Ten top tips: Getting The Best From Temps

More firms are hiring temporary staff – for all sorts of reasons. They may want to bridge the gap between permanent workers, cover special or maternity leave, bring in specialist skills for specific projects, or cover peaks in work flow. To get the best out of temps you must think and act differently to the way you would with permanent staff. So here are some tips for getting the best temps – and getting the best out of them while they’re with you.

1 Build relationship with your recruiter To hire the best temps you must move quickly, so you need to trust your recruiter’s judgement. Be open and honest, and make sure your recruiter understands you, your team and your business. When clients let me know exactly what they’re looking for and give me enough information to really understand their business, I can find them temps who will hit the ground running.

2 Act quickly Good temporary candidates can have between three and five job offers on their plate at any time, so you need to move fast when good candidate is presented to you. Don’t wait for second choice – this is not permanent placement. Often just 10 minutes can make the difference between getting your ideal candidate and the next available candidate.

3 Be prepared to flag the interview Many organisations want to interview candidates for temporary roles, but by the time you have arranged the interview and given feedback, your ideal candidate will most likely have another job. If you need someone for just short time, do you really need to meet the candidate? As long as you have good relationship with your recruiter, you can delegate that task to them.

4 Differentiate between temp and permanent recruiting Often when looking for bridging temps, clients ask for candidate who is immediately available but who is also interested in the permanent job. This means they’ll take too much time to get the best temp because they want to wade through CVs and conduct several interviews. When hiring temp you want someone who can hit the ground running, with minimum training. When hiring permanent employee, aptitude and culture fit are more important – training can develop the individual. Get the temp on board and then turn your attention to the permanent role.

5 Don’t wade through CVs My job as specialised temporary recruiter is to present to you one, or maybe two, candidates for particular role, not to send you heap of CVs. In fact, I seldom send CVs to clients. Instead, I explain the person’s background in full. Temporary staff often have the worst CVs, because they move from job to job. But your recruiter should be able to explain why they’re good for the role.

6 Value for money Accept that temps will cost you more than permanent candidate. Too many organisations try to cut corners by capping costs on temporary staff – but they are limiting their access to the right skill set. If you’re hiring temp because your permanent staff are under stress, adding an underskilled resource is asking for trouble. Also, as temps are paid by the hour, it’s not the hourly rate that matters, but the amount of work they will get through. An efficient candidate with higher rate might actually work out cheaper.

7 Watch out for candidates who have not temped previously or are without work Great temps are flexible. But some candidates who have only ever worked in permanent roles aren’t able to roll with the punches and are not used to having to pick up new skills quickly. And if candidate is struggling to find work, I would ask why. There is lot of work around, so anyone good is being snapped up. Be suspicious.

8 Be prepared to be flexible One of the main reasons skilled people become temps is they want flexibility, rather than being tied to rigid timetable. They may want to be able to collect their children from school or attend sports days; they may want to travel in between assignments. Give them that flexibility and they’ll give you the work you want.

9 Think laterally about maternity leave role that requires full-time commitment for 12 months is neither one thing nor the other – too temporary to be permanent, too inflexible to appeal to most temps. When permanent worker takes maternity leave, think of how else you can cover that role. Can some tasks be distributed to other staff, with genuine temps hired only to cover the peaks in workflow? Think outside the box and you’ll get better result.

10 Temps are people too motivation for many temps is to do what they’re good at, while staying removed from office politics. But this doesn’t mean they want to be excluded from the team. Treat them with as much respect and care as you do permanent staff, include them in team activities. Just like other employees, they’ll produce their best work when they’re fully engaged.

Megan Alexander is senior manager at Robert Half. www.roberthalf.co.nz

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