Let’s say you are a qualified domestic professional interested in applying for a position advertised by a Domestic Staffing Agency. What’s the most effective way to engage in this process? In my long career in Private Service, I have been both a candidate and a recruiter, and here are some guidelines I found to be successful in working with staffing agencies.
1. Do your homework. Concentrate on working with agencies with good reputations, whose websites reflect your own values and skill sets. Focus on those who respond to your query, treat you respectfully, and are available to answer your questions. Once you make contact, note the names of the recruiters and try to maintain focused relationships with them, ones that can build and grow throughout your career.
2. Really, truly read the job description. Before you respond to a specific agency-based posting, examine the fine points of the position. Do you genuinely have the experience required? Sometimes the initial screening process is slowed due to a surge of unqualified responses recruiters must wade through.
3. Does the schedule meet your needs? Are you able to work on the scheduled days/travel if requested/offer flexibility or will the schedule as described present a problem? Some candidates hope that if they make a favorable impression, a job schedule can be tailored to meet their needs, but that is generally untrue and frustrating to all parties.
4. Be realistic about compensation. Is the salary appropriate, or are you hoping to reveal later in the process that you actually require higher compensation? This is a misstep that rarely sits well with clients. Don’t make that mistake. Spend your energy working toward finding positions whose stated compensation meets your expectations.
5. Get your ducks in a row. Is your resume up to date? Is it polished, spell-checked, formatted well? Your resume will create an impression first with the agency, and next, with the potential client. I cannot overstate how important it is that your professionalism shines through in this document.
6. Organize your references. Be prepared to submit letters of reference and/or contact information. Reach out to past employers and managers, and make sure they are available and willing to give you a great refence. And never fabricate references. Good recruiters can spot references written by the candidates themselves, or by a friend or non-supervisory co-worker. Even if you are qualified in every possible way, a fraudulent reference immediately disqualifies you as a candidate.
7. Brush up your tech skills. Learn how to use FaceTime or WhatsApp and Zoom. And be prepared to present yourself online as you would in person – neat and polished and professional in appearance — in a well-lit, non-cluttered and quiet background.
8. Stay in touch. Develop honest relationships with individual recruiters who remember you and treat you with respect. Keep them posted on developments in your career, skills, location. If you are top of mind and familiar to the recruiter, and your credentials are in order, it follows that you will be among the first to be contacted when the right job opens up.
Bottom line: Be disciplined in your approach to a job search, and work with great recruiters. The best of them make an effort to respond to their candidates with courtesy and empathy. When a candidate faces disappointment, they feel it too. And when they make a good placement, they share in that candidate’s happiness. At heart, such recruiters share the desire to make a positive change in people’s lives. And that’s the true win-win that working with an agency can provide for clients and candidates alike.