The Red Guide to Temp Agencies

Review of Distinctive Temporaries

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60 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
212 986-5805

212 986-3027

Total time with agency:

Wait for first assignment:
3 Days

Average wait between assignments:

Last five jobs:
Job Title Length Client Hourly Wage Typical of agency?

Tests given:
Word, Excel, Typing test

Payroll policies:
On-site time sheet pickup:
Direct deposit of payroll checks: Y
Free check cashing at agency's bank: Y

Medical insurance: Y
Dental insurance:
Paid vacation:
Transportation allowance:
Entertainment allowance:
Matching contributions:

After I first applied to Distinctive, I had to bug them for about a week for the first assignment - it was a one-off data entry job at a few dollars less than I requested. I eagerly accepted because I needed the money and after that they kept me working steadily for a good 5 months.. generally at the requested wage. Occasionally I'd have a week off here and there but for the most part kept working steadily. So in that respect, they DID find me a lot of work. Lisa, who seems to be the second in command, was always friendly and polite. Once I showed up a few minutes after 5pm to pick up my paycheck and she actually ran back and unlocked the office to get it for me. Quite nice. On the other hand, the agency is not run very well, the rest of the staff are dense and I have no idea how they keep their records. While on assignment I'd receive several frantic calls a day to see if I was available to work. Confused, I'd return the call that night wondering if they wanted me to switch assignments only to be told "Oh, ok, just stay there, then. Never mind." This would happen all the time. Timesheets were to be faxed in on Wednesday and I did so for 5 months until one day I was suddenly told "Well you had to have them in by Tuesday, sorry.." Huh? No signs at the office or any kind of notification of this. I asked when this had changed and they told me "It's been like this for the last two months! Remember, we told you we'd let you send them in late because you're working at ****." But I wasn't working at ****, had never been there, and told them so. "Oh, okay.. well try to get them in by Tuesday from now on." Possibly the worst example of this ignorance was the boss, Gus - I'd be between assignments and calling in twice every day only to be told "If we have anything for you, we'll call you. We're looking." After a few days of this Gus would call with a job acting as if I'd been gone for months, saying things like "Well, where were you - what have you been doing?? You didn't want to work or what??" I'd tell him that I'd been sitting by the phone all week and calling them twice a day but apparently it would make no difference. Several times I was confronted by an angry Gus for problems at an assignment I was never on, jobs I had never even heard of... when he'd finally figure out he was talking to the wrong worker his attitude wouldn't change at all. Things like this started happening more and more often and it does get stressful and annoying after awhile. Once when pitching me a job he told me the client was "on the other line with another temp agency" and kept encouraging me to lower my price. Nice try. I didn't care because I needed the work so lowered my hourly to $13.00 which he accepted. While on that assignment I opened an invoice from them and noticed Distinctive were billing the client $21.00 per hour for my services. Upon successful completion of, say, six week assignments I'd call in and Gus would act amazed that they had to find a new job for me. He found me a (quite generously paying) permanent position, which was nice, but I really wasn't looking for permanent work, and told him so. The next assignment was my last. So there you have it.



Tue Jun 5 17:03:02 GMT 2001

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The Red Guide to Temp Agencies is copyright 1994-2004 by Angus B. Grieve-Smith.
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