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Employment Agencies – Handling Jobs

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Most cities have a least one employment agency. Often agencies may be part of a regional or nationwide chain. An agency handles jobs ranging from lab technician, clerks, secretaries and production workers to positions in middle management and the professions. Agencies may be general or specific in their placement activities.

Agencies earn their money through commission by referring qualified applicants to firms that have listed positions with them. A fee based on the first year of salary is paid by the applicant, by the hiring firm, or shared. For example, a $9000 salary at 9 percent would mean a fee of $810. A $15,000 salary at 15 percent would produce an agency fee of $2250.

The agency may want you to sign a contract to pay them if they place you. Read the small print before you sign. Do not be in a rush to sign. Hiring firms may use classified newspaper ads and several agencies for the same job. Why pay for something you possibly can get by yourself? The better agencies almost always charge the client, not the applicant.



When actively looking to fill a "hot" position an agency will be most interest in qualified individuals. They will hold screening interviews, and then a small number of the best qualified will be referred to the client for subsequent interview performance.

Remember, agencies are working for employers. They want repeat business and long term contacts with firms that hire. Job seekers come and go quickly. The successful agency usually deals in volume and will refer only qualified people. They are in the body business. Naturally their job orders change quickly. Follow-up but don't overdo it as agencies do not give a good deal of personalized service.

It is best, in a large city, to zero in on several of the better agencies active in your employment field. Contact several respected nationwide agencies if you think a move will be necessary. Telephone the personnel office of employers in your field and ask for names of agencies they use and why. Obtain permission to use their name; when you contact the agency interject the company name into your discussion. An agency counselor can offer help and give feedback on your subsequent interview performance.

An excellent agency for some may be a poor agency for you. Select only agencies active in your field. Ask what and when questions regarding placement plans. A job may come through an agency but more likely agencies will be a slow source of help; especially during poor economic conditions.

Executive Search Firms

Executive search firms seek out individuals not in the job market to recommend for specific openings of client companies. They are usually paid for their time and expenses regardless of their placement success. Search firms find capable individuals active in their field. Names of potential candidates come from articles, membership directories, and contacts of a business and professional nature. Successful individuals who are employed and make strong initial impressions are usually presented to client companies. Search firms seek out individuals who can command positions at salaries near $25,000 and higher. They operate discreetly and find people a firm couldn't find on their own. A search can easily take 3 to 4 months.

The ideal time to contact a search firm is when you're employed and considering a possible change within 8 to 12 months or willing to explore attractive potential situations. Use an individually typed informative letter. Give a telephone number, any geographical restrictions, and an appropriate salary range for a new position. A second approach is to send a brief cover letter with a resume.

Resume Writers and Consultants

While most resume writing firms usually produce an excellent resume the results may tend to look alike. Seasoned interviewers can spot them since the layout, vocabulary, sentence structure and reproduction is similar. This appearance occurs since a standard writing format is used to control costs.

Consultants offer advice and counseling to individuals about career changes. Psychological tests may be used. Their service may include the writing and circulation of letters and resumes. The price tag can be high.

Your letters, resumes, and career are very much an extension of your skills and abilities which you design to meet specific objectives. Given time, thinking, and appropriate planning it is best to develop your materials and guide your job search. If you use such services be very selective. Improper mass circulation of letters and resumes can be embarrassing or even dangerous. Some employment agencies also mass circulate resumes. The wrong people - like your current employer - could see them. Carefully read any contract before you sign. You may want to start out with only a portion of their services.

Job Sharing

Two people with similar backgrounds apply together for one job. Duties, tasks, hours, and salary are shared. In difficult economic times, job sharing provides more opportunities for unemployed workers. This allows free time to job sharers to pursue activities such as education or a part-time business.

Job sharing gives the firm two heads instead of one. Together, job sharers can offer more than a single applicant. For example, energy and work enthusiasm can be higher and critical but boring jobs are shared. A firm may split a 10 or 12 hour shift with two people working 5 or 6 hours each and not pay overtime. Be aware; it may take some selling before an organization agrees to hire two people to do one job.

Your Own Classified Ad

Employment Wanted. These ads pay off - for the newspapers; Also they tell employment agencies and other personal service groups of your availability.

Large companies typically do not look in the classified ads for potential employees. Smaller firms, how-ever, often respond as they are attempting to reduce the cost of recruiting people. Be specific in the ad as to your qualifications. It may pay off but it is a long shot.

With a specialized skill an ad in a professional journal may produce results. Try to reach the largest number of companies needing your abilities. This means broad regional or national coverage instead of local coverage. Normally, it is best to explore other areas before you advertise yourself.

Other Sources of Help

Job seeking help may be obtained elsewhere. School placement offices may be active. Banks, saving and loan associations, and public accounting firms are often aware of their client's needs and problems. A recommendation from a service firm will help smooth the way. Professional societies and self-help groups can be beneficial if you qualify for membership.

The government may help in two ways. One is to seek government employment through Civil Service. Contact by phone the appropriate federal, state or local civil service group and ask for information on applying. The U. S. Employment Service should also be contacted where you can register for jobs.
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