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Staff Up for Your Job Search

Staffing firms have a lot to offer older workers. These firms, which are sometimes referred to as temp agencies, operate on a simple premise: They hire workers to work for other employers.

See also: Ask effective interview questions.

Staffing firms can help you learn new skills, explore different fields, and prove your worth to an employer. Here’s how:

  • If you are unemployed, underemployed, or uncertain about the direction of your career, staffing firms are an entry point to a variety of jobs. Learn about different companies from the inside. 
  • If you want to upgrade your skills, you can take the free online courses offered by staffing firms. And you’ll get on-the-job training by stints at different work places.
  • If you need immediate income, the paycheck from a temporary job can help tide you over.
  • If you want job flexibility, you’ll find opportunities for full- or part-time work and short- or long-term assignments.

How Staffing Firms Work

Staffing firms match millions of people to jobs every day. There are firms for virtually all types of work, from entry-level to highly skilled jobs.

While temp jobs last from a few hours to years, studies show most temp employees work from three to five months on the same job. A sizable percentage of temp workers move on to permanent jobs. Many staffing companies also offer direct placement into permanent jobs. Another kind of placement is “temp-to-hire,” in which an employer agrees to hire a temporary worker after a certain period if the person performs well.

Staffing firms do not charge an employee to find a job. The employer pays the staffing firm directly and only when the firm places someone in the position.

Job Assignments

When you interview at a staffing firm, ask for a realistic picture of possible job assignments. The firm will match your skills and experience with the pool of available jobs. However, most cannot guarantee your work schedule or your assignment in the field of your choice.  

Many staffing companies specialize in one or more skills sectors—for example, health care, accounting, marketing, information technology, legal, and many others. Before you sign up with a firm, find out if it offers assignments in the fields in which you are interested. 

See Also: Learn how to brand yourself.

Pay and Benefits

When you get a job through a staffing firm, you are an employee of that firm, not of the business where you are placed. You are paid directly by the staffing firm.

Staffing firms provide benefits that may include paid vacation and holidays, medical and dental coverage, and retirement plans. Some offer a service bonus, rewarding employees who make an extended work commitment. Many also offer direct deposit of your payroll.

Ask what benefits are offered when you interview with a staffing firm.

Explore the Possibilities

Whether you’ve lost your job, are looking to change fields, or want to work after retirement, staffing firms are a good bet for workers 50+. They provide flexibility, training, additional income, and the chance to “try on” different jobs and careers.

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