Best practices for using temp agencies for part-time administrative help?


I know this sounds like a silly question, but... do startups use temp agencies?

We're attending a trade show next week and I'm concerned that our staff won't be able to handle the critical follow-up plan given all the other responsibilities we have. I'm thinking about bringing someone on part-time to ensure the sign-up sheet gets data-entered, basic research is done on each client, and a list of leads/calls/emails is generated that we can act on efficiently.

The problem is, I'm scared of temp agencies. Unfortunately I've also been completely overwhelmed by the volume of unvetted responses to recent Craigslist postings, so I'd like to put some sort of filter between me and the applicants, even if we have to pay more for it.

We've used recruiters in the past and have always felt ripped off. So does anyone have any best practices for hiring temp workers? Any recommendations for the Boston area?


asked Oct 15 '09 at 00:34
Jake Bf
106 points

1 Answer


It's always extremely dangerous to outsource something critical in the early stages of your company. The temp person wouldn't know what is important and wouldn't really care. Are you sure that no one on board today can do the task?

Also, responses from tradeshows shouldn't be overwhelming. Craigslist can be, with all the junk mail flying around, but not tradeshows.

My advice would be wait and see if you are really submerged with work from the tradeshow, and only then, get a temp to clean it up.

Don't spend the money unless you absolutely have to.

answered Oct 15 '09 at 06:26
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • +1 on the "dangerous to outsource critical" - couldn't have said it better myself – Alex Papadimoulis 14 years ago
  • I absolutely agree on the danger of outsourcing critical operations, and we're certainly not talking about that. This is stuff I would normally do that I think can be done pretty well by a competent outsider. I'm coming from the perspective of having the exact same reservations as the two of you. While our business isn't new (several years old) it is small (less than 10 staff) so resources are pretty stretched. Every time we do a show like this we get 50-100 new leads that need to be sorted, prioritized and handled, which is super daunting. – Jake Bf 14 years ago

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