How to Determine the Potential of a Temporary-to-Hire Position

Temp-to-hire (or temp-to-perm, as they are sometimes known) are becoming very popular with employers. They provide many benefits to job hunters, but, in many ways, they’re viewed skeptically by a large portion of these job hunters. The are several reasons (for both sides).

Employers see temp-to-perm jobs as great ways to effectively see if 1) there is a need for a full-time resource and 2) the candidate would be a good fit – in terms of both skills and the ability to “play nicely in the sandbox” (i.e. cultural fit).

Job candidates can use temp-to-hire jobs as opportunities to:

  • Earn a paycheck. In temporary employment, pay varies widely, depending on the type of job ― from $10.78 for production workers to $34.35 for registered nurses to $47.20 for certain types of software developers (Source, BLS).
  • Get their “foot in the door.” If you feel that you need to make a career change, a temporary-to-hire assignment will let your try out a new career and decide if it is something you really want to do. Today’s economy is one of transition. Technology is making many of the jobs our parents had obsolete. Therefore, workers need to remain vigilant; they need to learn how to transition and enhance their skills in order to work in new jobs. A temp-to-hire position can be a perfect solution for that.

But many job seekers are hesitant to accept a temporary-to-hire position. They are concerned that the job might not convert to full-time employment, and they will have wasted their time on an opportunity that went nowhere.

Well, there is no guarantee that a temporary position will convert to full time employment. Heck, there are no guarantees in life. But, the good news is that there are steps you can take – before and during the job assignment – to help you determine the long-term potential of a particular job.

Before the job assignment, you should find out:

  • How often these temp-to-hire positions convert at a particular company. A great resource is your staffing firm recruiter. Conversion rates can range widely, but recruiters who are very good at matching candidates with workplaces report conversion rates as high at 75%.
  • What the conversion timeframe has been. They are usually advertised as 90 days, but is not what really happens sometimes. Some temporary positions actually convert sooner, and some are extended indefinitely. There is really no way to tell, but knowing what has historically happened at a company will help you gauge your experience and know what signs to look out for.
  • If the person you are replacing was a full-time employee. Now this does not mean that a new position or one that recently vacated by a temp is a dead-end. The position could still be awesome. New positions are created all the time ― especially by growing companies ― and people leave jobs all the time. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people today will hold up to 11 jobs from the age of 18 to 44.

Before the job assignment, you are simply gathering information, in much the same way you would for any job opportunity. When the opportunity is a temporary-to-hire position, there are just a couple more questions you need to ask.

While on the job assignment, you should pay attention to:

  • The amount of work you have on a daily basis. Many companies use temp –to-perm positions as a way to gauge whether there is enough work to warrant a full-time position. Therefore, busy days are good. Lots of downtime and long gaps between assignments are not. However, this is not grounds for immediately abandoning ship. Instead look for ways to add value. If there is a job that is not getting done, could you offer your services? Many temp workers have carved out their own job through their willingness to learn new skills and take on additional responsibilities. Playing on your phone, while waiting around for someone to hand you some work, is not going to help convert a job from temporary to permanent.
  • How your co-workers treat you. Now, this does not necessarily mean that you will be invited to team outings or kick-off meetings or planning sessions. There are co-employment issues that both your staffing firm and the company have to pay attention to. But if you co-workers are willing to teach you new things, assign you new tasks, seek out your opinion and/or assistance, then the chances are good you are being viewed as a colleague vs. just a transient worker.
  • The little things. For example, do you notice a lot of names that no longer with the company? If you work in an office, is the online foldering or offline filing system in disarray? If you work in an industrial or manufacturing location, is your workspace missing basic tools and equipment? Have you noticed that things seem to take exponentially long to get done, and no one is quite sure of the process? All of these could point to a revolving door of employees and/or temporary workers, who all take tribal knowledge with them, leaving the rest of the employee unsure of what to do.

Knowing how to read the signs give you what you need to accept a full-time position if it does convert OR when the time has come to look elsewhere.

However, if the assignment does come to an end, remember (again) that everything happens for a reason. That was simply not the job you were meant to have. No one wants a position that is not a good fit. Eventually bad-fitting jobs turn into straightjackets, and that is no way to spend 8 hours of your day.

So thank the on-site supervisor for the opportunity, ask for a reference, and stay on good terms.  You really do not have any idea why the temporary-to-hire position did not convert. In most cases, it happens because of budget issues or unforeseen customer issues, and has nothing to do with you. You never know when another job could appear at the same company, so do not burn bridges.

Have we convinced you the temp-to-hire positions could be a great opportunity? If so, we would love to talk to you. Temp-to-hire positions help you transition between jobs, and Snelling has the recruiters and the resources to help you be successful.  So locate your local Snelling office, and register with us today.

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