A New Look at Temp-to-Perm Jobs

While not the best situation for most job seekers, the temp-to-perm position can provide much-needed relief in the quest for a permanent position.  An employment situation in which both parties can have the chance to ‘try before they buy’ can hold innumerable benefits – though the idea that the position will not translate into a full-time position is a very real possibility.

Candidates can have a chance to shine – while still remaining cautious and on the hunt for something stable.

This article will explore strategies for acquiring, converting, and benefiting from a temp-to-perm position.

Defining Temp-to-Perm

The very name and definition of temp-to-perm has changed in recent years as large corporations and startups seek flexible, cost-effective solutions to hiring.  Temp-to-perm positions generally mean that the position will be paid on an hourly basis and require full-time hours for an unspecified amount of time.  There is also no guarantee that the position will convert to full-time.

Temporary positions abound in today’s workplace.  Departments and teams need workers, but they may not have the budgets to hire full-time employees.  As is usually the case, they need to demonstrate a business case indicating the strong need for bringing on full-time staff.

In a May 2014 study from Aflac, the voluntary employee insurance provider, almost half of employers agreed that controlling costs is the top business issue facing companies today.  Thirty-two percent of businesses planned to eliminate or delay raises, and 21 percent planned to change full-time workers to part-time workers.

While the data doesn’t seem encouraging, agile job seekers can harness the new reality to secure a temporary or contractual position – with or without discussion of the position becoming permanent. (Those conversations can take place at a later date.)

Looking in Some Unlikely Places

Temp-to-perm positions are difficult to track down.  Job placement agencies seem to hold a grip on this category; listings for temp-to-perm positions on job boards or even LinkedIn are scarce.

The absolute best way to obtain this type of position is to convince a hiring manager – not a human resources manager or recruiter – that a solution to a problem can be devised via hiring you as a contractor, with the possibility of you staying on permanently once the project has been completed.  In this manner, you are working with the company on a contractual basis, and it provides an opportunity for both parties to have an opportunity to test the waters on a trial basis.

Hiring managers should not be your friends or close business associates; they should be professionals you are connected to via a group or association, to whom you can demonstrate your skills and ability to get the job done.

Indeed, while working as a contractual temporary employee, you may learn that the company does not provide the environment you were seeking in the first place, thereby saving yourself from the agony of tying yourself to a company and workplace you dislike. 

You’re Hired!  Now, What To Do

You got the job – great!  Now, get to work.

Besides completing the tasks listed in the job requirements, or as per your manager, you will need to keep tabs on so much more – especially if you would like for the job to convert into a full-time position.

This goes without saying, but of course, you are going to need to do your best work ever – shine brighter than you ever have.

Accept additional projects or tasks – even if they were not in the original job description.  This may require additional hours for which you may not be paid; you will need to decide if there will be ROI in this extra unpaid work.

Capture the attention of individuals other than your manager, and make them aware of the work you are doing.  You can even mention that you are only on a temporary or contractual assignment, and are seeking full-time, permanent opportunities.  (It is better to be upfront about intentions, as early on as possible, as a permanent placement often takes time.)

Should I Keep Looking?

A question many temp-to-perm workers have is:  should I keep looking for full-time positions while employed in a temp-to-perm contract?  The answer is Yes.

However, time management can be tricky, for we all know that looking for a job is itself a full-time position.  You may need to scale back on the search while you are happily temping, but it is not advisable to end a job search altogether.

When the Job Ends

It is indeed disappointing to learn that a temp-to-perm job ends, with the company informing you that it is not renewing your contract or offering you a full-time position.  It’s not the end of the world.  You can leverage and maximize the experience in several ways.

Ask to stay in touch with your former managers or coworkers, perhaps connect on LinkedIn and ask for a Recommendation.  This can bolster your experience substantially.

You can also chalk it all up to learning.  The insights you can glean from the company can easily be ported into another position.  Such insights can become terrific icebreakers when initiating conversations with that company’s competitors, suppliers, partners – or even clients.

Arm yourself with as much knowledge and confidence as possible.  If the company did not or could not offer you a full-time position, your valuable experience can be put to good use elsewhere.

In conclusion, while the temp-to-perm position is not ideal for those seeking permanent positions, they surely can serve as a valuable stopover on the road to a full-time job.  Leveraging them as a way to a full-time position at the same company is ideal, though even if the full-time position doesn’t materialize, the insights would prove highly useful for another employer.

 

(Article written by Jake Wengroff)

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