How do I make sure I can attain reliable temp jobs in New York City when I'm not traveling?
September 18, 2008 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I need help navigating New York's temp agencies

This post is for a friend, and he writes: "I've recently begun performing with a band that tours about five months out of the year. When I'm not on the road, I need to be able to pick up odd jobs so that I can pass the time and pay rent until it's time to go back out. I've been told that temping is probably the rest solution for someone in my position.

I'm reasonably skilled, college educated, and a quick learner. I don't have any delusions that temping will bring good money, but I would like to keep away from minimum-wage territory. I know that there many temp agencies in the city, but I just don't know how to go about finding the right ones. Any advice from people who have been in similar situations would be greatly appreciated."
posted by idledebonair to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard good things about Atrium, and they certainly called me a lot with jobs I didn't end up taking, but I personally used GloCap with reasonable success. As long as you make yourself presentable at the interview, they'll probably shuffle you into a desk job where you just need to look nice and answer the phone. My average hourly wage, as a college grad with middling computer skills, was $16.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:36 AM on September 18, 2008

The "right one" is the one that gives you work. My advice for your friend would be to keep registering and interviewing at temp agencies until he finds one that can reliably find him assignments. The more agencies he is registered with, the better the odds he will have an assignment on any given day. I would recommend starting with the largest agencies first and working down the list every day, scheduling one interview in the morning and one in the afternoon. At some point assignments will start coming in and he can most likely develop a good working relationship with one or two agencies (they provide assignments and he provides dependability and flexibility).

I'm sure other folks will have NYC specific info, but the above strategy has worked for me in a couple of very large cities where I was completely unfamiliar with any of the temp agencies.
posted by Otis at 9:37 AM on September 18, 2008

posted by soma lkzx at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2008

The "right one" is the one that gives you work.


The wisest thing to do is to sign up with more than one and work with them all, and sooner or later one will rise to the top as "the best fit." (Not only is it wise for your friend to sign up with more than one temp agency and play them off each other, the agencies assume you're doing this anyway.) But sign up with a few of them -- about four or five -- and then just stay in touch with them.

The one I'm with, Leafstone, is a division of Corestaff - and you can even register with them online (in fact, they prefer you do) -- send them in your resume and then call about an hour later to set up your initial interview. Corestaff is a national organization, so he may even want to ask if there's any way that the New York office could contact the Houston office if he's on the road and knows his band will have a long weekend off or something at a given time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2008

I just memailed you an article about touring musicians who do work for design/architecture companies building their models. The work comes in intense spurts, so it's perfect for that kind of schedule. (Sorry, no link, cause it's from Nexis.)

Also, though, I wouldn't discount Borders. They offer benefits, and if you work in the cafe, instead of selling books, you can make the $16/hour zoomorphic did temping because of tips. Plus, you probably have a little more of a set schedule. (I don't know what their pay scale is now, but a few years ago in DC it was $9-$13/hour, and you would make $5-$10/hour in tips.)
posted by Airhen at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2008

As someone who just got a real job but went around to the temp agencies pretty regularly in the past two months, I can tell you that I did not get a single job offered to me even though I registered at fifteen agencies. Just something to think about.
posted by josher71 at 10:33 AM on September 18, 2008

« Older Witches, Wizards, and the American Civil War   |   Help me help him and myself. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.