Why Temp Work Is A Smart Move

By Robert Half International

Temporary work is a career option chosen by thousands of professionals each day. This arrangement can present a rich variety of engagements that allow you to hone existing skills and develop new ones, and it exposes you to a diverse set of individuals -- critical for building your network.

Working as a temporary professional also can ease financial concerns. You can afford to be more selective about the full-time opportunities you pursue if you are generating income through interim work.

And a temporary role may be ideal for professionals who want to spend more time with their families or focus on a hobby or other interest.

Some professionals fail to consider the option of interim work, however, largely because of persistent myths about what it does or doesn't entail. Here, we set the record straight about some of the most common misconceptions:

Myth: Temporary work is low-level work.
As the needs of businesses and workers have changed over the years, the temporary industry has evolved. Today, the fastest growth is occurring in professional and technical occupations, as both businesses and professionals from all backgrounds and skill levels have come to realize the benefits of having greater flexibility.

Professionals have embraced the consulting lifestyle because they can secure challenging, diverse assignments and receive competitive compensation while still maintaining some control over when, where and how much they work. Myth: Working as an interim professional will hurt my prospects of getting hired on a full-time basis.
Quite the contrary. Many businesses view interim hiring as a way to evaluate individuals for full-time positions, and temp assignments often lead there. This may be especially true as companies hire again. Employers are still cautious about adding personnel. Yet, they realize they can't participate in a recovery if they're understaffed.

To bridge gaps, they're bringing in the most accomplished interim professionals they can find, and many companies are evaluating the skills and cultural fit of these individuals with an eye toward making them full-time employees if business conditions continue to improve.

Myth: Temporary work is short term, sporadic and low paying.
Although project consulting frequently offers the option of working fewer hours than a full-time role might require, professionals with sought-after skills usually find that they can work as much as theyI want. In fact, according to the American Staffing Association, 79 percent of temporary and contract employees work full time -- virtually the same percentage as the rest of the workforce. Also, temporary assignments can last from a few days to more than a year.

As to wages, many temporary positions pay on par with salaried ones, and individuals with the most sought-after skills can often command a premium. To attract the most highly skilled professionals, staffing firms offer competitive wages and benefits, which often include access to health insurance, vacation and holiday pay and even retirement plans. Myth: You can't include temporary work on a résumé.
As the temporary industry has grown and expanded, interim assignments have come to be viewed more as high-level consulting projects than so-called "temp work." Hiring managers understand that project work provides valuable experience that can enhance a candidate's abilities.

Myth: If I work on a temporary basis, I can't continue my job search.
: Depending on how much you choose to work, you may need to make some adjustments as to how and when you conduct your job search, but it shouldn't be too difficult. It may involve simply shifting your networking and research activities into the early morning or evening hours or possibly during your lunch break.

Also, keep in mind that your temporary assignment can also help you advance your job search. You never know when a position might open at the company where you're working, or others you meet during the course of your assignment may be willing to recommend you for a position they've heard about through their network.
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I have been with a temp agency that sent me on a 6 wk assignment.....it's 6 months later. After I did everything they asked and even worked in 2 depts for the past 2 months, I was just told I have 2 weeks left. The agency didn't even have the balls to tell me! The company did. For whatever reason, they decided not to keep me, and obviously if I was doing such an awful job, they wouldn't have kept me this long.

May 21 2013 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked as a temp and I can tell you it was not a good experience. I was let go after being promised a full-time position with the company. When I was let go the temp office offered me 1 day jobs! When I told them that I was looking for perm full-time work they told unemployment that I did not want to work as a result I lost my benefits and was forced to pay back the money I got from unemployment. Getting a temp job is not a smart move if a company does not want to hire you there is no point in beating around the bush for 3 to 6 months in the hopes of one day getting hired. Trust me that day will never happen and if it does you will be low balled with pay and benefits.

May 14 2013 at 12:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's a great way to avoid paying any benefits.

May 13 2013 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Best advice. Treat temp jobs for what they are, temp jobs because they will treat you for what you are, a temp employee. Dont buy into the hype they will try to sell you from the company or from the temp agency. I mean, look at the article alone, it's written by a temp agency.

All the myths this article attempts to put to rest are not myths. Some of them are 100% true. Temp work may be good to get back into the work force and if all you can seem to find is part time work. But the truth is you are underpaid. Basically the employer would rather pay you a low salary and send several dollars per every hour of your service to the temp agency to avoid ever having to give you official full time employment and thus any kind of benefits/retirement plan.

You also have no rights as a worker and can be fired, transferred, moved...whatever at a whim with absolutely no reason or prior notice.

I've also seen cases where upon being offered full time employment through temping they've asked you to take pay cuts despite the fact that they'll be saving several dollars an hour no longer paying the temp service. This will be done via an excuse that their lowest of the low benefits package costs and bla bla bla. The same speech every employer gives.

This also means that they easily can, and will replace you with another temp if it is cost effective later.

As for the temp agency, you're treated like once they found you a job their job is over. It doesn't matter if the job is treating you like garbage, not living up to their employment agreement, or any number of issues that pop up. The temp agency basically files your name away as "job well done" simply because you are working, even if you call them repeatedly to leave for another opportunity. If you quit, the agency itself will get severely annoyed and basically get nasty with you resulting in a negative reference on your resume even if through no fault of your own.

I've also come into a company as a temp to find out I got paid more than an employee that was there several years to do the same job which results in a lot of bad blood between full time employees and temp workers. You can tell these employers easily when they make such a huge deal not to discuss salaries with your fellow employees. They know they're doing their employees dirty, and expect you to be accomplice to it.

I have tempted from office work, to manual labor, to warehouses and have even had jobs lay me off days prior to receiving incentives like perfect attendance they will sometimes offer to "make up" for the low pay.

May 13 2013 at 2:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

vrhpatricia, I'm glad to hear your experience. I am considering temping because I need to get back to work and have accepted part time positions for some time. Many people have recommended temping because it can lead to a good full time position.

May 13 2013 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the past, I've done temp work, and some people have a negative view of temporary workers. But there are advantages to temping. One is obvious, it keeps you working and gets a paycheck. It can offer good experience, and can sometimes lead to a permanent job offer. I got experience from temping that I was able to put on a resume, and one temp assignment that I had lead to a permanent job offer.

May 13 2013 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vrhpatricia's comment

I meant to write "led" instead of "lead." LOL

May 13 2013 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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