Source: Wikicommons

Today is Halloween, but since January 4th 2010, it feels like there’s something always playing tricks on me, if not an outright game, throughout my search for work.

Case in point: trying to find temporary work. I’ve touched on my past “a-temps” (sorry, couldn’t resist) to find work through temporary agencies in a blog post and also in one of my videos. To give you an idea of why I am so frustrated with these agencies, let me share with you my most recent experience with one (the third one in fact I’ve tried since my job search started). I won’t give out the name, but let’s just throw out a hint by saying I wouldn’t want them as friends.

During the first week of September (nearly two months ago), I spoke to someone at this temporary agency about finding some sort of work to keep the bills paid. It did not matter what it was, just as long as I could do the job. I was asked to come in and speak with someone, so I came in, as I always do, with my best suit on and spotlessly clean. I had three references from co-workers and one pending from my previous employer (he later got back to me to tell me how he could be reached to provide a reference).

Now, you have to understand something about temporary agencies: it’s not a simple 30 minute signup and then you are working. In all three cases where I registered with a temporary agency, it takes a few hours so your job search day is pretty much shot. This visit took 3 hours of my time. You also have to take a test on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and a test on Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities. If you do not pass either of these tests, you do not work for this temporary agency. No exceptions.

After I did the tests, next came lots of paperwork to sign. At this point, I had to provide a void cheque and the references I mentioned earlier. When that was done, the interview followed and I thought I did fairly well. I also cautioned myself I’ve been there before, where I thought I did well and providing a void cheque meant I got the job. Never mind the fact I got a welcome to whatever package full of documentation and a time-card to boot: I was still cautious this time around.

After I got home, I sent the following thank you to the temporary agency contact via Email:

Hello, (omitted)
Thank you for taking time to meet with me today. I hope I filled out the paperwork correctly. I can be reached at (omitted) in case you have any further questions.
In the event you did not receive a copy of my resume I sent earlier to the (omitted) inbox, I’ve attached it to this Email to assist you in the placement process.
To recap, I’m willing to do any office work, even entry level, that I have a skill for.
I contacted my former employer, (omitted), and he has agreed to make some time during his business trip at a (omitted). He can be reached at:
Kind Regards
David Gay

This was back on September 6th, 2012. Following that, I sent Emails very similar to the following example:

Hello (omitted)
I’m just checking in to see if things have picked up for any temp work you may have available. If not, I’ll check in with you again one week from today.
Kind Regards
David Gay

on September 18th, September 27th, October 4th, October 18th, and October 25th of 2012. My contact stopped answering my Emails after October 4th, 2012. After nearly 4 weeks of zero replies, I asked my contact through Email to close my file:

Hi (omitted).
I’ve been trying my best to put myself to work through (omitted), showing how eager and willing I am to work. I did the training requirements and I’m sure I passed my reference and criminal checks with flying colors, but it’s been nearly two months so it’s time to move on. Can you please close my file and delete all supplied personal documentation?
I thank you for the opportunity to at least try applying, and wish you and (omitted) nothing but the best in the business you do.
Kind Regards
David Gay

The response I received from my final Email was a mindblower:

Hi David

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how willing and eager you are to work if there are no jobs to offer there is not much we can do other than to keep your file active and hope to place you as soon as we can.

I will close your file.  We here at (omitted) wish you the very best.


Okay…so I’m told it didn’t matter how eager I was to find work, because there are no jobs, yet that did not stop the temporary agency from taking 3 hours of my time to ask me to take tests, fill out application forms, ask for my references and a void cheque and do an interview. In short:





Ye Gods. Happy Halloween, everyone.



3 thoughts on “Dis-Temp’red

  1. Ye gods indeed. Filling in forms is intensely irritating anyway, and the irritation is usually only mitigated by the chance at an ACTUAL JOB. I get the same feeling when transferring all of the data on my CV to an application form, and then being told to attach my CV too… what is a CV for again? As always, wishing you luck!

    1. Thanks for the comment Eleanor. The next temp agency I go to I’m going to clearly state that I will not fill out one form without first getting a signed guarantee of being given an assignment within one month of registering. That’s three voided cheques for no reason

  2. I’ve not had any luck at all with agencies, but at least all they seem to do here is ask for a CV and a very short contact details form, no voided cheques so far. They only get you to do the interviews etc if they have something suitable.

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