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Issue: December 16, 2001
A close look at this increasingly popular alternative
by Brenda Bowen
Employment agencies can offer a convenient shortcut to finding that new career you've been looking for. Relieving much of the stress of job hunting, they will match you with an employer who needs your particular skills.
The challenge, however, is picking the right employment agency for you. Here is a rundown of specialties and services provided by four major employment agencies operating in Northern California.
Staffmark deals with applicants from every stage of employment. "There are people who already have jobs, those looking to advance or those who are out of work," says Cheryl Titus, director of operations for Staffmark's Stockton office. The agency offers short or long-term temporary assignments, transitioning into indefinite part or full-time opportunities in executive, IT, management and supervisory positions. They also place people in general office support areas - administration, secretarial, accounting, and light industrial positions. Staffmark prides itself in not only working hard to place people, but in building lasting relationships as well. "Because we have such a wonderful rapport with our associates (workers)," Titus believes.
Not charging customers a fee and providing sound medical, dental, and incentive bonuses are common with all contemporary employment staffing agencies. Incentives are also common. "Competition is great, and so are our benefits," Titus points out. Staffmark (staffmark.com) offers medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, and a 401K just after thirty days of service with the company. There are also referral bonuses ranging from $25 to $100, as well as production bonuses.
"You name it, we've got it." That's how Mike Dourgarian, Sacramento Manpower franchise president, describes the types of positions available through his agency. That includes professional, higher-level openings, especially in finance and IT. "We place chief financial officers, civil and network engineers, and purchasing agents," explains Dourgarian, who has been with the company for 22 years. "But these are not our bread and butter, since we offer a wide variety of other areas - data processing, secretarial, industrial, assembly, and marketing." Manpower, (manpowernet.com) has been in business for over 40 years and strives to attract clients with creative marketing, including high-tech, online recruiting. Dourgarian says his firm welcomes online posting of resumes because "there are jobs not listed. And some (positions) are harder to find than others."
Manpower also offers a benefit package for employees. "We have a major medical plan and pay 50 percent of the premium, and once a worker is on full-time, benefit qualification is the next first of the month. Plus, there's an hours requirement. Vacation and holiday pay are also available," says Dourgarian. At Manpower, training is also provided. "We have a global learning
center that functions as our virtual university, and more than 1000 college courses are available."
Founded in 1970, Nelson Staffing Solutions (nelsonjobs.com) initially established itself as an executive placement firm with offices primarily located in Northern California. Back then it focused on executive positions in accounting, finance, insurance, and data processing. However, the economic downturn in the 80s forced founder Gary Nelson to expand to include temporary staffing and direct hire for companies. "We continued to do executive recruitment, but it was no longer the primary focus of our rapidly growing business," says Mark Nelson, President of Nelson in San Rafael.
Today, Nelson has several core businesses: Nelson Staffing Solutions provides temp, temp to hire, and direct hire placements in administrative, customer service, and light industrial; Accountants Plus provides accounting and finance professionals; TechSource provides technology experts on an hourly contract and full-time basis. In addition, Nelson provides 1099 independent contractor compliance evaluations, compliance protocols, and acts as employer-of-record to companies using contract workers. Nelson's fifth and most recent division, Soconet, provides website solutions, including design and creation of websites for Intranet and Extranet initiatives.
Nelson also offers compensatory incentives - holiday and bonus pay, skills enhancement training, a free software support hotline, medical benefits, cash referral bonus pay, and recognition and award programs. Online database for job inquiries by region, pay range, and assignment duration are also provided.
"We are very specialized with three highly professional divisions to choose from, while making people feel at home within a professional placement staff," says Lynne Johnson marketing and administrative manager for CalStaff (calstaff.com), headquartered in Sacramento. "We're a family-owned business and have chose to remain local or regionalized because our motto is caring about people, not treating them like numbers," Johnson notes. Under its primary division, CalStaff offers employment in general office work, insurance, accounting, and information technology, just to list a few. Under the GraphXStaff (graphxstaff.com) division, the company provides employment in graphic design, web design, multimedia, and public relations. Under the Law Staff label (lawstaff-usa.com) CalStaff provides legal staffing opportunities for attorneys and paralegals.
CalStaff offers online application submission and e-mail notification for job postings. The average length of an assignment, says Johnson, is 29 days; full-timers then go to someone else's payroll. About 72 percent of its temp employees go on to permanent jobs.
CalStaff prides itself on providing the best benefits for their job candidates. "Since 1996, we are the first staffing company to actually offer a 401K . . . I was very proud of it" Johnson boasts.
Note: All four staffing agencies share similar protocols in dealing with applicants - You can expect a face-to-face interview after completing an application and taking a written test (whether clerical or computer-related).
Whichever staffing agency you choose, you may have an advantage getting work. According to recent news reports, in light of the current economic uncertainty, employers are more willing to use temps than to hire permanent employees they might have to let go.
Following is the contact information for sources in this article:
Here are additional staffing agency websites. Toll-free phone numbers are listed when available. If not, check your local directory for a phone number of a nearby office.
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