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How Does Temp to Hire Work? Benefits, Concerns, & More

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer

Whether you’re just starting out your career or are looking for the next opportunity, the job market has never been more burgeoning with opportunities. From flexible work options and freelancing gigs to seasonal and temp-to-hire work, people today are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding engaging and fulfilling work. 

Temp-to-hire, in particular, has been on the rise as people are looking to change careers or try out a different line of work. In fact, temp work has grown by 75% between 2008 to 2018, and keeps a steady annual growth of 6.2% (which is triple the 2% growth rate of all other employment). 

So, how does temp to hire work? And how do you know if this is the right option for you? Here we look at the benefits of temp-to-hire jobs both for employees and employers, and how you can make the most of it to supercharge your career.

What is Temp-to-Hire?

Temp-to-hire working arrangements are when a company uses a staffing agency to hire an individual to work on a specific assignment or project for a limited amount of time. According to the American Staffing Association, the average tenure for temp employment is 10.1 weeks. However, temp-to-hire roles tend to last slightly longer.

Temp-to-hire jobs are pretty common in the hospitality and manufacturing industries, even though there’s an increasing number of office roles in customer service, administration and media that fall in the temp-to-hire bracket.  

Difference between Temp-to-Hire & Temporary Jobs

While temp-to-hire and temporary jobs sound quite similar, there are some differences you should be aware of. Temporary jobs are typically associated with seasonal employment. This is when a company might have an increase in business activity and may need more support. A typical example would be retail stores during Christmas or a hotel during summer time. 

In contrast, temp-to-hire is a time bound role, which could lead to a permanent job offer. During this period, a staffing agency hires you, and you decide whether you want to

  1. Hop between different temp-to-hire jobs (if that’s your preference) or
  2. Use the temp-to-hire period as a stepping stone towards a more permanent role

In a sense, the temp-to-hire period can serve as an extension of your interviewing period. Your employer evaluates your skill set, and you assess whether you fit in the company’s culture before making any long-term commitments.

How Does Temp-to-Hire Work?

Staffing agencies fill temp-to-hire positions, which usually last between three to six months. At the end of this period, the client (or your prospective employer) can decide to either end the contract, extend it for another limited period of time or propose/accept a permanent position. 

If the contract is extended, you’d still be hired by the staffing agency and render services for their client. If, however, the client offers a permanent position, then you become a newly minted employee. As an employee, you would be eligible for healthcare, along with other company perks and benefits.

The Benefits of Temp-to-Hire Model

The temp-to-hire model tends to be beneficial for both employers and employees. Here’s how.

Employer Perspective

A business may be experiencing a time where its current employees are occupied – maternity leave, unexpected workloads, illness, etc. Then temp-to-hire becomes a great option because the business likely

  1. Doesn’t have the means to commit to full-time employment and/or
  2. Doesn’t need a full-time employee at that moment.

That said, temp-to-hire is also excellent for scouting new talent. Instead of relying solely on an extensive hiring and interview process, companies can use the temp-to-hire option to test potential candidates. In this case, temp-to-hire serves as a probationary period. Since the time commitment is pretty short, the hiring process moves along much faster.

Employee Perspective

Temp-to-hire is an excellent option for individuals as well because workers are given an opportunity to

  • try out different types of jobs
  • learn more about different industries
  • build a thriving professional network

If you’re the type of person who prefers diversity and flexibility in your work, you can choose temp-to-hire to be your main type of employment. This way, you’ll be in control of your holidays, time off, and what projects you choose to work on.

A Few Concerns for the Employer

The turnover rate for full-time employees sits at about 4% (including quits, layoffs and discharges). That’s not too bad right? Well, statistics show that the temporary staffing rate for 2021 sat at around 443%.

This is somewhat expected as not all temporary jobs transition into full employment. However, these stats highlight some of the core concerns employers have over temporary workers. For one, temp-to-hires work alongside full time employees. Therefore, temp-to-hires understand that there’s no guarantee for a permanent job. Additionally, they’re less likely to qualify for company benefits. This can cause a feeling of resentment and frustration, which negatively impacts their productivity. 

Another concern is their level of commitment. If a temp-to-hire knows that they’d be gone in a few months, there’s little incentive to put their best foot forward and really commit to the job at hand. If companies rely heavily on temp-to-hires to run their business, this can seriously impact business performance. 

Finally, there’s the direct and indirect cost element. While hiring full-time employees is more costly at the outset, they tend to stay much longer. Therefore, the return on investment can be much higher than hiring a temp-to-hire. Temporary workers still need to be recruited, trained and managed. With no guarantee that the temp will stick around, these could be losing money.

As an Employee, How to Make Your Temp Job Permanent?

Thriving businesses are always on the look-out for talent. If you’ve been hired as a temp-to-hire, they may very well be considering you for a full time position. Even if they’re not looking to hire full time employees, leaving a good impression can open doors you didn’t even know exist. 

So, here are a few best practices to observe when working as a temp-to-hire:

Treat It as a Full-Time Job

Just because this is a three-month gig, you shouldn’t treat it any differently than a full-time job. Being punctual, accountable and reliable is an absolute must. Use your first few days to learn as much as possible about the business and how you could be of best use. Then get to know your colleagues and offer a helping hand when needed. This will not only grow your network, but it will put you in the best possible position when the company decides to hire someone full-time.

Go Beyond the Job Description

Job descriptions are never perfect. By the time the company has hired you, the internal needs of the team and the business have already evolved (also known as scope creep). Instead of falling into a routine, look out for process inefficiencies or workflows that the business could perhaps improve. Share your thoughts with the team and your manager to put things into motion. Likewise, offer to take on extra responsibility when possible.

Immerse Yourself in the Corporate Culture

If you behave as a temp, they’ll treat you as a temp. Instead, embrace the corporate culture of the business by following their dress code and mingling with employees as much as possible. Attend social events and go to staff lunches or game nights. This is a prime opportunity to learn more about the company and make allies with people who can vouch for you should a full-time position become available.

It’s a Win-Win

In today’s labor market where remote work makes for endless work opportunities, temp-to-hire sounds like an excellent chance to gain experience, learn about an industry and grow your professional network. 

For employers, it’s a great way to discover extraordinary talent without investing thousands in recruitment expenses. So, are you ready to get started?

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