Staffing agencies can be a mystery, especially to full timers or to creatives who have worked directly with a Recruiter. But finding the right agency and the right relationships can change the entire trajectory of your career, if you play your cards right. Recruiters not only have direct connections with companies looking to hire, but they can be your advocate before an interview - giving you an inside look into what a company is looking for. The first step? Building a strong relationship with that recruiter by showing off your own strengths and experience.
5 Ways to Leave a Good (& Lasting) Impression with a Recruiter
1. Show up on time and bring your A-game – just like any other job interview
Sure, we’re working for you, but we’re also looking to see how you make a first impression, and how you’re going to work with our clients.
While working with a recruiter at a staffing agency can seem a little more informal since it’s all about you and what you’re looking for, it’s still really important to give your rep a sense of how you’ll interview for an actual job. Treat it like a dress rehearsal for the dream job of your life, and watch the offers begin to roll in. That means, don't forget your resume, your portfolio, or anything you'd want a company hiring you to see.
2. Be prepared to showcase your work and speak to your accomplishments
One of the biggest differences between interviewing with a staffing agency and with a potential employer is that you’ll spend a LOT of time talking about….you!
- Before the interview, make sure your resume and portfolio are up to date with no errors or typos. This is what we’ll remember most about you and will also be how we showcase you to clients. It sounds like a no-brainer, but go over your work before you come in for your interview and decide how you’ll take your rep through it.
- Pro tip? Include a case study in your portfolio. If you don't have one built into your website or resume, come prepared with a story of your experience working on your favorite project.
- Bring a laptop or ask your rep if there will be one for you to show your portfolio (any by this time you should know – you really need to have on online portfolio.)
- If you're interviewing digitally (which let's be honest, right now you probably are), make sure you're ready to share your screen. That means, have your portfolio open, with a clean desktop that won't be distracting.
- Treat it like any other presentation. Highlight star projects or achievements. The most memorable interviews we have are the ones where people show up and spend a lot of time discussing their work and the backstory behind the projects they worked on – it’s fascinating to get an idea of how you work, what your process is, and it’s a great chance to show off all the amazing stuff you’ve been up to so far!
3. Look the part
Yes, the world is definitely moving toward a more casual work style, especially with remote work. Designers and creatives are especially guilty of helping bring casual into the workplace. But an interview is not the time to dress down.
You don’t have to wear a full suit, but you should dress like you are going to any other job interview – show your personality, but dress for the job you want. Avoid hoodies, beanies, sweat pants, etc. Yes, even for a digital interview.
Even if you're not worried about impressing a recruiter with your attire, it's proven that you'll perform better if you're dressed professionally.
Thanks to a (blessedly) relaxed dress code in the design world and the business world in general, it can be tricky to know what to wear. Think of it this way – the less distracting your outfit is, the more likely the interviewer will be focusing on YOU, not your tie-dye hoodie.
4. So wait, this isn’t a “real” interview?
Yes, and no.
Our job is to review your history, resume, and get to know you so we can best present you to our clients and up your chances of getting the gig. That means that much of our basic criteria meets that of a prospective employer’s – we’re doing the basics like making sure you speak positively about previous employers, that your work is presented in a compelling manner, and that you can demonstrate you understand an industry or job. So be prepared to answer typical staffing agency interview questions like:
- Walk me through your portfolio/resume?
- What was your role in this project?
- What were the results of this project?
- Do you prefer to work with a team or alone?
- What was a project that didn't turn out how you liked? How was that process?
- Tell us about working in X or Y industry? Are there other industries you have experience in that aren't listed in your portfolio/resume?
- What are you looking for in your next job?
- Why are you looking to leave your current role?
- Are you open to contract or freelance roles?
That being said, most people ace this part. This interview is also meant to be a discussion that outlines how the staffing agency works, how you get paid, how the submission process goes, and to answer any questions you might have about us and our process.
You’ll also find that a Talent Representative will be more up front and honest with you than you would find while interviewing with an employer. If we think something is missing from your portfolio, we’ll probably bring it up. If there’s a way to make your resume a bit more concise and impactful for the client that we’re sending you to, we’ll probably bring that up, too. This is a GREAT time to get some exclusive info about what employers are looking for and how to make the biggest impact, so feel free to ask questions and be up front and honest about your expectations, too. The more info you give us, the better we can meet your needs.
5. That was fun, now what’s next?
Sometimes you’ll be interviewing with a Talent Representative because you’re up for a specific role, and in that case we’ll let you know what our client says after we submit you. A good rule of thumb is to check in with us after a week.
If you’re interviewing to work with us in general, there may not be any jobs that are a fit right then, but you can be sure something will come up in the future. It’s always a great idea to keep in touch with your representative and touch base – we love hearing from you and want to know everything.
- Has your idea of that dream job changed?
- Are you thinking of striking out as a freelancer?
- Sick of your current job?
The more we know, the more we can help, and at the end of the day, we’re on your team and always looking for that perfect career for you!
On the market for a new role? Apply to one of our open positions and someone from our team may just be setting up an interview with you soon.
Want more on how to work with a staffing agency? Check out our recent blog: How to Get the Most from Working with a Recruiter