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Grow Your Business Your Team

Going Temp-to-Hire? How to Do It Right

Going Temp-to-Hire? How to Do It Right
Credit: Ahmet Misirligul/Shutterstock

Testing out potential new hires on a short-term basis is an effective way to see if they are going to be a good long-term fit, new research finds

Nearly 35 percent of chief financial officers think having a job candidate take on a temporary position initially provides the best insight into whether he or she will end up being a successful hire, according to a study by the staffing firm Accountemps.

Bringing in professionals on a temporary basis while you evaluate them for full-time roles can prevent costly hiring mistakes, said Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps.

"Once candidates have performed on the job and interacted with the team and management, employers can make better-informed decisions as to whether they will make good permanent additions," Driscoll said in a statement. "Applicants can also get a better sense of whether the work environment is right for them."

Accountemps offers several tips to help companies considering testing out job candidates via temporary work:

  • Define success: It's hard to make a fair assessment of a temporary worker if he or she doesn't know what's expected of them. Businesses using this approach need to give sufficient directions, including outlining project details and deadlines. Organizations should also explain company norms, such as how employees prefer to communicate with each other.
  • Challenge them: It's important to provide interim workers with projects that have varying degrees of difficulty. Try pairing them with standout members of your team as a way to get valuable feedback on how the temporary worker is performing and how well they work with others.
  • Treat them like everyone else: You don't want temporary workers to feel like they are always on the outside looking in. Make sure to invite them to the same meetings, lunches and events that everyone else in the organization attends. Also, be sure they receive emails and other communication about what's going on in the company.
  • Keep in touch: The last thing you want to do is give interim employees assignments and never check in on how they are doing. It is imperative to touch base with them on a regular basis to answer any questions they have, seek feedback and see how they are faring on their projects.
  • Let them know the possibilities: Whether it's alerting the temporary worker or the staffing firm you are working with, you want to make sure everyone involved knows that this temporary assignment could lead to a permanent position. This will help ensure that the interim worker will be able to commit to a permanent position, if offered.

The study was based on interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.