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So, You Need a Temp – Pt 3: Frequently Asked Questions About Hiring Temps

Hiring a temporary professional is a great way to keep your business running smoothly. My clients leverage temporary resources for a variety of reasons, including coverage of permanent employees, extra help during busy season, technical support for special projects and helping teams transition between full-time hires. In this blog post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions my clients have about hiring and managing temporary professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hiring and Managing Temporary Professionals:

Why should I use a staffing agency when I can find someone on LinkedIn, Monster, etc.? Do you have the time and/or staff to sift through hundreds of unique resumes? Staffing agencies can quickly provide a short-list of qualified, pre-screened candidates. An empty desk and the corresponding loss of productivity can cost a lot more than an agency fee. Check out Part 1 of this series for more information on what you need to know before engaging a staffing agency.

How many staffing agencies should I use? While it may be tempting to go with a different staffing agency for every role – usually whichever one offers the cheapest rate – I strongly encourage you to partner with an agency that specializes in your industry and truly understands your business. The more repeat business you give an agency, the better understanding they’ll have of the right “fit” for your organization, resulting in a faster turnaround of more qualified candidates. I’ve outlined some questions you should ask a prospective staffing partner in Part 2 of this series.

How long is a temporary contract? Contract lengths will vary from case to case. I’ve had clients hire temporary professionals for one-day contracts, while others can extend to 18+ months depending on the nature of the role/project. Before engaging a temporary staffing agency, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of your hiring criteria, timelines and budget. While it is very common for temporary contracts to get extended, you should not be afraid to commit to longer contract terms. A general rule of thumb is, “the longer the assignment, the better the candidate pool.”

Why is there such a huge discrepancy in pay rates for Job X? Ultimately, your budget will play the biggest factor in determining the caliber of candidate you hire. When it comes to temporary staff, you really do get what you pay for. A difference of even $5/hour can have a huge impact on the quality of the candidate, so I recommend focusing on securing candidates with the right technical skills instead of getting too caught up on working at a fixed rate (within reason, of course).

How long does it take to get a temp? Some agencies offer a direct start (next day) depending on the nature of role. Otherwise, expect to wait 24-48 hours for a shortlist of candidates. Once a contract is signed, a temporary professional can usually begin working immediately.

How do I determine a competitive pay rate? Your staffing partner should be able to give you current market pay rates for specific skill sets and experience.

Does my temp get any paid vacation time off? No – vacation pay is included in the temporary professional’s pay rate, so they are not eligible for paid vacation days.

My temp has performance issues – should I involve my staffing agency? When a temp’s performance isn’t optimal, feedback is always more powerful coming from the hiring manager. However, you should let the agency know as they will usually want to address it with the candidate. A good agency will conduct regular quality control calls with both the hiring manager and the placed temporary professional to ensure everything is going smoothly.

I’m not satisfied with my temp’s performance – can I get a new one mid-project? If performance has not improved, a good agency should be able to quickly offer you a replacement at no extra cost assuming the parameters are still the same. Guarantees for contract roles will usually extend for the duration of the assignment.

My temp is doing a great job – can I hire them permanently? Yes – however, this will likely come with a conversion fee depending on how far along they are in the contract.

Should I keep in touch with my staffing agency? Your agency should be the one driving the relationship. If they aren’t calling you and trying to meet with you, I suggest finding a new partner who values your business.

If you have any other questions, email me at lmastoras@procountstaffing.com.

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