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Career advice

What You Need to Know When Choosing to Be a ‘Temp’

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by Jayden Cooke

about 1 month ago

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Managing a busy temp desk in the Legal Support area, I see more and more people choosing temporary and contract roles for their ongoing employment.

People often choose to temp as they are:

  • in a city for a limited time – eg, working holidaymakers
  • seeking income to support them whilst they are studying
  • looking for flexibility in their life – perhaps allowing for regular travel or taking extra time off with the family in school holidays
  • wanting insights into industries and organisations before securing a permanent role

If this sounds like you, here are a few pointers for securing ongoing temp and contract work through a recruitment agency.

Your Employer

When temping through a recruitment agency, the agency is your employer, even though on a day to day basis you’ll be supervised by someone within the client organisation. When registering with an agency you will go through the interview process. You must treat this as any other professional interview. This will give you the best chance of making a good first impression, allowing the consultant to confidently put you forward for roles with their clients. Your agency will pay your wages so it’s important to complete all relevant documentation and ensure your timesheets are approved by your supervisor and submitted on time.

Communication

When communicating, be it over the phone or via email, always maintain a professional standard. It is vital when dealing with your recruitment consultant to be honest and transparent. This extends to explaining your current situation, what you’re looking for and your employment history. We act as your representative in the market, so we need accurate information to best sell you into a role. I have seen candidates being pulled out of roles or be blacklisted for lying, either on their CV or to their agency.  The truth inevitably comes out.

Open lines of communication are imperative when working in the temporary world. Roles move fast and are often filled within a very short timeframe. When you receive a message or an email, it is best practice to return the call as soon as possible to give yourself the greatest chance of securing the position.

Commitment

If you are briefed on a position and commit to the role, then it is expected that you will follow through on your promise. Therefore, it is important to consider your options and situation before accepting a position or interview. It is okay to reschedule an interview, but you must provide ample warning as the consultant or client has set aside time out of their day to meet with you. 

When in a temporary role, treat the position with respect as time, effort and money have gone into placing you there. You have been brought in to assist with various tasks, so it is important to perform to the best of your ability and not just consider it a “throwaway” role.

Most clients understand that some people in temp roles are seeking permanent positions and may need to attend interviews at other organisations. If you have an interview for another role, aim to make it during your lunch break or before or after work so you can complete your required hours for the temp role.

Feedback

Receiving positive feedback from the client you’re working for will greatly help you in securing ongoing work as a representative of the agency.

When I receive negative feedback from clients around the performance of temps, it is due to a few factors. Taking excessive breaks is a red flag for employers as it shows a lack of commitment to the position and respect for the client who is paying you to be there. Also, avoid the use of your mobile as much as possible - this has on occasion led to the early dismissal of the temp.

Opportunity

Working as a temp is a great option for experiencing what a variety of companies and industries have to offer. You can meet new people and have exposure to experiences that you may not get in a permanent role.

It is important to keep these things in mind when conducting yourself in the market. Temping can be a rewarding experience, and remember, your recruitment consultant is always here to help.

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