Why is temporary work worth it?

Part 1

There are many factors that can make or break your level of success with a staffing service.  There are many factors that can make or break your level of success with a fortune 500 company.  Why is it that people see them differently when they are actually the same?

We will present in a three part series the pros, cons and how to select and work with the right staffing service.  As part of your job search strategy, working with a staffing firm can be a great way to supplement your search, but not a substitute.  First, you do have to decide on what you want from the staffing service to determine which service or services you want to apply and whom you will secure work.  Do I want a full-time job?  You may be saying that is a dumb question, but the growing number of people who work with a temporary service are not looking for full-time work with the same company day-after-day, year-after-year.  Why work with a staffing service?  You do have to know what you want out of the experience.

You can find work quickly – If all you want is to make some extra cash for school, Christmas, etc., and don’t care about the length of the assignment, a staffing service is the place for you.  This takes flexibility.  The more inflexible you are with your duties, schedule, pay, hours and transportation the fewer opportunities that will be offered.  The client firms want people based on their schedule, not yours.  Just remember, stats show that 33% of all temporary assignments result in an offer of full-time employment.

Staffing services represent hundreds of companies – On your own, you have to search one company at a time.  With a staffing service, you have one place to apply for employment; one résumé, one interview, etc.  Many staffing services will help you with your résumé, provide career counseling, coach/prep you on your interview technique not to mention the opportunity to evaluate the working environment and negotiating a salary.  Once you have shown the assignment employer what you can do for them before you say yes it is a huge advantage versus being an unknown entity when working on your own.  The right staffing company can certainly reduce the time you spend looking for a job.

Strengthen your résumé. Taking on a position with a staffing service helps you avoid gaping holes in your résumé. Just as important, it also may give you an opportunity to develop or enhance skills, references that will speak for your work ethic and skill set as you continue your search for full-time employment.

You have a great deal of flexibility and freedom – Many people want the ability to work or not work when they want.  They don’t want the same thing day in and day out; they like the variety.  Variety is not for everyone; meeting new people, learning how things are done with different companies, meeting different expectations from place to place is what some people like the most about working temporary.  It allows them to gain experience and new skills, but it does take the right attitude.  Not every job you’ll be offered will be your life’s work.  Take it for what it will give you.

Staffing firms often have the inside track to positions that are often not advertised.  Many companies only hire for certain positions through a staffing firm.  They engage a staffing service in a temp-to-hire arrangement.  The try before you buy philosophy is a two-way street.  You have the opportunity to evaluate them as much as they are evaluating you.

In addition, countless assignments that originated as a one or two day assignment turn into long-term projects or were hired; usually in a position of better pay and more responsibility.  You have such a huge advantage when actually showing an employer what you can do while working for them versus someone who is interviewing and telling the employer about their abilities.  If you enter the assignment with the wrong attitude; such as “this is just a temp assignment.”  The employer can always tell and will just move on to the next person.  You just never know what opportunity lurks behind each new door.  As always, it is up to you to make the most of each opportunity.

Working with a staffing service often provides a bridge-to-employment.  Most people are looking for a fulltime position, but you do have to decide on what kind of bridge you want to cross.

I just want to keep working to earn extra money

  • I want to stay busy until the right position is available
  • I have the financial ability to wait and only interview for direct positions
  • I have the financial ability to wait and only interview for temp-to-direct positions

And of course, it’s Free!  There is a time commitment completing hiring paperwork and taking evaluations, so the service can match your skills with their client expectations.  Still, nothing is ever free and your time with your staffing recruiter is just as important and your interview with a fortune 500 company.  You want to make your best first impression.

When you’re making money, the truth is you feel better about yourself. You feel valued. It builds confidence. That’s far better than sending out résumés and not getting a single response. But here is some advice if you decide to go down this path.

  •  Take temporary assignments seriously – The impression you make will influence future jobs with your staffing service, references from the staffing service and/or their client, the prospect of a full time position with their client, and more. Even brief assignments can offer a great opportunity to develop or strengthen skills and build a better résumé.
  • Ask for help and request feedback – As organizations become leaner and meaner you will be expected to “hit the ground running.”  This may require you to ask the proper questions in order to get started and be successful.  Don’t be shy.  They are expecting questions.  If you don’t ask, they assume you know what you are doing.
  • Understand your responsibilities – Make sure you understand your job duties and objectives with the work supervisor. This will help you perform better and make the most of your opportunity.
  • Treat every day as the interview – That means being on time every day, meeting deadlines and reaching or – better yet – exceeding goals. If you treat each day like an interview you’re more apt to shine in your position than if you just look at it as short-term work. If it was an interview you wouldn’t be late or come in looking unprofessional or show frustration, would you?
  • Be the best that you can be – We’ve all heard clichés such as “giving it your all” and “being the best you can be.” But don’t let that be a reason to simply dismiss them – in this situation it’s actually your best strategy. If you want to get noticed and ultimately land a full-time position at the company you are working for, you have to do a top-notch job. You can’t slack off, do mediocre work or give it less than your all and expect to be brought on or get future assignments from the staffing service.
  • Be flexible – When employers are looking to hire full-time workers they want people who are flexible both in the hours they can work and the tasks they are willing to do. If you display those qualities, chances are you will be in the running when the employer is looking to fill a position. If you’ve heard through your manager there’s a need for someone to help out on an additional project, you should be the first one to raise your hand and volunteer.  You never want to be inflexible when working on a temporary assignment.

Even if the assignment was the worst, and that’s always possible, find a clever use for it in a future job interview. It can be a great example of your work ethic, initiative, perseverance and ability to slide in and solve a problem, or fill a need for a company. All are characteristics in big demand by employers today.  Make the time spent part of your personal career story.

This all sounds great!  Life is good and I can go to any staffing service and get exactly what I want from all the services; life is grand!  Wrong.  Not all companies and recruiters are the same and staffing services are no different; not all services are the same or even place the same kind of people on the same kinds of jobs.  You have to know what you want from your experience and you need to do a little up front work to know if you are with the right service.

In part two, we will discuss the downside of a temporary service if you don’t do your homework.

Learn more about writing a résumé and what key words to use on your résumé.

Learn more about getting the job of your dreams.

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