Try Before You Buy: Temp Talent That Goes Perm

The negativity around temporary employment is being cast aside, and temporary-to-hire (or contract-to-hire) opportunities are heading for the spotlight as a multifaceted talent strategy. While this type of arrangement was typically saved for part-time work or covering for a full-time employee’s leave, job candidates are now using temporary positions as a means to land a permanent role. As a result, companies benefit as the contingent workforce grows and the job market shifts to adjust to these fluctuations.

There are many upsides to this. Among the top, organizations have the opportunity to pull from a larger pool of talent and make a more informed permanent hire, in the end saving time and money. On the first point, the numbers tell the story. Seventy-four percent of temporary workers decide to become temporary employees because it’s a way to get a full-time job, according to recent stats from the American Staffing Association. And with nearly each passing month, the number of temporary workers increases, so the talent and skills to choose from is increasing significantly.

The temporary-to-hire employment arrangement is also helpful in “test-driving” potential permanent employees. (Not to worry about how this sounds — potential employees are judging companies on their own criteria.) According to CareerBuilder, the hiring manager can evaluate a candidate in the field allowing the unique opportunity to observe his or her skills, personality and performance. It also means teams have skilled coverage for the job while managers look for a permanent fill.

Temporary employees are encouraged to treat temporary roles as an extended job interview or internship, showcasing their skills in an effort to land a permanent role. Likewise, hiring managers and HR teams should view this arrangement in the same way — keeping a close eye on achievements and struggles, behaviors and qualities. Carefully evaluate if he or she will quickly learn the position, make a strong culture fit and have a work ethic that meets expectation.

When this strategy is implemented correctly, permanent job offers are often extended. According to the American Staffing Association, 72 percent of temporary employees are offered positions with the employer for whom they temped. Considering CareerBuilder’s annual hiring forecast, in which it projected 42 percent of employers would consider hiring temporary workers and 43 percent would consider transitioning temps into full-time staff members, the collective figures indicate a recruitment revolution.

Because the workforce dynamic of permanent and temporary employees is changing so quickly, keeping company talent needs top of mind will help hiring managers and HR teams easily adjust when necessary. Susan Houseman, an economist at the Upjohn Institute of Employment Research, says that just as manufacturers attempt to avoid having too much inventory if demand slows, companies try not to have too many employees during a down cycle. Temporary-to-hire opportunities allow companies to stay flexible with talent-on-demand in several ways, including:

  • Keeping businesses agile and responsive to market shifts.
  • Helping cultivate unique ideas and problem-solving abilities by leveraging different perspectives.
  • Allowing business leaders to endure the ebb and flow of business needs.
  • Offering an opportunity to compete for top talent looking to “test out” potential employers.

When considering the benefits of a temporary work strategy and then implementing a recruiting layer in a way that makes sense for your particular needs, the opportunities for a successful hire increase significantly. Contract-to-hire positions are metaphorically the dressing room of hiring, so “try before you buy” the next time you’re in need of a strong permanent hire.