5 Do’s and Don’ts of your First Interview at a Staffing Agency

By Sarah Ash

Our 5 do’s and don’ts for your first interview with a Staffing Agency. Keep in mind that most often you will meet with a Recruiter or Staffing Specialist for about 20- 30 min.


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Working with a staffing agency can be a great way to get access to jobs that you might not see on a normal job board at your school or local community center. Even better, working with a recruiter can also be a valuable way to land a job that becomes more than just a paycheck- but a career. This is because Recruiters are trained to understand what your strengths and interests are- and help match you to companies that will fit support those things now and into the future.

DO research the staffing firm before you go.

  • If they have a website, it’s a good idea to explore it and click on all the different pages. Do they have page that shows all their open jobs? If so, be proactive and make a list of a few you are interested in, so you can ask the recruiter about them at your interview.

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Don’t expect every agency has a certain type of job you’re looking for.

  • The Department of Labor Statistics organizes jobs into 10 different categories or industries.
  • The world of staffing is so big, that some agencies actually specialize in two, or sometimes, even just one industry. Make sure you don’t waste any of your valuable job-hunting time by interviewing somewhere that, for example, doesn’t have any service positions.  If you’re determined to be a certain industry, look for a staffing industry that specializes in that.

Do understand drug testing and background testing policies.

  • Working with an employment agency means that your next job truly is a partnership.
  • The agency has access to the jobs they do because clients trust them to send candidates that are as close to what the client needs as possible.
  • Many clients have expectations when it comes to the ability of a candidate to pass a drug and/or background test, and the staffing agency can’t always send you to an employer if you are not able to clear these tests.  If you’re not sure about the policies- look on the staffing agencies website or call before your interview to ask.

Don’t be afraid to be honest about any of the above.

At the end of the day- honesty really is the best policy. If you do have a background- let the recruiter know about it. The recruiter is only focused on finding you work, not on passing judgement.

And remember that being prepared to pass a drug test the second you sit down for an interview with a recruiter helps keep the most options open for you.

Do treat it like a job interview, show up on time and well dressed.

  •  Making a great impression on your recruiter helps keep you at the top of their candidate list and on the top of their mind, especially because recruiters sometimes meet with dozens of candidates a day.
  • Keep it simple: show up on time or even 5 minutes early, dress up a little, and be polite and courteous with everyone you interact with at the office.


Don’t forget to stay in touch with your recruiter after the initial interview- but don’t overdue it either.

  •  Recruiters usually keep notes on each candidate they meet with, so they can remember them when a job comes up that they think the candidate would be a good fit for.
  • When you continue to reach out the recruiter often makes a note of it, and your profile as a candidate will benefit. But it’s almost more important to make sure you do not overdue it. It can come across as aggressive or needy if you cross over the boundary of acceptable follow up.
  • What is the boundary? That’s a great question to ask your recruiter before you leave your interview Try asking: When can I expect to hear from you? Or, “When would you like to me reach out again?

Do think about what kind of job you want next.

  • You don’t have to have your whole future mapped out- but make sure you can give at least 3 types of specific jobs you can see yourself in for at least the next 6 months to a year.
  • Need help narrowing in on jobs that fit your interests? There are tons of great resources online that can help you find potential jobs you might like. A great place to start is by goggling things like personality tests and/or career tests.


Don’t forget to talk about your values and what makes you thrive at work- but again don’t overdue it.

Come up with 5 things you care most about in a boss. Is it important that they are inspiring? Do they need to be a good listener? Is it more important to you that they are clear about expectations versus letting you be independent? Take your list and expand it to the company. It’s also ok to mention the “why” behind your job search, such as the ability to provide for your family or put more money towards a debt- but make sure you keep it brief. If you go into too much depth about personal things, it can come off as unprofessional and make the recruiter feel like you are trying to get them to place you because they feel sorry for you. You want to take pride in your new job, because you’ve earned it!


Do treat everyone you encounter with respect.

  •  A great way demonstrate respect for the client, the agency, and even for yourself is to show up on time and ready to work for all of your scheduled shifts. But people notice when you the extra mile and act polite and courteous towards each of the people you meet along the way.
  • Even the receptionist at the staffing agency will notice if you are polite or rude- they might not be the one placing you but they will take note when you make a good impression by being polite.


Don’t do anything that could damage your ability to work with the agency or the client.

  • This is simple- treat others the way you want to be treated. This means things like being honest, safe, and responsible when you’re on the clock.
  • Stay in contact with your recruiter so that you can build a relationship of trust with them in case something negative ever happens during your placement.

Ready to put some of these into practice? Schedule an appointment with one of our Staffing Specialist’s here.  We can’t wait to meet you!