Many accounting and finance professionals find interim employment by working with a staffing agency. If you count yourself among them, congratulations! You've chosen a career path that offers rewarding job opportunities, provides flexibility and gives you the chance to learn new skills. Even if your ultimate goal is to land a full-time position, working on a temporary basis can be a great stepping-stone to longer-term employment.
To make the most of your time as a temporary professional, you need a firm that understands your present capabilities and is committed to helping you reach your future professional goals. If your experience isn't living up to those expectations, perhaps it's time to evaluate why.
Here are five signs you and your staffing agency don't see eye to eye:
1. You're not getting updates. A failure to communicate indicates a disinterested staffing agency. It's not uncommon to have multiple points of contact at an agency, and you should feel like you have a team working for you. They should return email and phone calls promptly, and you should get regular updates from one of the staffing managers working on your behalf. If that's not the case, and you're being treated like "just another candidate," it may be time to find a new agency.
2. The jobs don't match your skills. Every time you talk to your recruiter, you have to explain why your bookkeeping experience does not make you the right candidate for a position reconciling accounts at a large, public company. Your staffing agency should understand the nuances of the industry and the subtle but important differences between seemingly similar opportunities. If they consistently pair you with jobs you're under- or overqualified for, it's time to move on.
3. You feel pressured to accept jobs you aren't interested in. You've made it clear to your recruiter you aren't willing to take any old job just to get a paycheck. Still, like clockwork, every Friday, you get a call with the offer of yet another data entry opening or office manager fill-in position.
4. Your preferences are being ignored. You asked for – and your recruiter told you he or she had – long-term assignments that would let you gain new experience or improve your soft skills. Instead, you've seen only short-term projects that offer little in the way of professional growth. Your agency should truly understand what you're looking for and not take your preferences lightly.
5. Your career isn't moving forward. You signed on with a staffing agency because you thought landing diverse assignments would give your career a shot in the arm. Instead, you're getting placed in the same role at each stop. The agency also seems uninterested in professional development, offering few tips on improving your resume, little feedback on your skills and performance, and limited access to training. In short: You feel like you're on your own.
You deserve to work with a firm that understands current hiring trends in accounting and finance. A company engaged in research and thought leadership in the industry will be better prepared to help you advance according to your career goals. If these warning signs seem a little too familiar, maybe it's time to make a switch to a better staffing agency.