How Job Seekers in Philadelphia Can Turn Temp into Perm

October 9th, 2012
Possibilities

Photo by Matthias Weinberger

When I interview potential Philly Temps employees, I always try to probe what sort of work are they open to? Because we do all length of assignments, I need talented people who are looking for different things. I need workers who only want part time, who are only available for a few months, who are happy to be on call but don’t want to commit to anything long-term. However, many candidates I speak with are firm in that they are only looking for permanent or guaranteed temp-to-perm opportunities. Frequently I am told in the interview not to bother to contact candidates for anything less than a month, or three month, or six month assignment. “It’s not worth my time” they tell me. Ok, I say, noting it in their file. Because we need people who are only looking to commit to a perm opportunity. And I listen to what they say they want. I don’t reach out to them when a short temp job comes in. And they lose out.

Here’s why:

I have dozens of stories like this, and I’m sure I’ll share them all eventually. But let’s focus on M.

I liked M a lot when I met her. She tested very well, and I could tell by how she spoke she was bright and a problem solver. She was also at a point in her life where although she had a solid legal administrative work history, she was open to what came next. She was willing to do convention and event work if we needed her there. She wanted us to call her if there was the need for a last-minute receptionist. Nothing was beneath her. Single day envelope stuffing? She was there. Three day data entry job? Call M. She was open and willing and proved herself through enthusiastic feedback from clients. Impressed, I shifted to trying to get her a permanent placement, but I wanted to keep her working in the mean time.

When a seasonal project-based assignment came up, of course I called M. It was supposed to just be one day, stuffing gift bags. As often happens, the project took longer than anticipated, and they asked her back. M liked the company and the company liked M. So after bag stuffing was finished they asked if she’d like to come back to do some light filing. Clients would call in, requesting M. Sorry, I would have to say, she’s on assignment elsewhere. There were a couple opportunities M turned down because she wanted to make herself available to this company. And hey, since she was there, maybe she could take a crack at writing a press release. And oh, why don’t you review these applications and let us know what you think. A month of odd jobs later, they created a position for M.

You never know with a temporary assignment. It’s something we try to stress every time we pitch one to a candidate. You never know where this could end up. It could be a poor fit for you or the company, and then you both move on, no harm. But, it could be great. Not just in the role, but in the atmosphere of the office, with the chemistry of the coworkers and supervisor. This could be your entry, your toe in the door, your chance to prove yourself and show them what you are capable of.

I would never pressure anyone to accept something temporary if they were not comfortable with the idea from the onset. People who are not interested at all in temporary work won’t do well in the setting. But why not put yourself out there to see what happens? Why not open yourself to the moment and see where it takes you? You may just end up where you were longing to be all along.

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