How To Hire Temporary Employees

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When evaluating your organization's staffing needs, you may realize that you only need someone for a one-time project or season. Instead of recruiting and onboarding a full-time employee for a position that may only last a few months, you can consider hiring a temporary employee. In this article, we explore some reasons why you should hire a temporary employee, list the steps you can take when hiring temp workers and explain some of the challenges associated with hiring temporary employees.

Related: Temporary Employee: Definition, FAQs and Rights

Why should you consider hiring a temporary employee?

Companies typically hire temporary workers when there is a need for part-time or seasonal staffing. This usually occurs when an organization has a vacancy that they need to fill quickly, is under-resourced or has experienced rapid growth. For example, you might hire a temp when the organization has:

  • Seasonal customer demand

  • An employee taking maternity or sick leave

  • A temporary increase in manufacturing orders

  • A clearly defined, short-term need

Aside from allowing you to quickly address an urgent staffing need, hiring temporary employees can help ensure job security for the permanent members of your staff. That's because if the business faces a need for downsizing, you can eliminate the temporary positions first. When you hire temp workers, you also enjoy a fair amount of flexibility. You can treat their employment as a trial period, allowing you to find employees that have proven that they're ideal for the position and your company.

Though temp workers are treated like regular staff members in nearly every way, they rarely receive employee benefits. If they do enjoy benefits, such as health insurance, it's usually through the temp agency that placed them. This can end up saving your company money.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Temp-To-Hire Jobs (With Definitions and Tips)

How to hire temp workers

You can follow these steps while hiring temporary employees:

1. Evaluate your needs

Before you begin the hiring process, determine what kind of role you need to fill. You can do this by creating a detailed outline of the position you need to fulfill, including things like the duration of the position, job responsibilities and training required. Depending on your needs, you can hire one of three types of temporary worker:

  • Seasonal: Seasonal employees help organizations meet higher demands during periods of peak traffic. For example, many industries seek extra help during the holiday season.

  • Temporary: Temporary workers are contract positions that fill short-term positions. They can help with one-time projects, fill company gaps by performing a specific service that existing employees are unable to or cover a position while a permanent employee is on leave.

  • Temp-to-hire: Temp-to-hire workers fill a short-term role with the possibility of gaining permanent employment once they complete their contract. This type of temporary worker is beneficial for companies that would like to assess someone's company compatibility and work ethic before hiring them full-time.

Once you have identified the job specifics, you can begin thinking about your ideal candidate. Make a list of the characteristics, experience and skills you're looking for. Most organizations hire candidates that require little training for the position. By finding candidates who are already equipped with the necessary skills and experience, you can minimize the cost and time spent on training.

2. Attract ideal candidates

Crafting an effective job description enables you to find a temporary worker that meets your company's needs. Your job description should include:

  • Job title: Use a job title that is universally understood and accepted, even if you organization has a unique label for the position.

  • Company information: Briefly describe your organization, including its history, values, culture, mission and milestones.

  • Primary duties: Outline the position's daily responsibilities.

  • Requirements: List the qualifications for the role, including the required or preferred experience, characteristics, education and skills. You should also provide key details about the position, like the timeline.

3. Choose the right recruiting methods

You can find temporary employees using a variety of methods, such as:

  • Hire a temp agency. Temp agencies handle the recruiting for you. When working with an agency, you simply tell them your needs and they find the ideal candidate using their extensive pool of professionals. This can be a great option if you are short on the time or resources needed to attract, interview and select temporary employees.

  • Try traditional advertising. If you're hoping to attract candidates from a specific institution or area, traditional advertising, such as posters or flyers, can be extremely effective. By display your job ad at your workplace or local businesses, you can get the attention of candidates who live in the area and might even be familiar with your brand.

  • Use job boards. There are certainly general job boards that you can use, but niche job boards are a great way to find candidates that already specialize in your field.

  • Advertise on social media. You can advertise your hiring needs on social media platforms if your organization already has an established online presence. Your followers are familiar with and likely respect your brand, allowing you to find candidates that align with your mission and values.

  • Contact former temps. If your company has hired temporary workers in the past, consider accessing this existing pool of potential hires. These individuals are likely already familiar with the role's responsibilities and requirements, which means you can shorten your recruitment and onboarding process.

  • Recruit at local colleges and universities. College and university students are usually eager for new opportunities that help them build their resume and develop their skills. You can approach the career services departments at institutions and post the position on college job boards.

  • Ask employees for referrals. Your employees know the company and its needs, making them a great resource when recruiting temporary employees. They may have a personal recommendation or advertise the position on their social media profiles, saving the company time and money.

Related: Q&A: How Do Temp Agencies Work?

4. Review the applicants

Review the applications and begin creating a list of candidates who satisfy most of the job's qualifications. From there, you can either begin conducting interviews or shorten your list of prospects by emailing some screening questions, such as:

  • What's your ideal work environment?

  • Are you looking for a full-time position?

  • What are you hoping to learn through this opportunity?

  • How big was your team at your last job?

  • What interests you about this role?

  • What is your biggest strength?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

Once you've narrowed down your list, you can begin the interview process and perform background checks. Even though temps only work at your organization for a short period of time, background checks allow you to verify their address history, social security information and criminal records. If you're still having trouble selecting one candidate after the interview and screening, you can have applicants perform assessments or conduct a second interview.

Related: How To Interview Someone for a Job

5. Hire your new temp

When making a job offer, you should include key details, like the job title, work hours, compensation and start date. If both parties are satisfied with the specifics, you can begin legalizing the employment agreement by:

  • Creating a contractor agreement. This acts as a legal contract between employer and employee, ensuring that everyone understands what is expected of them. It includes things like job requirements, employee benefits, company policies, the project's timeline and compensation. Both parties date and sign the agreement.

  • Completing an employment eligibility verification form. Employers must verify an employee's identity and eligibility to work in the United States by filling out an I-9 form for all new hires.

  • Having the temp sign a non-disclosure agreement. Depending on your organization and industry, you may want to protect your company's intellectual property by having new employees sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Drawbacks of hiring temporary employees

Though hiring temps has quite a few advantages, there are some challenges to consider, such as:

  • Training costs: When you hire someone new, they inevitably require a certain amount of training and onboarding. A member of staff usually diverts their attention from their normal daily tasks to train these new employees, which can end up costing the company time and money.

  • Questionable reliability: Though most temps are reliable, you could find that the performance of your temporary employees is lower than your permanent staff members. You can help avoid this issue by working with a reputable temp agency.

  • Safety issues: If the job requires safety training, temporary workers have a higher chance of suffering from an on-the-job injury. Regardless of their experience, always watch temporary employees to make sure they can safely perform their responsibilities before leaving them unsupervised.

  • Morale struggles: Sometimes temps have a difficult time connecting with their permanent coworkers. Team building exercises are a great way to encourage communication and camaraderie.

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