How Do Scientific Staffing Agencies Work?

A scientific staffing agency specializes in matching professionals that work in scientific fields with employers in the industry. The types of positions are not limited to biologist, astronomer, meteorologist, engineer, or physicist. Scientific staffing agencies also work with technicians, lab assistants, research assistants, record clerks, and many other entry-level workers in the science sector.

Scientific staffing agencies work with the employee and the employer to find the right match for both parties. Companies, facilities, and organizations sign up with the agency much in the same way as a potential employee does. The agency meets with a representative of the company to assess its needs. If the agency feels like the company would be an asset, the agency will perform a background check on the company and if it passes, the agency will enter into a contract outlining how and under what terms it will help with the company’s staffing needs.

To sign up with a scientific staffing agency, job seekers must begin by submitting a resume and references. Once the agency has verified an applicant’s employment history and references, he or she will be invited to interview. At this point, the applicant may be asked to take a series of skill tests and sign an authorization for a background check. In most cases, a drug test and credit check may be required as well.

Once the process is complete, the agency will begin searching its database for possible matches. Scientific staffing agencies work with hundreds of employers on a daily basis, so many job seekers end up working multiple temporary assignments before the agency finds a permanent match. Temporary workers typically work assignments that last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. In some cases, these assignments lead to a permanent position.

Whether you’re a temporary worker or the agency places you in a permanent position, you will never have to pay a fee for their services. Salaries and fees are paid by the hiring company, organization, or facility.

How to Locate Scientific Staffing Agencies

It’s perfectly ok to use your favorite search engine to locate scientific staffing agencies, but this shouldn’t be your first choice. If at all possible, obtain a referral from a friend, family member or co-worker. Someone with firsthand experience with any given staffing agency is much better than dealing with an agency blind.

If you cannot find a referral, jot down 5-10 agencies that you find online and start researching. Find out how long they’ve been in business, if they are listed with the Better Business Bureau, and if there are any complaints against the company. You should also make sure the company can be reached by phone, email, and fax—not just email. Make sure the company has a physical address/office as well. If there’s a problem, you should have the option to speak with someone in person.

A reputable company will be more than willing to provide answers to any questions you may have and they are even willing to provide their own references and testimonials for you to check out on your own. Remember, if a staffing agency offers vague answers to your questions or if they request a fee, chances are it’s not an agency you want to do business with.

Handling tough questions at a job interview

If you’re preparing for a job interview, it’s impossible to anticipate all the questions, so on some level it’s more important to be relaxed and be comfortable about discussing your career goals, the potential job and your previous experience. That said, it’s important to prepare. Part of that involves doing research on the company and the prospective job, but you also need to be prepared for the tough interview questions that pop up often in interviews.

Forbes has an article about how to answer the 10 toughest interview questions. They don’t go very in-depth into the answers, but the advice is solid and it’s a good list.

Top College Funding Programs for Military Personnel

There are more than 1.1 million active military personnel in the U.S. today and more than 1 million reserve and National Guard members around the country. Civilian personnel also make up a sizable number of America’s military system with more than 634,185 active employees distributed throughout the four branches of military service—the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Many members of the military will continue their careers within any of the four branches of service, while others will pursue interests outside of the military, such as obtaining a college degree.

One of the biggest benefits of serving in the U.S. military is the opportunity to have most if not all of your college tuition covered. For veterans and current members of the military, the U.S. government has set aside more than $4 billion in education benefits and more than $3 billion in grants. Veterans and current members of the military are almost guaranteed a substantial amount of “free” funding for college, regardless of income, in the form of benefits, grants, and scholarships.

Depending on the program, students may enjoy benefits that cover anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of undergraduate or graduate school expenses. In addition, low-cost student loans are also available to all members and former members of the military.

Programs for Veterans and Current Members of the Military

Because the U.S. military is made up of a diverse group of American citizens and the military is diverse and complex in itself, there are literally hundreds of college financial aid programs to consider. The following are the largest financial aid programs offered by the U.S. government/military. It is important to keep in mind that each of the four branches of military offers its own distinct financial aid programs.

The Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill provides benefits to veterans, service members, and certain dependents of disabled or deceased veterans interested in pursuing a degree or vocational training. The GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits to servicemembers. For post-9/11 veterans, the benefit will cover the full cost of tuition at any public school in the country and a sizable number of private schools. Tuition payments will be paid directly to the school and each student will receive a $1,000 book/supply stipend per year as well as a monthly living stipend. Tuition payments are capped at the cost of the most expensive public school in each state. Please click here for a state-by-state breakdown. To calculate your benefits, click here or visit the GI Bill 2008 website at: http://www.gibill2008.org/.

To apply for the Montgomery GI Bill visit the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to complete and submit your electronic application online or you may call 1-888-GI-BILL (1-888-442-4551) to have the application form mailed to you.

Army ROTC

For individuals interested in earning a college degree and serving as an officer in the Army, Army Reserve, or the Army National Guard, the Army ROTC program is for you. The program is offered at more that 600 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and it is the largest single source of Army officers. Army ROTC scholarships pay up to $20,000 a year for college tuition and education fees or room and board. The student may choose what area he or she would like to use the scholarship award for.

In addition to a maximum $20,000 per year, ROTC students will also receive a tax-free subsistence allowance for up to 10 months each year the scholarship award is in effect. The amount of the subsistence allowance increases as student’s progress through the program. Army ROTC scholarships are based on merit and grades, not on need. So a student may fall into any income bracket and still qualify for a scholarship award. For more information about Army ROTC, visit the official Army ROTC website at: http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/.

