Staffing Agency Interviews: What You Need to Know

Young woman shaking hands with recruiter after a successful staffing agency interview. Thinking about working with a staffing agency and not sure what to expect during your interview? 

You’re not alone. 

That’s because staffing agency interviews are slightly different from traditional job interviews. Their goal isn’t to evaluate if you’re a good fit for a specific position. Rather, recruiters want to determine whether they can help provide the support you need in your job search. 

However, just because an interview with a staffing firm isn’t a typical one, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Nor does it mean you shouldn’t be well prepared! 

In this article, we’ll walk you through why you should take your staffing interview seriously, and 5 ways to make sure you ace it. 

Here’s why staffing interviews matter: 

  1. Staffing companies are well-connected. 
  2. Companies are paying and trusting recruiters to find them TOP talent. 
  3. It’s good practice. 

And here are 5 ways to make the most of your interview with a staffing firm: 

  1. Do some research. 
  2. Dress for the part. 
  3. Be prepared. 
  4. A little professionalism goes a long way. 
  5. Keep an open mind.

Not convinced? Don’t worry. We’re going to break things down for you and provide specific advice to make sure you know everything you need about staffing agency interviews. 

Why You Should Take a Staffing Agency Interview Seriously:

1. Staffing companies are well-connected.

Staffing agencies partner with many businesses – big and small, and in various industries. 

They can connect job seekers to opportunities they wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. Not only do they have an “in” with many local businesses, some employers only recruit through staffing firms. So working with one might be your only way to be considered for some jobs.

Making a good impression during your interview could open lots of doors for you. Conversely, not putting your best foot forward could close those doors. 

2. Companies are paying and trusting recruiters to find them TOP talent.

Recruiters are looking to present top candidates to their clients. That doesn’t mean someone with years of experience, but someone who is serious about finding work and has a professional attitude. 

How you behave during your staffing interview will influence how much recruiters are willing to advocate for you. A recruiter in doubt of your professionalism isn’t going to risk presenting you to their clients. But if you treat your interview seriously and respectfully, they are way more likely to recommend you for jobs. 

3. It’s good practice.

This is your chance to practice your interviewing skills without the immediate stress of a job hanging in the balance. 

Think of it as a dress rehearsal. You want to give it your all, but it’s ok if it isn’t perfect. Staffing agencies will use your initial interview to see where you’re at and what they might need to help you work on. 

Recruiters want to see you succeed. Once they’ve assessed where you’re at, they can give you great feedback and tips to help you out in future interviews. So give yourself the best chance by putting your best self forward from the get go. 

5 tips to ace your interview with a staffing agency:

1. Do some research.

You might already know the importance of researching an employer before a job interview. But you’ll also greatly benefit from looking into a staffing agency before you speak with them. 

Researching a staffing firm will help you understand who they are, what type of job they specialize in, and what kind of candidates they usually place. In turn, that will help you determine whether or not they’re a match for your needs. 

After all, not all staffing firms will be right for you. If you’re looking for a warehouse or manufacturing job, an agency that focuses on accounting and clerical positions won’t be able to help you. 

Doing research will also give you insight on how reputable a staffing agency is. Check sites such as Glassdoor and ClearlyRated for reviews. Look at what placed talent says of an agency. That will help you figure out whether they will be a reliable resource in your job search. 

2. Dress for the part.

When trying to determine what to wear for your staffing agency interview, consider the saying “dress for the job you want.” 

You probably don’t need to wear a suit if you’re applying to light industrial work or business casual work. But even then, be sure to look neat, clean and tidy. Avoid wearing tight, stained, or ripped clothing. Show that you put some effort and thought into getting ready for the interview.

Even if you’re only having a phone interview, consider dressing the part. Most importantly, focus on wearing clothes that make you feel confident. That can go a long way towards putting you in the right state of mind for a professional setting. 

In an online interview, you might also want to think of your background as part of your outfit. After all, your setting will contribute to the visual impression you leave. If possible, set up in front of a blank wall. At the very least, avoid having anything you might not want an interviewer to see in your background.

3. Be prepared.

To help place you in the right position, a staffing firm will need an accurate picture of your work history, skills, and what you’re looking for. Help them out by having all of that information ready for them. 

If your appointment is in person, that means bringing an extra copy of your resume, and whatever documents were requested when your interview was scheduled. If you’re having a virtual or phone interview, you’ll want to send all these documents in advance. 

