Temp to perm

More jobs are being advertised as 'temp to perm'. On one hand it's a great opportunity to try out a role before you commit to it. But could it also mean getting stuck as a perpetual temp when the promised permanent role doesn't materialise?

It may be temporary to begin with, but you could get a permanent job out of it.

It may be temporary to begin with, but you could get a permanent job out of it.

What is ‘temp to perm’?

Temp to perm is slang for work which is temporary, but could lead to a permanent contract. This type of work is often offered by recruitment agencies. A company will instruct the agency to find a worker to fill a role temporarily, with an eye to possibly making them permanent if they are suitable.

Is it a type of contract?

A role offered as temp to perm rarely comes with a contract, so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re offering you a contract immediately – something the recruitment agent should make clear. Any permanent position will only be offered on the condition the employer likes you. Temp to perm shouldn’t be confused with a temporary contract, also known as a fixed term contract, which is a contract for a specific period of time.

What should I do if I’m offered this type of work?

Some people actively seek temp to perm roles because they want to try out a job or sector. Being a temp is flexible – you can leave quickly if you don’t like it. But it also has pitfalls – because you’re only a temp, your employer can give you the flick in a short space of time, sometimes on the same day, if they don’t like your work. As a temp, you have rights, but not as many as employees with fixed-term or permanent contracts who can get benefits such as pensions and health care.

What if I want to go permanent?

Moving from a temping role to a permanent contract is possible, but can take some serious negotiating skills. If you really want the job, you’re going to have prove it – by working hard, volunteering for extra jobs, using your initiative and being helpful and enthusiastic.

Om Ruparel from Yellow Cat Recruitment has some tips for people temps who want to land a permanent role:

  • Know the industry and research the company you’re going to
  • Dress well – even if your fellow permanent employees don’t
  • Get there 10 minutes early and work 10 minutes later than you’re supposed to each day – it will be noticed and appreciated by employers
  • Always turn up on time – a key source of frustration for employers is temps who are late
  • Stay off Facebook, private emails and your phone
  • Try to establish good communication with your boss from the beginning, so you can talk about your role and explore your options

“I always tell people, whether they’re going to work in a place for one day or three months, to treat it as a permanent position,” says Om. “Know the industry and research the company. If you show the employer what you’re made of and add value, they’re more likely to take you on.”

Will I automatically be offered the job if it becomes available permanently?

Unfortunately, getting stuck as a permanent temp is one of the pitfalls of this approach to job-hunting. Though increased flexibility suits some people, losing out on benefits like discretionary bonuses can be annoying. There’s also a lack of job security to worry about. “Recruitment agencies should emphasise that it’s uncertain whether you’ll get a full time job in the end,” says Om.

Even if your temporary role becomes available as a permanent post you may still have to apply for the role, even if you’re clearly the right person for the job. This is because equal opportunities policy often means organisations have to advertise externally.

Picture of boy shaking hands by Shutterstock.

Next Steps

  • Reveal your skills with Define Me and find the right words to tell employers.
  • Download Motimator - an app that helps you get the career you want - by giving you a gentle kick up the ass each day when motivation is running low.
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By TheSite.org Staff

Updated on 29-Sep-2015