Federal Pell Grants

Many forms of financial aid for veterans and military personnel may be combined with the Federal Pell Grant to help cover the costs of college. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Pell Grant Program is the largest grant program offered by the federal government.

U.S. Congress sets the maximum award amount based upon a student’s need analysis and status (full or part-time). For the 2009-2010 academic year, the maximum award is expected to fall somewhere between $4,241-$4,310.

To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, simply fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)

The Veterans Education Assistance Program is a matching program designed to help cover the costs of college tuition and it may also cover the costs for refresher courses for individuals who have been out of school for a while. Enlisted individuals can contribute $25-$100 per month to an educational fund. The Federal government will match the contribution with $2 for every $1 contributed by the service member. The program pays the service member up to 75 percent for undergraduate courses and 90 percent for job-related courses.

How to Work Smarter Not Harder

A lot of people have developed the silly philosophy that to get ahead a person has to work as hard as they can. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with working hard, but working with some intelligence and a plan can do wonders for your success. You can do less physical work, less repetitive work and take up less of your day while you make more money if you plan effectively. You can also make use of systems that will make your work easier, and some systems will even do much of your repetitive work for you.

Making it Smarter

The first step in working smarter is to figure out the point of your work. What are you going to do with a particular day? A lot of people are so stuck on the dogma of doing a bunch of rote tasks in a particular order that they forget why they’re doing them. If you can’t figure out why you do something, try cutting it out entirely for awhile. The important tasks will show their importance if they’re absent for awhile because your work will be hurt without them. Useless tasks and busy work are expendable, and you won’t miss them after awhile.

Using Your Time Well

When you plan, you tend to get more done. Even a simple to do list scribbled on a piece of paper is a great way to put proverbial rockets on your day. The more organized you are the better prepared you’ll be to get your day’s work done faster and easier. While it might be easy to fire up a game of Angry Birds, setting up the latest MetroFax app for the iPhone is a far more effective way to use your time. The new app just released, and will be a big help in working smarter. Considering how many apps are out there you can do a lot without even having to move. Even rush hour traffic can be time productively spent with nothing more than your smart phone.

Use Systems to Your Advantage

Smart phones are great for systematizing almost everything in your day. However, computers are even better about it. You can automate everything from your business expense payments all the way up to your to do list, and you can even automate ordering dinner for those long nights of working. As well, you can make sure your cash flow figures are correct through a site like Mint.com. By that point, you’re working a whole lot smarter and probably not as hard.

Proactive thought and the use of systems can do a lot to make your work day a lot easier. Naturally, these require some thinking, so you have to work smarter. When systems begin to do a lot of the rote work for you it becomes a lot easier to get through your important work. When you know what your important work is you can do it a lot more effectively. The less busy work that clutters your day the more effectively you can accomplish your to do list. It all comes down to doing what you’ve got to do by the end of the day.

Recruiters are Calling, Now What?

Yes recruiters are still out there—and they’re not just working for the Army. Recruiters may work in house for companies in all industries from art to technology or companies may hire them on a “freelance” basis to help recruit fresh talent. There are many different types of recruiters, but some of the most common are corporate recruiters, retained recruiters, and contingency recruiters.

Corporate recruiters are salaried employees that work in house for companies. Their goal is to find and qualify new employees various positions within the organization. In some cases, companies will hire an independent recruiter to help fill positions as needed. These recruiters are called third party recruiters.

Contingency recruiters are just that—recruiters that receive compensation only if their efforts result in a hire. Retained recruiters work mostly for large companies that need to fill executive level positions. These professionals work for the company whenever a high-level position needs to be filled.

Recruiters use a number of techniques to recruit talent. They visit college campuses, attend job fairs, search databases, browse professional networking websites, and they even check social networking websites. They also check company websites in hopes that they’ll come across a bio that matches what they’re looking for and the employee is interested in making a change.

Most recruiters do their best to match the skills to the job, but sometimes, they just miss the boat. If a recruiter contacts you, there are a number of important questions to ask to avoid wasting your time—and theirs. If a recruiter contacts you and asks you to send a resume, ask:

According to Employment Digest:

If a recruiter ever contacts you and asks for a resume before knowing anything about your professional background, don’t send it. Your resume could land in places where you don’t want it to be. A professional recruiter, though he is working for the client company, not you, will want to ensure that you are a “good” candidate.

He will ask questions like:

  • -What are you seeking in a new employer that you don’t currently have available where you are presently working?
  • -Would you consider relocation for the right job, and if so, where?
  • -If you say you would consider relocation, they should also ask about your family situation.
  • -Does your spouse work?
  • -Do you have children still in school? This will help them determine whether you (and your family) will be happy, and stay with the job, if moving is necessary.

A professional recruiter will want to know that she has not only done a good job for the client, but that she also kept your best interests in mind as well.

If you follow these steps, you could very well wind up with a position you’ll be happy with, without the frustration of a wild goose chase.

Hiring a Recruiter on Your Own

Hiring a recruiter on your own can be the difference between wasting precious time for months on end and finding a job in a reasonable amount of time. Recruiting agencies employ thousands of recruiters to help you with your job search and the benefits of taking advantage of their services are beyond impressive. For starters, a recruiter has exposure to the hidden job market and specific industries, and compensation negotiation skills. Recruiters can also help you save time and money by searching for the best possible matches, screening them, and setting up interviews. A recruiter can also help you prepare for a job interview.

Recruiters are free for the job seeker. The hiring company pays as agreed upon fee for the recruiters service, so you really have nothing to lose! To find a recruiting service ask friends, family, and co-workers for referrals first. A second option is an online directory. No matter which option you use, always make sure the agency has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.

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