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Are Temp Agencies Hiring College Graduates?

Dubbed by some as Generation U for unemployed or underemployed, college graduates appear to have tepid job prospects. Finding a good paying job is daunting with more graduates working in minimum wage jobs due to the economic recession. Lack of work experience is a hurdle that most college graduates must overcome. This obstacle becomes harder when so many people with experience are also out of work.

One saving option for college graduates is to use temporary staffing agencies. Many recent graduates have been taking advantage of this not-so new phenomenon since before the Great Recession. When hired by temporary staffing agencies, college graduates can gain much needed work experience. Additionally, they may avoid the full effects of being unemployed in a tight job market.

How Temp Agencies Can Help College Graduates

In general, temporary staffing agencies can be a golden ticket for recent college graduates. Especially those with technical degrees, using temp agencies in their job search could put them at an advantage. A resume becomes a needle in a haystack when simply applying to job ads online. However, signing up with agencies that specialize in a specific field such as engineering or accounting can put the same resume on top of the pile.

Companies have an opportunity to hire temporary staff when production increases. Without hiring full-time employees, these companies do not have to absorb the cost of layoffs when production decreases. On the other hand, if production remains high, companies may decide to open permanent positions that temporary workers can fill.

Why College Graduates Should Include Temp Agencies in Their Job Search

Temping is not for everyone. With better job prospects, most college graduates would not include agencies in their job search. Their eagerness to climb the corporate ladder and adverse feeling for change keeps temp agencies off the radar. However, changes in the job market shed a different light on temporary agencies.

For starters, college graduates can build their resume with work experience in an industry within their chosen field even if it is for an entry-level position. Depending on the agreement between the temp agency and company, graduates might be able to apply for open positions. They have the inside advantage of being familiar with the company's working procedure. Therefore, training would be minimum after transitioning into a permanent position.

Applying for work through temp agencies is not a difficult process. With one application, college graduates are connected to positions that are usually not posted on job boards. Further, they are not obligated to accept every position that the agency offers.

Financial Rewards of Temporary Assignments

For many people fresh out of college with student loans to repay, temp work can be a financially lucrative opportunity. In addition to consistent paychecks, college graduates can possibly save time by temping. An original career path might not seem as rewarding once they are working in the environment. Temping could reveal a loathing for the career – and an easy exit – that working permanently does not.

For example, someone might be considering a legal career and decides to work on temp assignments in a law firm. This person might change his or her mind after realizing the true demands and dedication involved. Thus, he or she will save the cost of law school tuition and many years of pursuing a career that is not enjoyed.

On the other hand, working in a law firm might confirm that this is the right career choice.

Test Drive Different Careers

Temporary assignments also provide an opportunity to explore different career paths, even if a recent graduate has plans. Temp agencies that hire college graduates offer the benefit of working for companies while learning about different industries. They become empowered with a rare opportunity to try out a variety of industries beyond recruiting material.

Typically, companies looking to hire will highlight all of the good things about working for a company; few bypass the personal interest of glossing over the not-so good things. As a temporary employee, college graduates have a rare vantage point to learn about company culture and the real expectations of a full-time job.

The negative is not the only reasons for college graduates to consider temping. They also have opportunities to learn new skill sets without paying for another college degree. Consider the college graduate with a liberal arts degree who is exposed to a specific industry related skill set.

Most likely, they would be overlooked for a marketing, banking or financial services job if they responded to a company job ad. Both the temporary staffing agency and the graduate have something to gain. The college graduate receives exposure and work experience without making a long-term commitment. At the same time, the temp agency gains by sending a bright, articulate person to fill a need and represent the agency.

Types of Jobs with Temp Agencies

In addition to short-term assignments, college graduates may find temp-to-perm or direct hire positions with temp agencies.


Basically, temp-to-perm jobs begin with a person working as a temporary employee for the agency's client. However, a job interview often takes place before the person begins the assignment. Afterward, the same rules apply as if the position was working for a temporary assignment only. The difference is that the job is actually a test run for a permanent position mutually agreed upon between the agency and client.

For a few weeks or months, the person works in the position. After the trial period, if the client likes the temp employee's work – and the temp employee still wants the job – a permanent offer is made. If accepted, the temp becomes a permanent employee with the client.

Direct Hire

Direct hire jobs through temp agencies begin with a client that has an open position. They choose to work with a temporary staffing agency, rather than handling the recruitment process internally, to fill the position. The agency becomes the intermediary between the client and temporary employee.

Like the temp-to-perm position, there is an initial interview with the client after the agency introduces the position to the candidate. This usually occurs after the temp agency speaks to the client and submits several resumes. In some ways, the temp agency becomes a salesperson for the college graduate with this foot in the door opportunity. The end goal is a permanent job offer that could have been missed if the college graduate had to apply with hundreds of other applicants.


Temporary staffing agencies hire college graduates to fill a wide range of positions. From administrative assistants to senior executive, working through these agencies is a chance to make job connections. Assignments can last from a few days to several years. Graduates gain access to different companies as temporary workers, temp-to-perm employees or direct hires.

A large percentage of companies in the U.S. use temporary staffing agencies for short-term and long-term employment needs. Nearly 40 percent of first-time job seekers enter the job market through a temporary staffing agency, according to the American Staffing Association. Until the jobs market picture improves, temporary agencies may continue to be the first stop after receiving a freshly inked degree.