Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Misconceptions About The Temporary Industry

The temporary industry has exploded over the last two decades and the idea of what a Temporary employee is has changed over the years.
Temporary workers are used in virtually all industries, in both private and public sectors. Previously, we would think of the temporary worker as fill-ins for a front desk or warehouse person. Today, there is a temporary worker for every imaginable skill set---marketing, human resources, accounting, office support, and today, larger companies are establishing and maintaining (or employing) in-house temporary services on a permanent basis, as part of their human resources department. Many large Fortune 500 companies have in-house programs.
Mary Meunier, Branch Manager of Kimco Staffing Services, believes there are many misconceptions about the temporary industry. According to Meunier, many applicants do not perceive temporary work as "a real job." In fact, temporary work can be an excellent vehicle for transitioning or as an audition for a specific job or a specific company.
Why are temporary workers used?

The temporary workforce serves several purposes:
-As an extension of a busy human resources department
-As a way to internally groom and develop an employee
-As a means to recruit a large number of applicants at once
-To assist with overload or cyclical projects (many businesses have predictable growth periods – such as "tax season")
Who works for temporary agencies?

Working as a temporary can either be a smart job search strategy or a life style choice. If you are a career changer, re-entry worker, or someone wishing to get your foot in the door, or to supplement your income, temporary work might be a possibility.
How do you maximize working with temporary agencies?

First and foremost, find out how they operate. Who are their customers? Who do they primarily serve? What skill levels do they serve? Do they specialize in a certain sector of the job market? Remember: using temporary work is one of many tools you should use in your job search. However, it should not be the only tool.
How do you work with agencies?
A good agency will look for a good fit—both for the employer and the applicant. Do you have the right skill set? Will you fit with the other workers? An agency looking to place you quickly without knowing more about you probably is not the best fit. Ask yourself how you were treated? Did they take time to get to know you? Was the office professional in their customer service? Your intuition is important. How well you were treated is very important to the overall success of the experience.
What should you ask the agency?

Find out about their key clients and the industries they serve. Do they cater primarily to temporary work? What is their rate of temp conversion into permanent placements? Can you be considered for both temp, as well as permanent assignments? How long will this assignment last? Can you be exposed to a particular industry, such as biotech or high tech? In short, how they can help you? What company representative will be assigned to you and your point of contact?
What else is important?

Communication! Communication, communication, communication! It is important for both parties to keep in touch. Ask your company representative, how often should you be in touch? Once a week? Every two weeks?
Communication at all levels is important from getting insights into the company to receiving feedback about your resume and interviewing style. Also, if you are in the job search process with a company, the interviewer or placement specialist needs to discuss this with you. Have you been offered a job? Is it in line with your career goals? Do they call you on a regular basis for assignments? Or have you not been called at all? If that is the case, you need to know why.
A final word: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!
Every temporary agency caters to different employers. Sometimes, employers will use a number of temporary agencies to fill their needs. They will have a primary and secondary source. Why not use 3-5 agencies in order to reach your career goals?

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