Which agency to choose depends on your own circumstances. This means you should choose an agency that matches your own qualifications and experience as well as one that matches the form of work you want. Some agencies will specialise in part time work or temporary employment, while others tend to prefer dealing with longer term contracts.
Often the best way of finding the agency for you is to look at how many jobs in fields you have experience in are available at your local work agencies. For instance if you have engineering experience often local engineering firms will prefer one agency that has a history of having engineers on its books, so the majority of the local jobs in engineering will be with it rather than other agencies. One of the primary reasons people find it hard to get work when using agencies is simply being with an agency which isn’t specialised in their area.
When signing up to an agency you should be very specific about your requirements. Agencies work on commissions for placing candidates in work and thus may try to place you in work that you’re not entirely suited for if you aren’t specific with them. If you only want work in for instance catering make sure they know this or you might place you in a job doing cleaning.
Equally important is to specific your ability to travel and your other commitments, such as childcare or if you need weekends off as your partner works weeks. How flexible you are should depend on the local employment situation, but you can always become more flexible if the agency initially doesn’t have much luck placing you.
Students will often use agencies in their holidays to find temporary work to help pay for their degree. This often involves catering and cleaning for events and conferences as well as cleaning student rooms before the next years intake. Certain agencies specialise in this work and will often advertise on campus.
While traditionally many have thought of employment agencies as meaning dealing with low paid work, the casualisation of more industries means more higher paying skilled jobs are now available. Agencies now advertise magazine editing positions and skilled engineering positions alongside the more traditional catering and cleaning jobs.
Agency work isn’t ideal for long term employment though as rights are often less then as traditional employees and their is often a culture of treating employees differently within companies. If you find yourself working for the same employer through an agency for too long it is often worth going to the employer directly to discuss becoming an employee rather than agency worker. Some employers will jump at the chance to save the fees they were previously paying to the agency, especially after 2010 legislation changes mean agency workers have gained more rights for equal pay and hours with employees doing the same job.