Getting employed through a temp agency

Let the agency find you gigs, and you’ll both be kept busy.

Getting employed through a temp agency

Is temp work in your future?

Not ready for a full-time gig and tired of hunting for temp jobs on your own? A temporary employment agency (often just called a temp agency) might be the place to turn. 

There’s a type of recruiting firm for people just like you. If you qualify, they’ll send you out on short-term assignments to their list of employers who need help. In some cases, it could evolve into a permanent role.

Though a temp agency operates somewhat differently than regular recruiters, you approach (and impress) them in similar ways. Know what to expect so you can nail it first time out.

Differences between temp agencies and regular recruiters

Whether dealing with a regular recruiting firm or temp agency, you never give money to either one for a job. They get paid directly by employers who hire you through them.

The key contrasts are that temp agencies send you out on a series of short-term assignments vs. full-time jobs. You’re considered an employee of the agency, and they pay you your wages. 


Most folks reach out to a temp agency in one of three ways. Either by applying to a job that the agency posted online; registering with the agency though not necessarily for a specific position; or by walking into a local branch to introduce yourself. 

The better agencies will get back to you pretty quickly. It’s in their interest to see if you’re capable and available for work. When submitting your application, use a resume tailored to temp jobs.  

The interview process

Be prepared to get screened quickly by the agency. They’ll likely schedule a call with you to ask some initial questions. And might have you complete a self-rating of the kinds of skills you have.

Make the first cut and get asked in for an interview. Some of the specific questions to expect are:

  • Why do you want to work temp vs full-time?
  • Which types of assignments are you qualified for?
  • What is your availability?
  • Would you ever consider shifting to full-time work if things go well through us?

If the roles you’re applying for are administrative, or otherwise require skills that can be measured (e.g. keyboarding with few or no errors, transcription, use of spreadsheets), you might get tested on the spot. If your results aren’t up to snuff, that might be the end.


The agency carefully guards its clients who are employers of various stripes. The employment contract you sign with the agency spells this out clearly.

When you’re first sent out to a client for an assignment, it might be for just one or two days. That’s their way of minimizing possible harm and obtaining immediate feedback. Once you prove yourself worthy and trustable, the duration of jobs could range from ½ a day to several months.

Professional development

Good agencies will be in regular contact with you. How’s the assignment going? Any questions or concerns? They’ll also offer free training to help upgrade—and expand—your talents. 

The more you can offer their clients, the more assignments you’ll qualify for. Just don’t go behind their backs and try to work for the client directly. That contract you signed will cause you pain that won’t be temporary. 

Ready to get started working with a temp agency? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you get job alerts emailed right to your inbox, which cuts down on the amount of time you’d spend searching through ads. You can upload up to five versions of your CV—each tailored to distinctive types of temp jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts emailed to you so you can be among the first to apply when a new opportunity becomes available.