Working with Staffing Firms: A Guide for Grads

This post was authored by Logan Spillane, Recruiter, LABUR Consultingpexels-photo-29594 The staffing industry can get a bad rap among job seekers-from making false promises, to not communicating with candidates. While certain criticisms may hold true with some firms, it is not by any means an indictment of the entire industry as a whole. In fact, a good agency can help job seekers discover a great job and open new doors on their way to the career they have always wanted.

In order to navigate a saturated and sometimes overwhelming field of companies, it is helpful to have some tips to make the process easier.

  • Should you pay a fee?

Never. There is no guarantee that paying an agency a fee will get you a job.

  • How do I know when I have a good recruiter?

I believe there are a couple of different signs of a good recruiter. First and foremost, a good recruiter will keep your interests and goals in mind, and won’t just send you the next job they have. Rather, they will send you positions that align with what you are looking to do, and help your career. Second, a good recruiter will be transparent, honest and give you the information that you, as a candidate deserve to know. One of the biggest reasons people give me for not wanting to work with an agency is the fact that they have had an experience where a firm has been dishonest and misled them. A good recruiter won’t feed you misinformation on things like the pay rate, contract status, actual job responsibilities, etc., and will give you the true facts on each opportunity.

  • How should I vet recruiters to find the right one?

My biggest piece of advice on vetting recruiters to find the right one is to talk to and meet with many of them, and see who can provide you with the best service not just in terms of a job, but also in personalizing your experience, getting to know you as a person, and being upfront and honest. It will take some time, but it will allow you to find the right recruiter and will help ensure that you do not end up getting burned. See what each company has to offer, ask a lot of questions (ex. on the agency, the areas they focus on, the jobs they see, the process, etc.) and pick the one or two recruiters that will focus on you not only as a candidate, but as a person because at the end of the day it’s your career. LinkedIn recommendations, GlassDoor, and other career websites can also serve as a valuable tool in finding a good recruiter. Finally, asking friends and family about firms they would recommend can be a valuable asset in finding a good recruiter.

  • How do I identify recruiters?

Northeastern’s career website has a good list to go off to start with. Additionally, running a Google search on staffing firms in your area can also be another route. However, I would recommend taking 10 minutes to read through each company’s website to see what they are all about and how they can best serve you and your career.  Also, be sure to check out his/her LinkedIn profile—look for recommendations, and also for anyone you know who knows that recruiter and consider reaching out to obtain any feedback you can…or maybe even a soft reach out from your common contact to the recruiter of interest. The recruiter can then also have that informal recommendation from someone they know about you!

  • Will I receive help preparing for the interview? Help with Salary Negotiation?

A good agency will always help prep candidates for every interview they go on-whether they are just out of school or an experienced professional. In many cases, they may also help prep you for the salary negotiation. For someone just out of school, it is especially helpful to have someone providing them with tips and assistance on their way to nailing the interview and getting the job!

LABUR Consulting is a staff augmentation firm based in Boston that specializes in the tech and finance industries. You can learn more about us at


My Marine Corps Adventure at Quantico

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I’ll admit it – I was skeptical going into my week in Quantico, VA for a Marine Corps Educators’ Workshop. I wondered how intense the week of orientation would be and I wondered just how many job options there really were in the Marine Corps.

After my week in Quantico, I thought I’d share a few things I learned and some of the coolest things I’ve done.

-There are 40 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) job fields available within the Marine Corps including logistics, engineering, public affairs, financial management, and communications.

-Joining the Marine Corps doesn’t automatically put you on the front lines – there are different ways to serve in the Marines – as an Enlisted Marine or as a Marine officer, leading your enlisted peers.

-The average age of a Marine is 23 and most enlist for a standard time of 4 years

-Tuition assistance is available for graduate study and/or professional programs

-There is an opportunity to be stationed in over 100 different countries

-Core values and skill sets (which many employers seek) include commitment; leadership; critical thinking skills; and decision-making

-You could start applying to the Marine Corps already – The Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) is a 10 week paid training session for rising seniors which lets you focus on studies senior year and then post-graduation, you become a Second Lieutenant


Coolest things I experienced with the Marine Corps:

-Completed a simulated ‘mission’ into the woods of Quantico holding a fake (but heavy) weapon, wearing a Kevlar helmet

-Rode in an Osprey helicopter with the back ramp open while practicing evasive maneuvers

-Won a fight with padded Pugil sticks (essentially, big Q-tips used in combat) – see below photo

-Did the Leadership Reaction Course (think American Ninja Warrior obstacles) and climb up a tree and across a branch 8 feet high

-Was awestruck by the precision and skill of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performing in front of the 32-foot tall Marine Corps War Memorial statue

Want to learn more about the Marine Corps? Stop by the Snell Library Courtyard between 11am-3pm to take the Marine Corps Collegiate Challenge!


Melissa Croteau is an Assistant Director of Employer Relations at Northeastern University. When she isn’t training with the Marine Corps or flying in an Osprey Helicopter, you can find her singing her heart out with the Boston Pops and the Metropolitan Chorale! Tweet at her about the Marine Corps @CareerCoachNU


Our 5 Favorite (fun) Job Search and Career Sites

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With graduation over and summer beginning, it’s time for you recent grads (if you haven’t already) to begin turning your thoughts to getting that full-time job. Alumni looking for a new job and for rising seniors trying to get a jumpstart on the job search should also pay attention.  Here are the top five entertaining and informative job search blogs that can be a great resource for those embarking on the full-time job search.

  • The Muse: The Muse is a fantastic website that not only offers a blog that helps answer any career-related and job search questions, but also offers a robust job board, and a chance to look inside company offices before applying. Be sure to check out the free online classes section that can help you to learn new job skills that will enhance your resume.
  • Ask A Manager: The writer of the blog, Alison Greene, is a former chief of staff and consultant, and has successfully written a few well-received job search books. Alison’s pithy, hilariously sarcastic and blunt opinions about oddities and awkward occurrences in the workplace or on the job search are extremely entertaining to read and can give you great information as to how to navigate these situations should they happen to you.
  • Careerealism: Both job seekers and employers frequent Careerealism–it not only offers a blog with great career advice, but offers an area for employers to showcase their brand, share their story and discover great talent. By subscribing to Careerealism, job seekers can also access LinkedIn lab tutorials, Interview Prep tools, checklists and assessments.
  • Brazen Careerist: Brazen Careerist is a career networking site for ambitious young professionals, as it powers real-time online events for organizations around the world. Their interactive platform, Brazen Connect, is used by companies, professional associations and universities to expand how they recruit and connect with potential employees.  They also have a pretty great blog related to the job search that job seekers can subscribe to as well.
  • Undercover Recruiter: This blog is focused solely on career development processes and the job search. Topics for blog posts include: career management, interview tips, job search, tips and tricks from recruiters, resume & CV writing, and how to use social media in the job search.

So pick you poison and use these helpful sites to get cracking on that job search!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career.