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How To Hire Temporary Employees

Did you know that millions of temporary workers are hired every year? The ideal business can flex and adapt to shortages, project management, and changes in trends. Hiring temporary workers is a significant resource for any hiring manager to have in their arsenal. However, as a hiring manager, the business relies on you to provide quality candidates, even if the hiring is temporary. But how do you choose the right candidate for a short-term position? What qualities best suit your business needs? And, how can you make any temporary employee an expert in the short time they’re with your business?

Here’s everything you need to know about hiring temporary employees. 

How To Hire Temporary Employees

Hiring temporary employees is often easier than finding a candidate to permanently fill the role – at least in the short term. This is because a temporary employee can be less experienced in certain areas but still excel. At the same time, your team should focus on meeting customer demands and surviving factors like the holiday rush. Plus, if your business demands are seasonal, hiring temp employees when you need them is far more cost-effective.

Ensure you have enough time to fill the role before it’s required by studying projected business needs based on your workloads, supply chains, and customers. For example, if your business is busiest in the summer, it’s a good idea to start searching for a candidate at the start of spring. That gives you the time you need to find the right candidate. The later you start the hiring process, the more desperate you’ll be to fill the role, and you may overlook certain hiring red flags. 

Focus on hiring temporary employees as soon as fiscally responsible. A few of the best ways to find the right temp include:

  • Staffing Agencies: Staffing agencies do a lot of the heavy lifting for you regarding temporary recruitment. Not only are candidates pre-screened and qualified, but you can reasonably assume the candidate is also actively looking for work. Plus, staffing agencies provide a strong base for the minimum requirements you’re looking for, and you’ll save time by not having to scroll through bad resumes, survive bad interviews, and limit the chance of no-shows. 
  • Job Boards: Over 80% of potential employees job hunt online. That’s why job boards are a solid option for getting quality candidates in a short amount of time. Just remember, the fact that you’re hiring temporary employees should be front and center in the job requisition. Knowing what to expect before the interview will save you and your candidates time. 
  • Connections: Leverage existing employees to find your ideal temporary worker. You can do this by sending a company email asking for recommendations for a temp employee. In some cases, you’ll attract candidates that you would only have with a direct recommendation. Plus, hiring temporary employees directly by leveraging connections is a quick and easy way to find the person you want.

Understanding What You Need From Temporary Employees

Hiring temporary employees comes down to understanding exactly what your business needs to know. For example, highly technical jobs requiring degrees or certificates take longer. That’s why you must understand the essential skills an employee requires for success. Are you looking to hire a programmer to help debug a new application? Then focus on hiring someone with proven experience doing that specific task instead of a programmer specializing in user experience. Of course, the ideal permanent candidate knows all aspects of their role and your business. But when you only need a candidate for a set amount of time, the task they’re completing is paramount. 

Consider Staffing Agencies Vs. Hiring Temporary Employees Directly

Staffing agencies and hiring temporary employees directly have pros and cons. You can utilize both when it’s time to start hiring temporary employees. However, it’s much more cost-effective to hire an employee directly. Staffing agencies may cost you up to 25% more per hour for the same employee. However, candidates are pre-screened, so you’ll get quality candidates much faster than doing it alone. 

Hiring temporary employees directly has unique hurdles. Attracting quality candidates, creating the job requisition, and contacting the employees are all handled in-house. But that also means that as a hiring manager, you’ll have the experience and insight to know exactly what type of candidate you’re looking for. And you can weigh every potential candidate more on how they’d fit the company than just how they look on paper. Certain qualities just don’t translate to a resume. Qualities like people skills, teamwork, communication, etc., are hard to gauge – especially when you mix in your company’s culture. Adding in a middle person, like a staffing agency, makes it much more challenging to know who you’re getting when it comes to temporary recruitment.  

Attracting The Right Employees

Casting a wide net helps when hiring a temporary employee. But attracting the right employees to your proverbial net is trickier. Practice going to where your ideal employee is. For example, do you work in a licensed trade profession like electrician, plumber, mechanic, etc.? Then consider recruiting at local conventions or job boards dedicated to that profession.

Interviewing And Vetting Potential Hires

Interviewing and vetting potential new temp hires are practically identical to hiring permanent employees – with one notable exception. You’ll have to be transparent about your business needs and that the position is only temporary. It’d be great if the position were temporary with the chance of being hired full-time, but only mention that if it’s true. If you aren’t transparent, you risk lowering your candidate’s morale once they realize the role is short-term. From a business perspective, low morale equates to low productivity. Your business reputation can also suffer a hit if the public thinks you mislead employees. Keep things on the up and up, and state your business expectations early on during the hiring process. 

Onboarding New Employees

So, you’ve finally found the perfect employee, and they accepted the job offer. Congrats! But your job isn’t done just yet. (Well, the hard part is. Pat yourself on the back.) Retention, productivity, and job enjoyment all increase when an employee has a structured, educational onboarding process. That means you’ll onboard less frequently and keep quality, well-trained employees longer. Plus, onboarding and hiring are much more expensive than retaining. Consider tailoring your onboarding process to the temporary employee-filling role. And consider starting the onboarding process before you need the employee. Starting early means that when you need them, they’ll practically be an expert at their job.


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