Make sure you get the best out of your agency experience by making sure you ask these 5 key questions when you attend your registration interview.
If you are registering with an agency to seek temporary work, it’s likely that you will have to either send in your CV or register on their website first. You’ll then be asked to come along to an interview so that they can get you to complete all the legal paperwork as well as checking relevant documents. But remember, the interview is also the perfect time to make sure you get to grips with the answers to these 5 key questions, too.
1 – Is there a charge for your service?
The vast majority of agencies will not expect you (as a candidate) to pay anything for the service they provide. Their remit is to find you employment and the employer will pay any fees relevant to hiring you. So if an agency tells you that you should be paying them for the privilege of letting them find you work, my advice would be to look for another agency. However, there may be small costs involved. These might include your travel expenses for attending an interview and paying for any compliance checks which are relevant to the sector you work in. For example, at Axcis, we recruit staff for schools, so all candidates who register with us need to either have a current DBS check, or be prepared to pay for a new one. Similarly, you’ll have to keep up your subscriptions for professional bodies, unions etc. independently.
2 – Shall I call you, or will you call me?
This is a key question to ask because you may find yourself sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring without realising that the agency is waiting for you to call in and tell them that you’re available at the other end. The result – you don’t end up with any work – not ideal! The interview is an ideal time to seek clarity on the best way forward. Should you call in once a day? Once a week? Once a month? Or will they call you? How long should you wait at home before you remind them that you’re available if they say they’ll call you?
3 – How do timesheets and pay work?
There is nothing more frustrating than getting your first day of work and then realising a week or two later that the pay for it hasn’t gone through. You call the agency, only to be told that they are waiting for you to send your timesheet! It’s therefore of crucial importance that you fully understand what it required of you with regard to timesheets and pay, and that you follow up on this as directed once you start work. Any reputable agency will give you clear guidance on this anyway, but if they don’t, be sure to ask.
4 – What do I do if there is a problem?
If you encounter a problem while out on an assignment, who should you tell? What should you do? Many staff members may automatically defer to the organisation they’ve been placed with for guidance. Although this may be an appropriate course of action, you should usually keep the agency in the loop as well. This is because they may need to take action, or provide you with guidance that you need to follow, so be sure to check on this when you’re having your agency interview.
5 – Is there anything else you need from me before I can start work?
This is a CRUCIAL question! Imagine this scenario – you have taken the time to send in your CV and then to attend a face to face interview with an agency. You’ve completed all the relevant paperwork and you are now sat at home waiting for a call about work. You wait, and wait. Several weeks go by and you think you’d better check in and make sure they know you’re available.. The staff member you speak to says that they can’t send you out for work because they are still waiting for your proof of address! You could have been out working for the last 3 weeks if you had sent this document in so you’re very frustrated – and understandably so! While most agencies will be proactive and will chase you up for outstanding paperwork, it may take time for their vetting process to pick up on it, so be proactive and make sure you know if there is anything stopping you from being called for work before you leave your interview – it could save you time and hassle down the line.
Are you seeking SEND work?
At Axcis, we are always on the lookout for caring people who want to work with children. Whether you’re a qualified teacher, a teaching assistant, care worker or therapist, or simply someone who would be interested in getting into this sector, we’d love to hear from you. Why not take a look at our website or register your details with us to find out more?