Temp to Perm

More employers are finding that a “working interview” is sometimes the best way to explore a job candidate’s fitness for a given company, and position.

When staffing firm Accountemps took a poll recently, more than one-third (34 percent) of chief financial officers polled said that having a candidate work on a temporary basis initially provides the greatest insight into whether he or she will be a good fit with the company culture.

The benefits can go both ways, too: for job-seekers, the opportunity to “try out” for a job by doing it on a temporary basis can be their chance to check out a company before making a long-term commitment.

If it makes sense for both parties to check each other out in this way, why aren’t more companies exploring the “temp to permanent” angle?

Accountemps offers five tips for companies that wish to test out potential hires:

  1. Partner with a staffing firm. Let your recruiter know immediately if an assignment has the potential to become a permanent position, and clearly outline the responsibilities of the job and key aspects of your workplace culture. That way, your staffing firm can search for appropriate candidates who will be able to commit to a permanent position, if offered.
  2. Let them know what success looks like. You can’t make a fair assessment of a temporary professional’s performance if he or she doesn’t understand what is expected. Give adequate direction, including project details and deadlines as well as company norms, like employee communication preferences.
  3. Give challenging assignments. Provide interim employees with projects of varying degrees of difficulty. Pair them with key members of your team and seek staff feedback on how the temporary workers performed and collaborated with others.
  4. Bring them into the fold. Invite temporary professionals to the same meetings, team lunches and events everyone else attends. Make sure they receive emails and other communication about company news. Remember, they’re evaluating your firm as much as you’re evaluating them.
  5. Keep in touch. Regularly check in with temporary employees to answer questions, seek feedback and gauge how things are going with the assignment. If you want to make a full-time employment offer, alert your staffing firm to coordinate details.

Some of this advice could work for job seekers as well. For instance, recruiters know which companies might be interested in starting employees off as temporary staff. So, workers who wish to check a company out in this way would be well advised to build relationships with recruiters.

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