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Temp to Perm: Will I Automatically Get the Job?

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by Mark Smith

over 2 years ago

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In the last few years, the number of people securing a permanent role by first undertaking the role on a temporary basis has seen a marked increase. In the recruitment world, it's commonly known as a 'temp to perm' or temporary to permanent placement. The concept is not new, and, for many clients and job seekers, the ability to 'try before you buy' has merit. Having said that, the number of people willing to leave a permanent role to undertake a temporary role is, understandably, limited. Those people, who through planning or circumstance find themselves undertaking temporary work, sometimes take on a role that has been specifically designated as a temp to perm. Often the assumption is made that they are the only candidate being considered for the permanent position. 

This is certainly NOT the case. My post today was prompted by a rather tragic story that unfolded last week within the Sydney temporary accounting team here at people2people. A candidate – let's call him 'Leonard' (vale Leonard Nimoy!), was undertaking a role for people2people and doing a good job. He was hired on the basis that the role could be temp to perm. He was to be considered for the role but was not the only candidate being considered, although he was interviewed for the role. Part of the reason Leonard was selected for the temp role was that he was overqualified for the role. 

This can be quite common, so that the work can be completed quickly and efficiently. Leonard was advised about 24 hours after his interview by the hiring manager that she thought he was overqualified for the permanent role and so they were considering someone else. Leonard then replied, 'Well today will be my last day!' In response, the manager said, 'Well if that's the case, it's going to be pretty hard for me to give you a reference.' Unfortunately, this didn't end well for either party, and Leonard finished up and will not receive a reference. There are two lessons for Leonard from this sorry tale. 

Firstly, performing the role on a temp basis, even if you are doing it well, is not a guarantee of getting the permanent role. There are too many other variables. The second lesson is that Leonard should have taken the bad news in stride and worked on. The reference would have been useful, but the real tragedy is passing up future roles, other temp jobs and referrals. Most roles are filled through networks and only a minority through job boards and recruiters. So, for Leonard, the answer is no, you are not guaranteed the job if you were told it was temp to perm. If you are not successful initially, taking a professional long term view is the best course of action to secure the best ultimate outcome.

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