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Interviewing with Temporary Service Agencies

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If you’re considering signing up with some temporary service agencies to help you find work, you should be prepared before you meet with any recruiters. If you go in prepared, you’ll be able to make a good, professional impression during your interview, which will ultimately help you in your job search.

Here are some tips that will help you when interviewing with one or more temporary service agencies.

Dress Professionally

Don’t go into the interview with an attitude of “it’s only temp work.” Make the effort to dress like a professional so you can let the recruiter know off the bat that you’re serious about looking for work. Business casual is generally acceptable, but the general rule of thumb when it comes to dressing for interviews is that it’s always best to err on the side of caution. And other than showing up in a tux or an evening gown, you can’t really overdress for the occasion.

Don’t forget to take weather into account, and don’t use the cold as an excuse for dressing down. Consider a nice sweater rather than a baggy sweatshirt. If you find yourself forced to wear a casual jacket or coat for want of anything else, take it off as soon as you enter the building.

Bring Your Resume and References

Show up with a couple of copies of your resume, as well as a separate page of your references. Even if you’ve already sent this information along via email or online registration, it’s always good to have an extra copy on hand just in case the recruiter asks for one.

In addition, most temporary service agencies have their own application forms they want you to fill out. If you have a copy of your resume with you, then you can simply copy the information onto the form without worrying about being inaccurate or contradicting yourself.

Be Prepared to Wait

Temporary service agencies interview hundreds of potential new temps every week, so you might end up waiting a half hour or even longer before getting in to see a recruiter. This is a good time to fill in your application form and go over your resume so the details are fresh in your mind for the interview.

Know Your Stuff

Almost all temporary service agencies require their applicants to take standardized tests to determine their level of knowledge of in-demand software applications (word processors, spreadsheets, databases, image editors, presentation programs, etc.) Before they sit you down in front of the computer to test your skills, you’ll probably be asked to fill out a form and rate your expertise level on these software packages. Be honest and try not to embellish or overrate your abilities; recruiters are far more impressed by overperformance than underperformance.

If you have any popular applications on your computer at home, practice performing basic tasks until you can do so without consulting the manual or help file. Bear in mind that most of these tests focus on using the menus to navigate, rather than shortcut keys, so take the time to at least familiarize yourself with the layout of the different commands and functions.

Practice Your Office Skills

In addition to your knowledge of software, most temporary service agencies will ask you about (and test you on) basic office skills such as typing and 10-key data entry. Be accurate when describing your speed, and remember that accuracy is just as important (if not more so). Most temporary service agencies give you the option of a dry run before taking the test, and many will let you retake the test once or twice, just in case your nerves cause you to make a mess of it the first time. However, keep in mind that all of your scores will be available to the recruiter who is meeting with you, so it might be in your best interest to bone up on your skills before you go in for the interview.

Be Poised and Professional for Your Interview

The recruiters from these temporary service agencies may meet with hundreds of applicants each week, so you really need to be at your best in the interview to make a good impression. Be confident, maintain eye contact, and greet the recruiter with a firm handshake. Answer the questions as succinctly as you can, but make sure you give the interviewer the information he or she is looking for. In other words, try not to talk too much or talk too little. Be honest when telling the recruiter what type of work you’re looking for, so you can be better matched to an assignment that suits you.

Don’t Be Shy About Following Up

Hopefully, you’ll soon be receiving a call about a job assignment from your recruiter. If not, try to call and check in every few days. Temporary service agencies usually have a lot of temps to place, but you’ll be more likely to land a good assignment if you’re persistent and let them know that you’re eager to work.

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