When I graduated from college less than a year ago, I had no idea how to embark on what was next — finding a job. Although I knew next to nothing about the staffing world, a staffing firm ended up being the entry point into the working world that I didn’t know I needed.

One of the most frustrating parts of job searching for me was just how impersonal it was. A staffing firm changed that for me. They added a face and a relationship to the process, helping me think through my strengths and preferences, and eventually matching me to a role that was a fit for everyone involved. That’s the short story — the ending that wasn’t a given.

During my job search, I had interactions with two different staffing firms: one that was just as impersonal as an online job search, and one that ultimately helped me land the job I have today. The difference between them was not the opportunities they had to offer, but the way that they treated me throughout the process.

Just a body. The first staffing firm I encountered called me one morning after seeing my résumé online. Although I was interested in the position they were offering, I had questions and concerns about how it would feed into my long-term goals. But it was very clear from the beginning that the recruiter had little interest in who I was or what I wanted. I was simply a task for him to cross off his list. He avoided giving me a full description of the job, simply urging me to accept before it was too late. He repeatedly told me that this opportunity would help me achieve all of my goals, without stopping to listen to what my goals even were. He also called me every morning at 6 a.m., which made it clear to me that my needs and even my time zone were secondary to his agenda.

This struck me as a missed opportunity for everyone. If I had felt that the recruiter was being transparent with me about the details of the job and was willing to discuss my concerns, I would have considered the position more seriously. But jobs are not one-size-fits-all, and the way the recruiter treated me directly influenced how I perceived the job he presented, so I said goodbye to his wake-up calls and moved on.

True respect. The next staffing firm I worked with was completely different.

The first thing they did was schedule a Skype call with me to learn about my background, interests and goals. The recruiter asked good questions, listened well and helped me think through the things that I didn’t readily have answers for. From the beginning of this relationship, I felt that I was more than something to be crossed off her list.

Not only did this firm listen, but they seemed to understand who I was and what I was looking for. My recruiter knew that I wanted to get experience in different areas, so she picked some short-term assignments, letting me see the inside of some workplaces. She checked in with me often to see how I was liking a position, and helped me think through my likes and dislikes to identify positions that might be a better fit.

They were also willing to adjust. During one assignment, my recruiter gave me a call and said that she thought she had something better for me. She worked with me to phase out of the short-term assignment that I was on and move into the temp-to-perm position that she thought would be a better fit for everyone. Turns out she was right. Thanks to that staffing firm, I accepted that full-time position and couldn’t be happier.

Staffing firms have the ability to use their knowledge of the industry to help new college graduates like me find a place in the workforce. But we are not all the same — the individual and personal treatment that I received from the right agency empowered me to find a place where I really wanted to be.