Be ready to walk your interviewer through your resume, and explain your qualifications and what you bring to the table clearly and effectively. 

You’ll also help your recruiter support you if you have a clear idea of your career goals, what kind of job you’re looking for, what pay you’re aiming for, and what pay you’re willing to accept.

And if you’re quitting a job to look for something new, be prepared to discuss why you’re leaving. Avoid being overly negative and instead, explain why your old job wasn’t the right fit for you. 

4. A little professionalism goes a long way.

Recruiters might not be the ones hiring you, but they decide what opportunities they will present you for. The more professional you are, the more confident they will be about recommending you for jobs. 

So if you have an in-person interview, make sure to arrive on-time (or a little early). Before getting to your interview, turn off your cell phone and dispose of food or drink. And once there, follow proper lobby etiquette (being courteous to the front desk agent and waiting patiently for your interview to begin). 

If your interview is remote, take a few minutes before the interview to check that your technology is ready. Set yourself up in a quiet space where you can talk without background noise. 

During your interview, whether remote or in person, listen, avoid talking over your recruiter, and be polite and respectful. Remember to use professional language and do your best to show a positive attitude. 

5. Keep an open mind.

Staffing agencies usually work with a variety of companies and in more than one industry. If you’re interviewing with a staffing firm, you might have applied to a specific role, or you might be open to various options. Either way, your recruiter may suggest job opportunities you had not previously considered. 

Recruiters are experts in placing people in jobs that are the right fit. After hearing about your experience, and career goals, they are likely to see how you would align with an industry or position you hadn’t thought of before.

Of course, that does not mean you have to take any job they suggest. But keep an open mind and hear your recruiter out. They won’t try to place you anywhere they don’t think you’ll thrive.

With that said, being open-minded isn’t limited to hearing your recruiter out about various job opportunities. It’s also about being receptive to feedback. 

Recruiters know what their clients are looking for, and they’ll do their best to prepare you for future job interviews. They might have suggestions on how to tweak your resume, behaviors you could adjust, or ways to present yourself. This feedback is worth listening to and will help set you up for success for future job interviews. 

All in all, if you take it seriously and keep these 5 tips in mind, there’s no doubt you will ace any staffing agency interview! 

And remember, recruiters are on your side! They want to see you succeed and they want to place you in a job that will be a perfect fit. So if you are looking for work or the next step in your professional development, consider partnering with a staffing agency

Here are some helpful articles to we have available to further prepare you in your job search: 

How TERRA Can Be a Resource: 

If you’re searching for your next job opportunity, TERRA can help!

TERRA Staffing Group is a leading staffing agency, headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. We work with many companies across a variety of industries in the Seattle-Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, and Denver-Metro areas.

We specialize in temp, temp-to-hire, contract, and permanent staffing and have many employment opportunities available. We’re the best at what we do and are committed to helping people find the Right Fit.

To see some of the jobs we offer, check out our current job openings. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us! New jobs become available daily. 

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.)

5 Comments

  1. This is some great advice for those who will be dealing with staffing and recruitment agencies in the next little while. Great advice on always putting your best foot forward, and I will be sure to do so in any situation like this that I may be in. Minding your manners is another great one to live by. Great tips all around.

    Reply
  2. I like how you said, “Staffing companies are well-connected. They partner with many businesses – big and small, and in various industries. Not putting your best foot forward from the onset could close those doors”. I completely agree with you. Staffing companies can help you out a ton if they are confident in you. On the other hand, if they don’t feel impressed by you, it might be more difficult to find a job.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the great tips about interviewing with a staffing agency. My past experiences seemed so casual that I thought I didn’t have to dress in business attire. I definitely have a new perspective now, and I will be sure to impress the next time I interview.

    Reply
  4. Wow, you make some really great points on why it’s important to take your staffing agency interview important. It sounds like it might be a good idea to get some practice interviewing before you set your interview with the agency. Since it impacts your ability to get multiple jobs, I would actually consider it more important than an interview at another location. After all, it is important that you are able to utilize all of those connections available to you!

    Reply
  5. I agree that you should take your interview with any staffing agency very seriously. If you want a job, interviewing for them shouldn’t be any different than interviewing for any other company. It seems like a lot of people don’t dress up for interviews anymore. Personally, I wouldn’t just dress for the job I want, I would dress in professional business attire. Even though I want a position in manufacturing, I want the interviewer to know that I take the process seriously.

    Reply

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