A quick comparison of temp agencies in London

Let’s compare the temp agencies London has to offer and see who’s offering the best service.  In particular, I’m going to try and find a temp with digital skills, who can help with my social media and marketing…

And if you’re looking for something similar, feel free to check out our own temps with digital skills:

Find Temps


Founders, trustees and CEOs often tell me that they need a skilled digital creative to come to their office and support on a project.  From troubleshooting computers, to building websites, to designing graphics, sometimes its just easier to meet in person and avoid the hassle of hiring someone remotely. 

They don’t want to recruit a full-time position, and they don’t want to hire a remote freelancer, so where do they go?  Some look for a temporary ‘temp’ worker, often through a temp agency.  This option is an on-demand solution, that can be scaled up or down depending on your need – a huge benefit for small organisations struggling with cashflow.  So I’m going to explore the current agency options out there in London.

Most temp agencies focus on admin, hospitality, or construction, so I think we’ll struggle to find someone with digital skills.  But let’s review what kind of temp options there are anyway, and who knows – we might find a few digital / creative temp agencies!


Top temp agency results

Here’s my top 10 list, based on ease, speed, quality and customer service:

1. Catapult: an streamlined process that booked a candidate within a few minutes, and had friendly customer service.

2. Tempo: a user-friendly interface with great customer service.

3. CV Library: useful for searching multiple CVs, but not a replacement for an agency/platform service


OK, so I’ll admit, having a top 10 list with only three results just doesn’t work.  But I’ve just started this comparison article, and I wanted to publish the results as they come in.  I’ll keep adding new results as I test them.

For now, enjoy walk-throughs for the above agencies…


GO COMPARE…the agencies!

Google to the rescue – here’s the top results for ‘temp agencies London’:

So let’s say we’re looking for someone to come to our office and help with our social media.  Let’s see which companies offer A) super fast and easy job posting and B) access to good value workers.

And again, to be fair, most temp agencies focus on jobs like secretaries or waiters, so we’ll review their general process, rather than their access to digitally-skilled temps.  If they DO have some folks with social media skills, even better!



First up, Tempo, a funky-looking site which really drew me in.  So I filled in the first form:


It took me here:


But I don’t really want to wait for someone to call, so let’s go ahead and post a job…


Looks like I’ll need to re-submit my info here, so first let’s check if they have any temps with digital skills:


Darn.  No worries, let’s fill in the form and check out their temp platform anyway.  A few more details…


Some info about my organisation:


And now I can post my actual job.  It took 10 forms/steps to get here, it only took a minute or two and now they’ve got a solid idea of me and my organisation, which will save time next job.  So, let’s complete the job page:


There are a few things I love about this page.  The large font and buttons make it very easy to input my job information.  There’s also a handy tool that shows me the weekly, monthly and yearly costs based on the hourly rate I submit, to give me a better idea of the ongoing costs of hiring this temp.  Finally, if you get really annoyed with the form, you can always skip it and come back to it later.

The only trouble is that I want to hire someone for a few hours a month, and the precise times may change every week, and I can’t see where I can list that.  Maybe it’s something I can discuss with the temps I’m matched with? Let’s submit and see who we find…


OK, so we already knew they didn’t focus on digital skills, so let’s look for a personal assistant instead, who might actually be able to help with social media posting anyway…


Hmm, still no-one.  Maybe I need to wait for suitable people to get back to me?  Actually, let’s respond to the welcome email and ask for help…


Wow – a super fast response from the co-founder!  No joy with the social media, but top marks for customer service 🙂

Unfortunately, I can’t find any matches right now, so I’ll have the leave the user journey here.  But it’s pretty clear that the next steps involve  A) shortlisting candidates, B) arranging interviews and C) sending job offers.  No doubt there’s also some great tools to manage the job, sort out payment and so forth.  Nice work Tempo!


Conclusion on Tempo

  • Easy-to-use interface to post your temp job.
  • Fast and friendly support.



Next up, Catapult

Look like they’ve got some friendly looking folks, so I’m immediately keen to get started!  Let’s sign up…

I don’t know why it took me so long to find the ‘Create Account’ link, but scroll down and you’ll find it at the bottom.  OK, so let’s create an account…

That was easy, what’s next?

