Ace that Temp Assignment! | DCR Workforce Blog

Ace that Temp Assignment!

temp-employementEven as the job market continues on its erratic and fluctuating path, 40% of employers have recently responded to a survey saying they would hire workers for temporary positions! This is a 4% up-tick from last year’s numbers. 42% of these employers are planning temp-to-perm positions. Employers are unsure about the recovery, the impact of the healthcare act, and the budget sequester cuts, delaying plans of adding permanent workers right now. Even companies which are seeing real growth are unwilling to add permanent workers.  This hesitation is at odds with the need for a workforce that can drive the business forward and is producing far more temporary positions than ever before!

Industries where skilled talent is scarce like healthcare, IT and manufacturing are leading the pack; and functions like sales and marketing are recouping previous losses by hiring temporary workers and making no commitments to permanent workers. Some of these temp jobs pay $25 to $30 per hour, so many workers are happy to keep things temporary and move from job to job – enjoying the adventure and freedom.

Shed all inhibitions about contingent work and check it out with an open mind – especially if you are currently unemployed, or were never employed before. Clichéd as it sounds, something is always better than nothing. Temp work provides you with remunerated work and also experience to put on your CV.

The question is: can one earn a successful living from temporary assignments? The answer, of course, is yes IF one takes a strategic and professional approach to each assignment. Follow the basic rules of career planning:

  • Define your career plans and follow these steps:
  • Understand the options available for contingent work.
  • Decide if you need the structure provided as a contract worker of a staffing agency, or would you prefer to work as an independent contractor?  Do you understand the pros, cons, and financial implications of each option? Evaluate each potential engagement in terms of its short- and long-term value to you.  Will the engagement provide new skills? Increase your credentials?  Expand your professional network?  Help to position you for the next step in your career? Remember that each assignment is a step in your career and treat the job accordingly. With every assignment, you are building a professional reputation that could help or hurt you in the future. When considering an assignment, find out what the length of the assignment will be and whether your pay is linked to any specific deliverables.
  • Determine who you will report to ensure that you have a common understanding of the job’s requirements.
  • Discuss whether there is a potential temp to perm conversion opportunity and if yes, make sure that there are no obstacles in the way of your achieving it. When starting a new position, create a positive impression in order to land that repeat assignment or permanent job. Leave nothing to chance. Learn more about your job by asking questions and observing others, and maintain a professional, courteous and alert attitude at all times.
  • Understand the company’s work quality standards, and try to meet or exceed them.
  • Ask someone to review and approve your work and seek help when you need it. Show initiative.  Do not hesitate to ask for more work, if you have completed the task at hand.  However, don’t take on additional tasks and projects which compromise your performance on your core assignment. Maintain continuous communication with the staffing agency.  If issues occur, let the agency serve as your advocate and go between.  They will provide you with customer feedback and identify areas of development.  They will also be more interested in placing you in another assignment. Stay flexible and rise up to the demands of the job and its challenges, including any extended work hours. Adapt to the workplace culture in terms of behavior, dress and even footwear – and try not to create a dissonant image among the colleagues at the workplace or with the customers being served. Use the assignment to build your network.  As the engagement is nearing its end, ask supervisors and co-workers to serve as a reference or to recommend you on a social networking site.  Use them to generate leads on your next assignment. If the workplace offers the opportunity to collective bargaining by joining a union, do take it.
  • Most importantly,complete the assignment!  Nothing damages your professional reputation faster than abruptly leaving in the middle of the engagement.  If extenuating circumstances require you to leave before the anticipated end date, give as much notice as possible, and offer to provide a transition period in which you can help to bring your replacement up to speed.

Douglas MacArthur once said, “There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.” Those who embrace the notion of lifetime engagements rather than lifetime employment, and who treat each assignment as a significant career step, will turn those opportunities into reality.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.