How to get the most from your temporary assignment

Temporary work can be great for all involved. Companies get to fill leave positions, cover for a key person who is ill, or find an extra pair of hands in busy times. Newly qualified workers can gain experience in the workplace and try out different industries and employers, and otherwise unemployed people can keep their skills current and earn an income while they search for a permanent position.
A first-class agency that specialises in the industries and skills that both the company and the temp are interested in can make a good match great.
So how do companies and temps both get the most out of the temporary assignment? We asked Melissa Lombardo, Challenge Consulting’s Temporary Services Consultant,  and considered what employers have valued when they nominated people for our Temp of the Month award.
Here are four things you can do to maximise the temping experience.

1. Be reliable
Reliability is Lombardo’s first requirement. It seems self-evident, but sadly it isn’t. She explains that Challenge maintains a group of excellent candidates that have been interviewed and reference checked, so that when an assignment arises, the candidate can fill the position the same day if necessary. ‘This means reliability is the most important characteristic of a good temp’, says Lombardo. ‘Temps who show commitment to the position will be most likely to be offered the next position, as they’ve demonstrated their reliability by showing up and completing the placement’.

What they said about the temp …
‘Her work rate and standards are very high’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Michala Kowalski
‘She is so accommodating and bright that any company would be silly to not offer her a role for which she applies’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Janette Wallman


2. Be a clear communicator
The agency can make a good match if both the temp and the organisation are clear about what they want. If a temp is unable to take a position because it means a long commute, they should say so, says Lombardo. A reasonable recruiter would not hold that against a temp, and can offer them another assignment closer to home.
Organisations should try to plan for covering maternity leave, annual leave or periods of higher activity. With more notice, the temporary recruiter can place the most suitable person, particularly for longer assignments. The best temps are in high demand and may be unavailable at short notice.

What they said about the temp …
‘She is a strong communicator and is able to deal with our introducers demands with ease’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Anna Kemp
‘… a friendly and energetic part of the team’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Nishma Manandhar


3. Be open-minded about the assignment
Lombardo says that both organisations and temps can be reluctant when the person’s skills and experience are more than the role requires. Approached with an open mind, this situation is a winner for all concerned.
The temp has a great opportunity to impress, to network and to learn new skills and systems. They will be remembered when it comes to making a permanent hire in a position for which the temp is qualified; they will think of Charlie the great temp receptionist who was actually a qualified accountant when the next suitable vacancy comes up.
‘The company gets the benefit of a person with strong experience and skills, representing great value for money, says Lombardo. ‘This is particularly true for those on working holiday visas, who may be much more qualified than is necessary for an admin assistant.’

What they said about the temp …
‘… doing jobs far below her skill set but she would not tell you she is degree qualified in the science field’ Challenge Temp of the Month Janette Wallman
‘Despite being a senior HR practitioner and working with us on contract, Janine has mucked in with admin duties’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Janine Brockway
‘… consistently amazes us with the upgrades he has made to our SharePoint site’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Peter Sunga


4. Have a positive attitude and go the extra mile
Temps are always meeting new people and working in different environments. It helps to be friendly, positive, and open to new experiences. If the temp assignment is more junior than is ideal, a positive person will see it as a good way to network and have new learning experiences.
Employers should be open to contributions that are ‘above and beyond.’ Just because they are temps, it doesn’t mean they can’t make excellent suggestions or put improvements in place.

What they said about the temp …
‘… jumped at the opportunity to take on challenging additional work’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Charbel Elhage
‘… made a huge effort to pinpoint any areas for further development’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Nishma Manandhar
‘… not only performed the role as required, but has worked to make continual improvements to the process’ – Challenge Temp of the Month Aisling Kennedy

Find out more about Challenge Consulting’s Temporary Staff Services here.