A Good Fit
Staffing firms have this temp coming back for more
By Kendra Payne
I have relied on staﬃng agencies to locate work for me since I graduated from high school. They have been a good ﬁt for me, even today. The ﬁrms have ﬁlled in the gaps during life transitions, helped me get my foot in the door and oﬀer real assistance when I need it.
Providing that break. My ﬁrst assignment was when I was fresh out of high school as an accounts payable assistant. I quickly learned that by working with a staﬃng agency that I could get real world insight into the professional workforce, gain experience and make more money than my teenage counterparts working in food service or retail.
Filling in the gaps again. I’ve returned to staﬃng agencies when I was just ﬁnishing up college and planning to relocate. I wouldn’t have been able to ﬁnd work that quickly on my own, much less be able to ﬁnd an employer that would accommodate someone with one foot already in another town and place.
Widen horizons, income. Many times since, I’ve called on my friends at the staﬃng ﬁrm for support. I continue to use the staﬃng ﬁrm to supplement my freelance work as an independent graphic designer and illustrator, as well as gain introductions to new markets and clients. They’ve even helped me land a few of my dream jobs along the way. With their help I’ve been exposed to a variety of ﬁelds and client types and made matches that I am forever grateful for. Thanks to them, my client roster reads like a telephone book.
Creating stability. By working with staﬃng agencies I know I can expect some level of stability. My work as an independent contractor often is paid weeks after the fact, but my work through a staﬃng ﬁrm is paid promptly.
Quality clients. There’s also a certain level of client quality I associate with when working with staﬃng agency. I know they are vetted and have the funds and proper technology and tools that will allow me to feel that the client is as committed as I am to doing a great job. Compare that with jobs I ﬁnd on craigslist or other online bidding sites, where I often ﬁnd the client isn’t versed in standard creative business practices and know-how. I also feel that to be competitive, I have to reduce my rates signiﬁcantly because I’m competing in a global market where international rates are pennies on the dollar. By working locally with a staﬃng agent, I don’t have to think twice about the overall ethic, process and culture and know that I’ll be compensated fairly. Thank you for that.
The right agent. Of course, all of the above is only possible if you have the right folks in charge of your career. My experience has taught me that I need an agent who really listens and fully under- stands my speciﬁc skill sets and what I’m looking for. I’ve deﬁnitely suﬀered in the past with the wrong agent and talent paring. I’m also completely aware when my portfolio is being presented to a client just so an agent has something to show and a personal quota to ﬁll. If I’m not the right ﬁt, don’t try to sell me to the client. The client doesn’t want their time wasted, and neither do I.
The basics. I have been lucky to ﬁnd some dedicated professionals who have helped me land the right gig. But I would also ask that staﬃng ﬁrms remember the basic needs of any worker. We need feedback. Any feedback is welcome — whether it’s comments from a current client or insight as to why someone wasn’t interested in bringing me on, I’d like to know about it. Good, bad or indiﬀerent, it’s helpful to have constructive feedback. I truly appreciate a realistic assessment, so that I can grow from here.
Work with me. Straddling the line between being an independent free- lancer and working with a staﬃng agency can be a challenge, as I often will have freelance projects that overlap a temp assignment. It would be helpful for my staﬃng ﬁrm to understand this and work with it. Don’t automatically dismiss me for asking about ﬂexible hours, working from home and a reduced work week, for example. Your temp workers are your bread and butter. Consider working with your clients to embrace ﬂexibility and the technology that makes remote work a real possibility and have us coming back for more.
Kendra Payne is an art director, designer and illustrator who specializes in advertising, branding and design for corporate, retail and commercial clients. Her design studio, Jolly Jackalope Studios is based in the Bay Area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.