How and When to Work with Recruiters and Staffing Agencies

Written by

Claudia Rojas


November 25, 2018


Whether you are a college student graduating soon, employed but wishing for a career shift, or someone who has lost a job, you always want to make sure you are staying in touch with recruiters and staffing agencies in your field.  While most jobs are found through personal or professional networks, recruiters and staffing agencies can link you to opportunities that are not accessible to the public. Some companies won’t post job openings on job boards or on their website, choosing instead to retain recruiters to find the right candidates.

A recruiter’s job is to find you a job; once you are hired by the agency’s client, the recruiter earns a commission. Ideally, the agency will charge their clients, not you. The positions will fall under the following categories:

  • temporary
  • temp-for-hire
  • direct hire

Temporary positions will last a few weeks to several months, and in that time, the recruiting agency will pay you. Temp-for-hire means a company has temporary staffing needs with the possibility of hiring later. A direct hire means you officially become an employee of the client company.


There are two options: you find them, or they find you.

Recruiters often find you through LinkedIn or a job board. Their message contains a reference to a job listing that they’re filling up. Though recruiters are often in a pinch to find the right person, they are trained to recognize a fit, so if you do hear from one, send a note that you’re interested. And if the position isn’t a fit, express interest in the agency and send along a resume. Don’t be surprised when the next step is an interview.

If recruiters aren’t finding you, ask around in your network or use a LinkedIn search. Alternatively, search online for local staffing agencies or jobs posted by a staffing agency.

The position offered may be temporary or not quite what you had in mind, but make sure to impress recruiters and their clients. Ask recruiters questions about their experience or knowledge of the client company. Be clear regarding expectations: what jobs you would accept versus what jobs don’t interest you.


Increase your chances of getting hired

Recruiters will advise you during the interviewing process, communicating your strengths as a candidate. Recruiters will interview you so that your resume highlights you in the best light. Consider any feedback and ask for feedback. Remember to keep your resume updated—the College Mouse Blog has resources for that!

Build your network

There is a reason that recruiters send you LinkedIn invites right away! Jobs are about making connections, something made easy by LinkedIn, which has a vast reach of over 500 million members. It’s good to have recruiters in your network. You never know down the line when you’ll need support again. Whether you work a few months or several months, the people you spend your time with at the agency or the client company are colleagues.

Improve or acquire new skills

Recruiters often follow-up through email or phone calls that build skills in professionalism. The new position is also an addition to your resume. Moreover, most agencies will test basic skills in math, writing, and Microsoft Office programs, and with the test results, you can determine weak areas. At your placement site, you’ll also learn new programs or transferrable skills.

Try out new work settings to know what suits you best

With the temporary or temp-to-hire nature of jobs offered by agencies, you could work in different office settings, small to big teams. If you’re a college senior or recent graduate with many career interests, recruiters can help you get a taste of each. At the same time, if you’re tired of a field or company type, this could be your chance to switch.


Continue to communicate expectations and requests. Be clear on location, pay, and job titles. Just like any other work arrangement, there’s potential to get things wrong. Unfortunately, the positions staffing agency fill are sometimes temporary. If the sites you’re placed in are not open to full-time hiring, and the arrangement isn’t covering your expenses, then evaluate the agency’s commitment to you. Notice when things are consistently wrong: late paychecks, wrong or misleading job info, or radio silence from the agency.

Should the agency not be a fit, end on a positive note and thank the agency before you move on. You can try another staffing agency, or by that time, your new gained insights and experiences will open other opportunities.


Written by:  Claudia Rojas

Claudia Rojas is a freelance writer and a poet with a Bachelor’s in English from George Mason University. She is a proud first generation college student. Claudia’s poetry appears in The Acentos Review, Poetry is Dead, and The Bookends Review.

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