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A temp agency (temporary work agency, temporary staffing firm) is a recruiting firm that acts as an intermediary between individuals looking for work and companies in need of short-term workers.

Temp agencies connect corporate clients with temporary workers whose engagement with the company might last from a day to a month, or longer, but is not intended to be a permanent assignment. The worker is on the agency's payroll, which helps the corporate client with legal and tax purposes, given that there is no contact with the employee.

Temp agencies are often viewed as a last resort for unskilled workers to find temporary, low-wage jobs. However, there are temp agencies that specialize in providing skilled contract workers to corporate clients, and it is not unusual for companies to buy out a temporary worker's contract, hiring them for a permanent position. Thus, a temp job can represent a foot in the door leading to permanent employment.

Generally, a temp agency has a pool of workers who come to the agency looking for work. The agency screens the workers, weeding out those who are unsuitable, and determining the skills possessed by those they hire. A client company in need of temporary workers enters into a contract with the temp agency defining what types of workers the company is looking for, the per-hour wage, and other details. The agency then selects, from its pool of workers, those who possess the required skills, sending them to the client company. The agency, not the company, pays an hourly wage to the worker, while the client company pays the temp agency an amount based on the hourly wage of the worker, plus an additional amount.

While some client companies employ temporary workers to meet a temporary need, others regularly employ temp workers in order to avoid having to provide additional benefits, such as health insurance or vacation time, and because temp workers are not generally covered by existing union contracts.

Individuals looking for work through a temp agency will usually be asked to submit a resume or to complete another form that serves a similar purpose. There will also be an interview, which may be brief for unskilled positions, but is likely to be more like a full job interview for higher-paying assignments.

Next, there is usually a screening process that may include a background check, as well as a drug test. There may also be other tests to determine an applicant's suitability for specific assignments.

Once an applicant has been accepted into the temp agency's workforce, he will be offered one or more jobs that correspond with the individual's skill set, if there are any immediately available. Otherwise, there will be a delay until something opens up.

While many temp agencies carry a large pool of unskilled workers who can be placed in any basic labor position, or other tasks that require little training or experience, some agencies specialize in providing personnel for skilled jobs, such as accounting, coding, engineering, or nursing.



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