getting sick before temp agency interview
April 20, 2016 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Is this temp agency going to write me off as unreliable because I got sick?

I registered with a local temp agency. Last week on Wednesday they sent me on an interview with a local business for a 3-week assignment. The interview went well. On Friday, the agency scheduled me for a follow-up interview with a higher-ranking person at the same company for Monday (yesterday). I felt like I was coming down with something all weekend and Monday morning I woke up with a throat so sore it made my ears hurt, clogged sinuses, and a fever. I reached out to my contact at the temp agency and said that I was sick and would it be possible to reschedule the interview as I don't want to get anyone at the company sick. My contact said it wouldn't be a problem.

As the day went on yesterday I began to feel progressively worse. My fever went up and I felt weak. No appetite. The sore throat persisted. Finally in the evening I got a friend to take me to urgent care, where the doctor on call said that I had the flu. He gave me Tamiflu but said that it might be too late for that since I was symptomatic, and told me I was not to work until I had taken the full course of Tamiflu and my fever was gone. This basically means I am out of commission for the whole week.

When I got home from urgent care in the evening the temp agency was closed so I emailed my contact explaining that I had been diagnosed with the flu and was told to rest and not work the rest of the week, and so as such I would not be able to do the interview unless it was postponed to next week. I also noted that I understood that the company interviewing me wanted to fill this temporary position ASAP and so if they needed to move on to a different candidate I would totally understand.

I have not heard back from the temp agency today. I assume that they are busy and they don't really need to speak with me necessarily right now while I am sick. Still, I am worried that this somehow has marked me as unreliable in their eyes and they have decided to cross me off of their list of available temps and will never contact me again for available jobs. I don't know if these are just crazy flu-addled brain thoughts or if I might be right - it has been a while since I've worked with a temp agency.

Do you think I've been written off as not a suitable temp because of my having gotten sick? Should I email my contact at the agency next week when I am (hopefully) over the flu to let her know that I am available again for positions, or will that annoy her? Should I call her to talk to her in person to let her know I am available again next week? Or should I just assume that my future with this agency is done?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total)
The temp agency I worked at definitely looked poorly on people not being able to make it to interviews but a) that wasn't nearly as bad as not coming in to work which was an automatic "do not call/do not place" and b) you actually went to a doctor and were diagnosed which is something a tiny percentage of temps who called in sick to interviews did. The last thing the temp agency needs is someone visibly ill showing up as their representative; that would not reflect well on anyone's judgment.

Don't do anything right now while you're still sick and give them a call when you're thinking clearly. Make sure you note that you went to a doctor and got diagnosed and have some kind of documentation (bill from the urgent care or the pharmacy if the Tamiflu was Rx) at hand just in case. But it sounds like you did everything right and if this does hurt your chances with the agency, it's probably a shitshow of an agency.
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on April 20, 2016

So they hadn't rescheduled yet, and you said you're actually not able to take the assignment this week or interview because of illness? That should be fine. You've been communicative and let them know that you'll be out for a while.

I would call back when you're well and ready to take assignments/interviews. Temp agencies literally do not care one bit about someone who is unable to earn revenue for them (well, they care about you as people do for other people, but not as a business), so getting back to you when you're not a revenue-generating-temporary-unit isn't something to expect.
posted by xingcat at 8:32 AM on April 20, 2016

It's possible, but unlikely the temp agency is holding this against you in some way. Most likely, they haven't responded because the agency and the client are trying to figure out their best next step. You last updated the agency yesterday evening, and my experience with staffing (on the recruiting/hiring and the candidate side) is that a same or next-day response is not always possible.

I would follow up with the contact next week, and I don't particularly think a phone call is necessary unless that's been your mode of contact all along.
posted by sm1tten at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2016

I don't think you have any control over whether they hold this against you. They might. But I don't think it would be reasonable if they did, because you did the right things -- notified them right away and explained why you're not available and when you expect to be available again. I would reach out when you're better, and say you're over the flu and are once again available and eager to be placed, and maybe say "thanks for your understanding during my illness" or something.
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2016

I work for one of the large temp agencies (granted in corporate and not the recruiting side). You're fine. You were professional, communicative, and provided sufficient notice. Rest up and reach back out when you're feeling better. They will try and slot you into the next set of assignments they need filled. The only real ways to get blacklisted are to no-show for an interview or work assignment, completely bomb an interview in such an extreme way that the client mentions it to the recruiter, perform extremely poorly on an assignment and have the client ask that you be removed, or to fail a drug screen.
posted by Arbac at 12:32 PM on April 20, 2016

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