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“This is Not a Drill”: How to Successfully Navigate a Temp or Temp-to-Hire Job

“This is Not a Drill”: How to Successfully Navigate a Temp or Temp-to-Hire Job

Friday, April 29, 2016/Categories: Blog

By Ashley Barbee, Sales & Staffing Specialist for Gateway Group Personnel


You walk into a staffing agency dressed to impress. You and a recruiter review your resume with a fine-toothed comb. You go over your salary expectations and what you want in your next position. You leave feeling confident, and a couple days later, you get a phone call - the client wants to interview you! You, ace the interview and receive an offer for a temporary or temp-to-hire position.

Now, things get tricky… you scored the job, but you want it to become permanent. Follow these best practices to make it impossible for this company to let you go. 

1. Get to work on time – seems easy enough, right? But somehow, life seems to make it so hard to be punctual. You have kids, traffic is terrible, etc. But, a temp job is a chance to prove your worth and work ethic to an employer and possibly, get your foot in the door with a great company. Do not let punctuality ruin this opportunity. Set that alarm 15 minutes earlier. Get dressed and ready before the kids get up. Get on the road before rush hour is in full effect. Is it going to be easy? Is it going to be fun? Of course not. But you’re working, you’re getting a paycheck and you’re closing up that “unemployed” hole in your resume. 

2. Be efficient and work smart – When you get to work, get to work. Work to your highest potential, be resourceful and invaluable, but if you don’t know how to do something… ask. You save time in the long run and become an asset to your employer.

3. Keep a tidy, clean workspace – Your cubicle / workspace is not your home. Keep it simple. Lip balm? Sure. Your lucky pen? Of course. But keep the hair spray, candles, 8x10 picture frames and Cheetos at home. Your workspace indicates your professionalism. You don’t want anyone to judge your work performance based on your desk accessories. 

4. Don’t get too comfortable – It’s wonderful if you work for a company, and it just clicks: where you feel like things are going great, you get along with everybody and you’re “knocking their socks off”. However, getting too comfortable could be the proverbial nail in the coffin, if you want to get hired permanently. Consider a temp or temp-to-hire opportunity an extremely long job interview. You are proving yourself constantly. Don’t let your guard down and start chatting on your cell phone, gossiping with co-workers or taking long lunches. People, specifically the people who could decide whether or not you go permanent, are watching. 

5. Dress for the job you want – Remember, your temp-to-hire position is a probationary period. Even if you’ve snagged a short-term temp assignment, you never know where it can lead. Always dress thoughtfully and appropriately. If your work attire looks like you just rolled out of bed after a night at the club, don’t bet on getting that call about a permanent job opening.  

6. Don’t ask about money or when the position will turn permanent – When you took the job, you agreed to a certain pay rate. If you think you are being overworked and underpaid, reach out to the recruiter who helped you get the position and let them communicate these concerns to the hiring manager. We are your go-between.  Also, be patient.  Sometimes, it takes a little longer for a company to make your position permanent. If there is any hesitancy about hiring you for a permanent role, constantly asking about it could ruin the opportunity. Patience is key.

7. Don’t assume anything – Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to a temp-to-hire position. Things happen that are out of your control and even out of the control of the folks hiring you. We never guarantee permanency, even if that’s the company’s intention. So, make sure you start a temp-to-hire position knowing that it may not turn into something permanent. Keep your head up and remain positive. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned, the company could very well revisit you down the road, when the permanent position becomes available.

Do not take a temp or temp-to-hire opportunity for granted. Because it’s just that… an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to better your skill sets. It’s an opportunity to re-join the working world, if it’s been a while since you last worked. It’s an opportunity to impress the decision-makers in a great company. The possibilities are endless.  But YOU have to make it happen!

Ashley Barbee joined Gateway Group’s Temporary Services team in March of 2015. She was in the news business for nearly 10 years as a producer for both WREG and WHBQ in Memphis.  Having a mind for finding the best stories to tell in the television world is now helping her in finding the best candidates to fill jobs for clients. Learn more about Ashley here.



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