Using Recruitement Firms

If you’re moving to a new city it can take a little while to get professional work sorted out. In the meantime, one way to earn money is temporary work through recruitment companies.

Temporary work can be fantastic. It allows you to earn an income without over committing your time as you look for permanent work. Most temp firms offer 7 hour assignments as a minimum, so at least you’re getting a full day’s pay. Also the pay usually starts around $12/hour which is better than retail or minimum wage hospitality.

That being said, in my experience, how useful a recruitment firm is often depends on your relationship with the temp agent.  The better you present yourself in those initial interviews, the more likely the agent will be to remember and recommend you for work. So here are a couple of ways you can optimise the whole recruiter process.

Come Prepared
All of the recruitment interviews I’ve been to required me to bring the same documents (see below). Recruiters typically email you a list of everything you’ll need, but these always come up. I think having them at the interview shows you’re prepared and ready to work, which will help put you at the front of the recruiters mind if a job comes up.

Things to Bring
– 2 pieces of government issued ID (your work permit is a good one to include)
– Bank details
– CV
– Contact details for 2 referees

Use Different Firms
As one recruiter put it, don’t put all your eggs in the one basket. Vancouver is a big place and no one firm has the entire market covered. Most recruiters see themselves as only one component of your job search anyway I.e. they’re there to help but encourage you to talk to other firms and do you own searching (at least for temp work anyway).

Every Test Is The Same
Recruitement firms will want you to do basic computer literacy tests, so they know what your skill set it. Each time, without fail, every single firm I contacted asked me to do the exact same Prove It! online tests. No joke. Sometimes the questions were in a different order, maybe one firm asks you to do the one minute typing test while another asks for the five minute test. But they’re all the exact same. So if you have any problems, or find any sections hard (who uses macros in word documents??), I’d make a note and google it after. At least then your next test result will be better.

Prove It Test
A sample from the Prove It Online Word Test

Prove It Online Test
After a while, you know exactly which style is Table Classic 2

Ask About Full Time Work
As nice as temporary assignments are, at the end of the day most people are looking for stable, full time work in their profession. So don’t be afraid to talk to the recruiter about this in the interview. A good temp recruiter should be asking you anyway, so they can see if see if there are any other opportunities for you with their firm. But it doesn’t hurt for you to do some research yourself, see what the firm specialises in and bring it up in the interview.

The Cream Of The Crop
Finally to get you started, here are a couple of recruitment firms I enjoyed working with:


I found Executrade to be professional, positive, but upfront about how much work they had and what they expected from the next couple of months. I think that’s really important. Because anyone can raise your expectations, but the most common complaint about recruiters is that they don’t deliver.

The staff were pleasant and efficient helping me get through all the paperwork. They didn’t have a lot of work when I spoke to them, but they were honest about it which I respect.

They were organised, efficient and seemed to have a range of different customers.

McNeill Nakamoto
This was one of my favourite firms. They returned my phone calls very quickly, were very helpful and were really good about cross selling my experience to different employers. I’d highly recommend them.