If anything is constant about a staffer’s job, it’s the never ending, day-in, day-out dealing with people. Don’t get me wrong, people are great – and if you don’t like working with them this is one job you won’t be in very long – but they are also mind-numbingly different, confusing, and awfully hard to predict.

In my staffer days we would always laugh about how the person who seemed the perfect fit, the one who dressed the part, said all the right things, and had the impeccable work history would be the one who washes out by the second day.

Meanwhile, the guy who looked like he just got out of bed, never even looked you in the eye, and mumbled his way through your interview would end up going full-time at your client facility and eventually working his way up to supervisor!

Regardless of who we’re dealing with, it’s important to convey the same information to ALL applicants. Given the utter insanity that can go on in a busy staffing office, it’s easier said than done.

Here’s something we’d love for EVERY applicant to read before applying!

Dear applicant,

Like it or not, often the quickest way to an entry-level position that doesn’t require you to ask everyone you deal with if they “want fries with that” is through a temp agency. Get placed, keep your nose clean for a few months, and you could be some company’s newest full-time employee, hopefully with a nice raise and a benefits package to boot.

Getting placed, however, is the first step, and that first step can be tougher than you think. You see, somewhere between your current unemployment situation and actually clocking in at the job of your dreams (or even just one that’s going to keep your lights on and food on the table) stands a representative of the staffing firm that services that company.

They go by various titles – staffing manager, staffing coordinator, CSR, recruiter, etc., but they all have one thing in common – they often hold just the keys you need to unlock those oft-elusive career doors.

Ideally, you want staffing managers to be your advocate, an agent of sorts, to guide you to the best fit for you within their clientele. Given that, if you are applying for work at a staffing agency it’s in your best interest to do what it takes to win the staffing manager to your side.

Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

1.) Fill out a complete application 

One would think this would be obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people are content to put their name and contact information on there with little or nothing else attached.

Put yourself in our shoes and imagine looking through a stack of applications (or a list online), trying to find a machine operator with CNC experience. Even if your name is Clark Kent and we pause on yours for a second and think, “Man of steel – I’ll bet he could run a CNC,” if you didn’t include your work history we’ll have no choice but to pass. We simply don’t have the time to babysit, and if you don’t care about your application enough to fill it out completely, we probably won’t care enough to call you.

Every single question of an application is there to help us help you. So fill it all out, every … single … line. Even the phone number and supervisor information for your past jobs is important.

Time-starved reference checking staffing managers aren’t going to think pleasant thoughts about you if they are forced to Google or Yellow Page your last place of employment, then bother half a dozen people before finally finding out who you worked for at XYZ corporation.

If they aren’t thinking pleasant thoughts about you, why would they hire you?

2.) Interview well

Interviewing well really involves just a few things –

Dress appropriately – You can both overdress and underdress for an interview, depending on the position you’re applying for. The key is to dress a notch above the position you want, nothing more or less.

Unless you are applying for an executive or higher level office job, please leave the suit, tie, and dress clothes at home. Sorry, but someone who comes in a suit to apply for a light industrial job just seems a little weird to us. On the other hand, don’t come in here looking like you just got out of bed! A polo shirt and/or a nice blouse and jeans are entirely appropriate to interview for a light industrial job.

Be polite – Say please and thank you. Say yes instead of yeah. Put your phone away. Basic, elementary school stuff to be sure, but simple politeness really goes a lot farther than you think, especially in today’s increasingly IMpolite society.

Be respectful – Respect your interviewer’s person, their position (don’t be demanding), and their space (don’t put your elbows on their desk!).

Be candid – We expect you to tell the truth, but also to portray yourself in the best possible light. However, don’t tell us something unless it’s true. Also, unless the questions are clearly meant to be basic, don’t use simple “yes or no” answers. Elaborate when you can.

3.) Keep your word

Whether it’s showing up on time for an interview or a drug test or showing up for work on that first day, simply doing what you tell us you’re going to do will go a LONG way toward making us your advocate. We WANT to help people we can trust!

There you have it, three simple things you can do to not just differentiate yourself from a significant percentage of your competitors, but win key-holding staffers over to your side.

We want to be your advocate! You just have to give us a reason to.


From Staffing Talk

Written by Scott Morefield

Scott started with AtWork as a Staffing Manager in 1999, eventually taking over the Bristol, TN office as Branch Manager in 2005. After a two year stint as both Branch Manager and social media manager, he assumed the role of Director of Marketing in October of 2014. By night, Scott is a news and opinion columnist for BizPac Review. His work has also been featured on the Drudge Report, Fox Nation, Breitbart, TheBlaze, WND, Staffing Talk, among others. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and an MBA from East Tennessee State University. He and his wife, Kim, live in Bristol, Tennessee with their four children.

View all posts by this author →