The Red Guide to Temp Agencies


by Angus B. Grieve-Smith

Welcome to the Red Guide to Temp Agencies! This is a guide for anyone who is interested in working for one of New York's temporary agencies. It contains reviews of agencies by men and women who have worked for these agencies, and temps can thus discover which agencies treat their temps well, and which ones pay best.

The seed for the Red guide was placed in my head when I was in college. I was discussing summer jobs with my friend Salim, and he told me his temping strategy. It's expanded on a little more in Register Early and Register Often!, but in essence, he registered with enough agencies that if one agency didn't have work for him (as was often the case in depressed Binghamton, NY) he had a chance of getting work from one of the others.

I spent a year in Chicago, where I temped a little, and when I returned to New York, I looked up a few agencies in the phone book. I had a few interviews, and got no calls. A few weeks later, I talked with my friend Michelle, who was temping, and she suggested an agency which gave me good, well-paying work for several months. I realized that it's very easy to get taken if you don't know what you're doing, and that there's a tremendous amount of knowledge available by word of mouth.

I decided to try and collect this information, and make it available on the Net. What do I get from this? First of all, more information for myself, to get better assignments, better treatment and higher wages. Secondly, the knowledge that I'm helping others in my situation find decent, good-paying work. I'm not being paid by anyone for this, and although I'd accept donations to cover expenses, I don't plan on accepting gifts, bribes or what have you from any agency.

Note that if an agency is not covered, all it means is that I know nothing about it. If there's an agency you'd like to see covered, the best thing to do is try and get work with them, and send in a report. Reviews are always welcomed.

If you are on staff at an agency, the Red Guide Challenge form gives you an opportunity to present your agency to temps. The more completely you fill out the form, the easier it will be for me to make it available.

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