Is an Interview with a Staffing Firm a ‘Real’ Interview?

During my 20+ years in the staffing business, I’ve experienced some curious things:  I’ve seen my share of purely written and extremely long resumes, awkward behavior, inappropriate attire, and more than a fair share of unrealistic expectations on behalf of both job seekers and employers. Some of these have been isolated incidents, but others seem to persist into patterns and trends. Recently, I’ve noticed a common job-seeker misunderstanding related to the role of the staffing firm in the hiring process.

Job seekers, allow me to emphatically clear this up once and for all: YES An interview with a staffing firm IS a real interview.

The staffing firm acts as a gatekeeper, protecting the interests of a client company and screening potential candidates so the company can save time and resources. Whether the interview is via phone, or in person, you need to know that the application process has already begun.  The staffing firms’ recruiter is on your side, but we’re also working to connect clients with the candidates most likely to shine. So remember, all the interview rules apply: Bring your best self. Speak clearly, honestly, & concisely.  Dress to impress. Leave your coffee cup behind.  And by all means, get rid of the gum.

Don’t save your confident eye contact, straight posture and firm handshake for another occasion. Use them now. In fact, use them all the time. These things are all part of your personal brand, and you’re likely to get more out of the job search process, and out of life, if you recognize that you’re almost always being observed and measured.

We can help you find a job you love, but you’ll need to help yourself first:

  • If the interview is in person: So don’t slouch. Show up for your staffing firm interview five minutes early. Wear neat, professional clothes that suit the occasion, and remember your manners. If you’re offered a seat, take it. Smile when you enter a room.  
  • If the interview is on the phone:  Be sure to speak very clearly, and slowly to make sure the interviewer understands you well. Make sure that when you take the call, you are someplace quiet, where you can concentrate on the conversation and the questions they have for you.  Do not be ‘driving’ you don’t want to take a chance of the call being dropped/lost.  Ideally use a land line, not a cell phone.

And don’t forget that every person you meet (in person or via phone) represents a new contact and a valuable opportunity. Your next great job may be right around the corner. Don’t misunderstand the process and let simple mistakes stand in your way.


About Chris

Working for the past 20 years, as an executive recruiter in the technology, as well as accounting & finance field. Clients have included many of the Fortune 100 as well as many smaller privately owned companies, searching for, and working with the full range of candidates from Clerical through CFO/CIO level. Learn more at:
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