How Do Temp-to-Perm Jobs Work, Really? What to Know

Temp-to-perm jobs can benefit both the employer and employee in deciding if the position is a match.

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Nicole Pecoraro218
Most of us have been in a situation where we weren't exactly in love with what we do. This is what makes temp-to-perm jobs beneficial for both sides. As much as you want to put your energy every day towards something that gives you a sense of purpose and impacts your life, the reality is, we all have bills to pay. Because of that, there are times we may see ourselves in a position that we would never have considered to be the right "fit" for us.
On the flip side, there are times when the perfect job may seem to have landed in our laps, but it's temporary and that means we might only get a small taste of our dream job before we have to wave goodbye and move on to the next opportunity that comes our way. 
That's the bittersweet reality of temporary positions in the workplace. This is what makes temp to perm jobs more enticing to both employer and employees alike.

What does temp to perm mean?

Not many people like to shop for a new car without getting to test drive it first. You would never think to sign on the dotted line for something that is going to take you years to pay off without putting some thought and getting a feel for it first, right? Temp-to-perm positions let you do just that, but instead of buying a car, you're getting a new position at work and you get to "test drive" your job before you commit to investing years (or longer) of your life. It's a way to try out your job before you are hired on permanently, and a way for employers to do the same.

Advantages of temp-to-perm hiring:

Whether you're an employer or employee entering into a temp to perm agreement, the advantages are present on both sides. As an employee looking for something stable and permanent, you can gain valuable insight in a temp to perm that you wouldn't have the advantage of elsewhere. Employers can test the waters on a candidate and as an employee, you can give them your very best and ensure in the end that they not only want to keep you, but they need you.

For the employee:

You stand out among the other applicants.

When job markets are saturated with qualified candidates seeking the same positions with fewer openings than there are applicants, temp to perm gives you a leg up to show your worth beyond a short interview. You can give your employer a chance to see you in action and therefore increase your odds of a long-term, permanent position.

You get to test the waters.

Based on the information you've received on the position, this may appear to be your ultimate jackpot job. But, as we all know, sometimes things are not always as they seem. The temp to perm job allows you to test the waters before you agree to stick around for the long haul, especially if the position is not what you expected or anticipated.

You can learn new skills.

Whether or not you are hired or decide to stay permanently, you have the advantage of learning a handful (or more) of new skills in the process. If this job doesn't turn out to be your landing place, you now have more qualifications and knowledge to grow your resume for your continued search for permanent employment. And that's never a bad thing.

It's not a one and done.

If at first you don't succeed... find a new temp to perm and try again. This type of job allows you the freedom to keep trying out different positions until you're certain of what you're looking for in a job. This is especially advantageous when you're not sure what you want to do or where you'd like to work.

For employers:

You can find the best fit for the job.

If you're looking to fill a long-term position but have an ideal candidate in mind, temp to perm allows you the flexibility to test out employees until you're sure you've found the perfect person for the job at hand.

You spend less time hiring, more time training.

Because these jobs tend to come through temp agencies, as an employer you have less burden on your shoulders to vet, interview and filter through your applicants. The temp agency will pass along the names of individuals they have already matched to your qualifications and this should leave you to just train your new employee for the task at hand.

You're able to be pickier about who you hire.

In a competitive marketplace, you have a chance to test out employees before you commit to signing one on full time. If it isn't a good fit, it's much easier to test another (and another, if need be) until you find the perfect match.

How long does it last?

Every employer has different expectations for their temp positions. While some may transition an employee from a temporary hire to permanent employee rather fast, others may keep their temp employee at temp status indefinitely. Most employers have distinct dates for their position (example: 60 or 90 days) while others are much more flexible and undetermined. 

How to turn a temp job into a permanent job

Like any other job, most employers are looking for reliable, consistent and productive employees. Consider yourself a member of the team even if you are potentially only going to be there temporarily. You want to show your employer that you are up to the task and you don't waste any time getting to business. Be energetic and enthusiastic like you would in any other job you're starting off in. Make sure your employer knows you want this job and you want to be there. You are given your chance to show them what you're worth, so do just that. Make sure they see that you have what it takes and you're a valuable member to their staff so when the time comes, they won't be able to consider moving on without you in the picture. 

Last word

While you may be looking for something stable and permanent, sometimes the ideal job just isn't in the cards if we want to keep our heads above water so we do what it takes to make things work. And other times, we are hoping to transition and just need a bridge to take us over to the other side. Regardless of the end result, it is possible to make your temp to perm work for the benefit of both sides involved and just remember, you're both test driving this experience to see if it's a mutual fit. Make sure you're doing your part to show them you are a perfect match for their needs and before you know it, it's possible that temp job won't be temp at all. 

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