in the workplace.
"A lot of people are looking for a career change, so they come to us to learn who is hiring," Morgan reports. "Typically they want to test drive a temporary job to gain exposure to companies. It's sort of like a paid interview."
Benefits are another reason people seek temporary employment. Many agencies can offer discounts on medical, dental and vision insurance, online computer training in various programs, holiday pay (after a certain time) and bonuses.
Office Team is currently hiring and does consider workers only interested in part time.
Headhunters, executive searchers or management recruiters typically seek quality rather than volume when it comes to candidates.
"We don't do temp work; our objective is to work with client companies to fill their key (high-level) staffing needs though investigating, interpreting and going into the marketplace and searching for people who would be interested in new employment," explains Bruce Solomon, owner of Management Recruiters in Menlo Park.
He says his firm doesn't advertise for candidates. While they do consider resumes sent by mail, he prefers to find people with the right skill set and talent fit on his own. Ideally, they come from competitors or similar industries. As a headhunter, he spends all his work time networking and building a database of potential candidates.
"For example, if we are looking for a top-tier hardware salesperson in the job world, we might go to similar hardware areas to get the most knowledgeable people," he contends. "We recruit for everything - financial, printing, retail, optical devices, hi-tech in the Silicon Valley and in technical sales."
Solomon typically accepts only assignments for higher-level posts.
"It's a cyclical business," he admits. "Currently the economy is in higher unemployment and companies think they can avoid paying search fees by conducting their own recruiting. Our counter statement is people who are available for work are those who did not make the cut."
He contends that companies don't want to lose the most-prized employees, who are maintained and nurtured during the lean times.
"We search for top candidates full-time, while developing insights with those in a particular industry," he states. "My job is
very rewarding. If we find the right person for a top position, they could possibly change the face of the Silicon Valley for years to come - that is my most optimistic view."
SIDEBAR: The Contract Option
What is the difference between a contract worker and a temporary staffer? According to the online Contract Employer's Newsletter, a contract employee is a highly skilled temporary employee contracted directly or through an agency to a client company.
The terms and conditions of employment for these workers are spelled out in the contract. Such workers tend to make more money than ordinary temps, since they typically have specialized skills the employer needs. On the downside, contractors typically do not receive benefits like healthcare, sick leave, or retirement.
While some agencies provide contract work, jobseekers can often find contract openings online either at a jobsite or a company's home website.
Employment services featured in this story:
Employment agency websites are listed below. Toll-free phone numbers are listed when available. Check your local directory for the phone number of a nearby office.
- 1tac.com - TAC Worldwide Companies. General and technical staffing.
- Adecco.com - Full-service site, with job search function.
- AppleOne.com - (800) 564-5644, All types of jobs, permanent and temporary.
- KellyServices.com - (888) GO-KELLY, Positions around the world - or at home.
- NelsonJobs.com - Nelson Staffing Solutions. Handles executive as well as staffing for various industries.
- OfficeTeam.com - (800) 804-8367, For administrative professionals and general office jobs.
- ProStaff.com - (800) 938-WORK, Accounting, IT, and creative openings.
- RemedyStaff.com - (800) 828-3726. Industrial, inventory, office, customer service, and accounting.
- Snelling.com - Extensive listings cover most job categories.
- Staffmark.com - Office, IT, and industrial.