I feel obliged to write a review on Creative Circle since my experience with the agency, contrary to most it seems, has been stellar.
I recently moved to NYC and responded to Creative Circle's posting for a copywriter. I thought I was applying to an actual job in existence with pressing needs, so when I received a phone call from CC for an interview, I was pumped.
Prior to the interview, I did what every diligent job seeker should do and researched the company. I soon realized that CC was a staffing agency and read some horrible reviews. Bummed, I figured it couldn't hurt to brush up on my interview skills. I felt a little misled because there was not a specific job waiting to get snatched up by a eager writer like myself, but again figured it couldn't hurt to have a team of folks shopping my resume around to potential employers. Especially because I only knew a handful of people in the city.
Within two weeks, I had an interview with a legit ad agency. The same day I found out I landed the job--albeit freelance, but with the potential for a more permanent standing with the agency. Beth, my agent, has been a rock star. I found the gals there to be professional (perhaps a little "seize-the-moment,") and really eager to get me working asap.
I'm okay with CC getting a kickback. They did land me the job, after all. And the rate they negotiated for me was spot-on. For those of you considering a rendezvous with CC, or those of you questioning their "perfect" candidate, I'll say this: I'm in my late twenties, have two degrees in writing, and a (early) mid level portfolio. I have freelance and in-house experience, but no agency experience. Most of my portfolio is witty, quirky stuff with lots of personality, but I also have longer, more serious pieces as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they targeted youngish, fresh faces because they are easier to place in transient jobs.
The bottom line: May work for you; may not. I've been pleased so far.