February 07, 2014 | 5 min read
Making the Transition from Temp to Perm

Tandym Group

With the most recent appraisal of the U.S. temporary labor force registering at 2.816 million in December, it’s clear that organizations across industries are increasingly employing temporary staffing strategies to supplement their permanent workforce. Companies rely on strategies such as these for a variety of reasons, such as seasonal influxes of work or reinforcement during employee absences, and if you are a job seeker, now is the prime time to take advantage of these opportunities.

“If you put in the effort, temporary assignments often position those who fill them as professionals who would make excellent full-time employees,” explains Komal Shah, a Staffing Manager of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources divisions. “Temporary assignments allow professionals to gain a variety of skills, build experience in their field, and showcase their value in a short amount of time. If you can successfully do this, hiring decision makers may look towards you when they have a more permanent opening, which gives you a leg up against other job seekers who have applied for the job externally.”

If you are currently working in a temporary capacity for a great employer, or hope to be placed with one in the near future, here are some steps you can take to best angle yourself for a permanent position:

Prove Your Worth

It can be easy to slip into the mentality of feeling limited as a short-term temp worker; however, it’s important to treat the gig as a permanent job, because it can turn into one. Management often begins forming their initial opinions on new hires based on how well they take direction and absorb information in their first few days of training, so you’ll want to embody a mental attitude of focus and display the tell-tale signs of promise your supervisors will be watching for.

Once you’ve been integrated into your role, how you direct your energies and demonstrate your comprehension and aptitude will determine how you are seen by supervisors. The quality of your work as well as the knowledge and skills you are able to develop and utilize will be a testament to your potential work ethic, and the level of professionalism you bring with you.

Taking accountability for your own personal brand and reputation, you can often control your own destiny at the company, and demonstrate your dedication to the organization. One aspect of your performance supervisors can take stock of right away is your ability to learn, so make sure you show your team that you are committed by doing whatever it takes to do your job well.

Observe the Culture and Adapt

Every company has a way of doing business and a code of conduct, whether it’s openly acknowledged or not. During your first few days on the job, try to observe the culture and how the organization operates, so you can seamlessly blend in with the team. From how your coworkers dress to how they act, channel those details and be cognizant of your body language. By appearing approachable and open, you’ll get opportunities to talk to other members of the team and share your work, upcoming projects, and other points of interest or collaboration.

Be Patient

When you’re trying to get a job through a temporary role, it can be easy to get restless and tread the fine line between an amazing worker, and an amazing worker who everyone feels is trying to push their way into a permanent position. Don’t be the latter. By performing admirably and making a difference on the team, you’ll naturally attract attention. Work on developing your relationships and getting into a routine before expressing interest in a permanent role.

Build Relationships

When starting a position, make it a priority to introduce yourself to your colleagues. Having conversations with coworkers can help you feel out your new work environment, and help you become a member of the team. You never know who may recommend that you permanently stay on board or can help you land a future job through a reference or referral. As a result, if your assignment ends without a full-time job offer, it’s still important to keep in touch with your colleagues and mentors.

Leverage Your Insider Perspective and Ask for the Job

As an insider, you typically have more access to new roles and openings than any external candidate does. However, that alone will not edge out the competition if you aren’t demonstrating the skills and performance pattern your supervisors expect. Strategize your career trajectory by focusing on producing great results in your current role before setting your sights on full-time positions or aspirations to work in a different department. Once you feel you’ve adjusted to the role, let your employer know that you would love to be considered for a permanent position and investigate what steps you would need to take to earn one. However, it’s also important to tell your supervisor that regardless of whether or not there is an opportunity for a permanent placement, you consider yourself a team member who is willing to put in the effort to ensure the job is done well.


Subscribe to the Tandym blog

Get our latest job search and career insights delivered straight to your inbox

Related Resources