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So, You Need a Temp – Part 1: Know What You’re Hiring For

If you’re thinking of hiring a temporary professional, there are several things to consider:

  • Do you have the authority to hire a temp?
  • Why are you hiring a temp?
  • How long do you need a temp for?
  • How urgent is the need?
  • What is your hiring criteria?
  • What’s your budget?

The temporary staffing market operates by its own set of rules, so the recruitment process will differ from that of a full-time requisition. Figuring out the answers to these questions in advance will speed up the hiring process, whether you are working with an agency partner or using an in-house recruiter.

Do you have the authority to hire a temp?

Before starting your search, make sure you have the clearance from your organization to hire a temporary employee. The temporary staffing world moves fast and the best candidates will disappear quickly. Your hiring process needs to be quick so it’s important to have all the approvals sorted out beforehand. Do you have to go through HR? Are there any internal requisitions to complete? Can you only work with approved vendors? How do vendors get approved?

Why are you hiring a temp?

There are many reasons why organizations hire temporary professionals. Some of the most common include coverage for permanent employees (leaves of absence, vacations, and parental leaves), extra help during busy seasons, technical support for special projects, and helping teams transition in between full-time hires. If you need help but aren’t necessarily looking for another permanent employee, a temporary hire is the way to go!

How long do you need a temp for?

How long do you anticipate needing a temporary professional for? Is there a chance that the contract will extend beyond this initial period? Generally, the longer the term of the contract, the more committed the candidate will be. Will the role go permanent? For some candidates, the opportunity for a role to become permanent can be a huge selling feature; many will take a temporary contract as an opportunity to get a foot in the door at a specific company.

How urgent is the need?

In a perfect world, you would be able to forecast the year ahead so you and/or your agency partner could proactively look for temps in anticipation of an upcoming need (e.g. If you are implementing a new ERP in six months and know that you will require extra help with the data transfer). In reality, having this much foresight into hiring needs isn’t always possible. For urgent needs, specialized temporary staffing firms should be able to provide a short-list of qualified temporary professionals within 24-48 hours. At Pro Count Staffing, we can typically provide a temp to start the very next day, which is commonly referred to as a direct start.

What is your hiring criteria?

Depending on the length of a contract and the parameters of the position, you’ll want to prioritize different criteria when evaluating temporary candidates. Knowing the difference between your ‘must haves’ vs ‘nice to haves’ is critical information to understand for both you and the agency partners assisting you. For example, will you only hire a candidate with SAP experience or are you open to candidates with large ERP systems experience who can pick things up quickly? Make no mistake, narrowing the scope of the hiring criteria is important, but it also narrows the candidate pool, so it’s always important to make that distinction. The general rules of temporary hiring are:

  • Short-Term Assignments – Focus on finding a temporary professional with the specific skill set that you need. For short-term assignments, the fit is generally less important than a candidate’s hard skills and technical knowledge. The objective is to find someone who can jump in right away and get the job done.
  • Longer-Term Assignments – If a temporary employee will be working at your organization for an extended period of time, it’s imperative that they fit in with your team. Both hard and soft skills are important considerations during this hiring process, so you’ll need to have a good understanding of your technical and cultural fit requirements.

What’s your budget?

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for, so it’s important to know your maximum budget before you start your search. Most temporary staffing agencies operate on an hourly bill rate basis and will invoice you based on the number of hours a temporary professional works for your organization. Keep in mind that the hourly bill rate for a temporary professional will be higher than that of a full-time employee. This is because it includes the candidate’s take-home pay, vacation pay, and contributions to things such as the Canadian Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Now that you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start your search for a temporary professional. Remember, the temp world moves quickly, so make sure your hiring process is up to speed. If you have an urgent need, are looking for a specific skill set, or haven’t had any luck hiring on your own, contact a staffing agency that specializes in temporary hiring. It’s our job to make sure you have access to the temporary professionals you need at the exact moment you need them.

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