How To Make That Temp Job a Permanent One!

By Joe Stein

Western New York has always had a number of successful temporary agencies matching workers with employers who have open positions. This challenging economy has made that connection even more important for Job Seekers, since more employers than ever appear to be going the temporary employee route. This is creating a scenario where often temporary employment agencies have the inside track on positions within some of the preferred employers in WNY.
 
There are a number of reasons for an employer to hire a temporary employee. The most obvious is that the position is only for a defined short period of time. There are other situations, however, that may result in a temporary employee being needed, such as wanting to “try out” the employee first, or being hesitant to make an immediate full commitment to the person due to the economy. The holiday season can also be a time when considerable temporary associates are needed to assist with spikes in ordering or to cover for vacations. 
 
The pages of WNYJOBS.com contain a number of advertisements from the leading agencies in the area, seeking associates for temporary assignments. In a number of these situations, the individual placed in the temporary job has the ability to make the position “permanent” (in today’s world, no employment is truly “permanent”).
 
Let’s examine how a qualified and hard-working temporary employee can become hired by the company they are currently working for:
 
 
·         Target Roles – Consider focusing your discussions with temporary agencies on positions that will teach you some type of new skill. This may be a new piece of machinery, or a software program you are unfamiliar with. An employer may decide to hire you instead of training a new person. If they do not, you have learned something that will assist you in your next job search.
 
·         Do Your Homework - Make sure that your assigned employer is someone who will consider a temporary employee for a hired position. Before accepting a position, be sure to find out if the position is purely temporary or if the employer intends to hire onto their payroll. There is nothing wrong with asking your agency recruiter what the hiring practices towards temporaries are by the employer. Also consider how easy or difficult the employment agency makes it for an employer to hire the temporary. Are there hiring fees involved? Is there a prohibitive waiting period? In order to be hired by an employer, you need to place yourself in a position in which to be hired. Employers that have a track record of hiring temporaries have the preferred mind-set. There is nothing wrong with accepting a purely temporary position as long as you realize that once the assignment is over, you most likely won’t be hired.
 
·         Have the right mind-set! -  Employers value temporaries that need a minimal learning curve and perform at an acceptable productivity level quickly. Your goal should be to exceed their established expectations. Benchmark yourself to what is the level expected of a regular employee.  If the expectation for a temporary is lower (and it usually is), then attempt to exceed the employer’s regular employee expectations.   Keep in mind that most likely the on-site supervisor has experienced temporary employees that have not lived up to their meager expectations. Your “can-do” attitude will be a refreshing change for any on-site supervisor. To display your commitment, consider closing your workday by asking your supervisor if they need anything else before you leave.
 
·         Make Personal Connections – For many temporaries, it is tempting to keep to yourself and not reach out to co-workers due to the different employment status. This may be due to the potentially limited time for the job, or just because you feel awkward due to being the “temp”. Don’t let that stop you from reaching out to others.  Try to join any after-work activities. Learn first names and a bit about your co-workers (and let them learn some about you).  It will most likely cause you to enjoy the assignment more, and provide you with potential advocates when the employer is deciding whether to hire you.
 
·         Dress the Part - Blend in with your co-workers regarding such aspects as the dress code. Don’t just find out the dress code prior to starting the assignment, but rather find out what others are wearing and find acceptable. Consider the length of your temporary assignment as one long interview, where each day you will be evaluated. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you are a temporary, you can dress more casually than others.
 
·         Be a Team Player - Volunteer whenever possible to assist, whether that would be in doing more within your job or helping co-workers. A co-worker can play a big role in endorsing a temporary associate for a hired position. Co-workers are more likely to endorse the team player that stays busy, exceeds expectations, and volunteers to help them when they need it, rather than someone who does not go the extra mile. As mentioned earlier, just as on-site supervisors often have reduced expectations, so do co-workers. A temporary associate coming into a role and performing well along with assisting others will quickly make points and friends amongst the staff, along with your supervisor.
 
·         Attendance is Crucial – You will most likely be watched very closely on this category, as most employers expect impeccable attendance out of the temporary employees. Keep in mind that you probably were placed due to a crucial, immediate labor need. Your absence severely reduced the value you provide to the company. Besides the absences, don’t forget the tardies…come to work on time!
 
·         Promote Yourself – Be sure to do it in a positive way. Let everyone know that you consider this a preferred employer. Let your supervisor know you would like to be considered for future opportunities. Request time with both your agency and your on-site supervisor to discuss your performance. This will give you time to validate your performance, promote your success, and discuss your future. A key, however, will be to not push it. Don’t let your promotion become a nuisance item.
 
 
A temporary position can be a wonderful opportunity to show a prospective employer that you are the right person to hire. Use your placement as a “foot in the door” and impress your supervisor and co-workers with your performance and dedication. You may just find that your effort results in a permanent job offer.
 

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

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