Hmm, I’m pretty sure it’s safe, but I’m a little bit cautious at this point because I haven’t posted a job, connected to anyone, spoken with anyone etc.  But I can understand the thinking, because only customers who are actually interested in hiring someone will take the next step.  So let’s go…

Nice!  I can really easily explain when I need the help.  So what’s the next step?

Ring ring…I immediately get a call from Ed, one of Catapult’s support team.  A very friendly chap who answered all my questions…

-Do you have temps with social media skills?   Yes, just add that requirement to your job post.  Awesome!

-Is there a minimum number of hours for a booking?   Yes, 4 hours.  Cool, that way I can test the idea before deciding to commit to it for larger jobs.

-What’s the cost?  You set your own hourly rate, then you pay Holiday Pay, and Catapult’s fee (20%).  Sounds fair.

So let’s continue with the job posting…

You can choose a kitchen porter, cafe assistant, stock room assistant, waiting staff, sales assistant, formal event staff, promotional staff, or bartender.  I’ve set a 4 hour time slot (9am to 1pm).

So I filled in the details of the job (“Looking for a someone to help with social media etc”) and the dress code (“Anything is fine”) and the location.  I did have to call them to change my address, but the response time was very fast so that was easy.

Great, it’s all done!  And I can cancel up to a day before without cost, just in case plans change.  That was pretty easy.

And now we wait for applicants…

…a few minutes later, it looks like someone’s been booked in:

That was fast!

But I’m glad I checked into the website again because I didn’t get any confirmation via email.  OK, let’s find out a little more about this candidate:

The profile is friendly and professional, and you can see their name, image, mobile number and … a video intro – which is great to give you a quick snapshot of their character.  And if I need to give more info, I can contact them via the messaging system.

At the same time, I was actually expecting to get a number of candidates and then be able to choose from them, so it looks like I don’t get that option.  But on the plus side, this will really speed up hiring.  Ultimately, we’ll have to see whether the candidate they’ve matched me with actually has the skills I needed for the job.  Let’s ask them…

A few hours later, I received these emails:

Nice one!  So after I double checked the original candidate they selected, they proactively went back and found someone suitable.  Folks they deserve a crisp high five!

More to follow…


Catapult Conclusion

  • Super streamlined job posting
  • Very friendly and fast customer service
  • Candidate placed within a few minutes
  • More suitable candidate found and replaced hassle-free


CV Library

This doesn’t look like a temp agency, it’s more like a job board / CV database, so it probably shouldn’t be appearing in the Google results for ‘temp agencies London’, but let’s give CV Library a shot…

Immediately, it’s pretty clear that we’ll need to pay something upfront to be able to use their service.  We’ve got two options – posting a job or searching for CVs.  Let’s start with their free test search:

But first I need a verification code:

OK all done, let’s see the results:

Wow – so already we get quite a lot of value.  They’ve already matched me to 1,735 relevant candidates.  Now let’s view a sample CV:

So I can see what this person looks like, and read a little about their previous positions and responsibilities, so at this point I’ve got a good idea of whether this is the kind of person that I’d want to hire.  Unfortunately, I can’t get in touch with them until I pay.  Let’s ask their team about the pricing…

Someone from their team was able to quickly help with my questions, and immediately sent through a follow up email with all the details.  They did pitch sales to me a couple of times, but it was pretty friendly and I got the info fast.  So…I can view 100 CVs for £240 (one week) or £480 (one month).  Or unlimited CVs f0r £1,560 (6 months) or £2,400 (12 months).

This is a little pricey for me right now, so lets look at their other option – posting a job:

The next step is to pay to post a job:

I’d get a few candidates for a month, but at this point I can’t risk wasting money so I’d prefer to contact the candidate before I pay anything.  All in all, I’d actually prefer to pay another organisation to handle all the paperwork, so from now on, I’ll stick to agencies and platforms.


CV Library Conclusion

  • Fast customer service
  • Looks like a good CV site, but it’s not a replacement for a full-service agency/platform


Next review coming up soon…

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