How to make a success of temporary work

by | 04.02.21

The cold reality is that at the moment jobs are few and far between, unemployment benefit is terrible therefore temporary is a good option for lots of reasons. Most employers do not take on people in a temporary capacity directly, they usually always use an Agency like us. Here are some tips on building a good relationship with the Agency of your choice and hopefully getting offered more work .

Treat your Agency as you would a normal employer

Agencies know their clients and act as gatekeepers when a client requires a temporary member of staff. Although an Agency is the vehicle you are the fuel which makes them go and believe me they need YOU. But just what kind of fuel are you? So, focus on building a strong relationship with your Agency. They need to trust you, like you and believe you can do the job they have and they won’t be able to do this if they don’t have the necessary rapport with you.

Make sure your skills are up to date

Make sure your job knowledge and technical skills are current and up to date. As a temporary worker you will be expected to go into a company and just get on with a job. You will be trained on an employers systems but you won’t get training on softwear applications , tasks that you haven’t done before or be taught new skills. So you need to make sure you are on top of what you do and confident on your ability to go in and do the job required.

Prepared to be checked out

If you want to do temporary work you will have to pass a background check . A reputable Agency will always take up employment references and for certain jobs they will also complete a DBS (criminal Bureau Check). Other positions may involve checking your driving licence , your education or your credit record. There could even be a drug test that is performed. If you know there is an issue , be upfront and mention it before the background checks/testing has begun. There are times that a conversation explaining the situation makes a real difference. If you say nothing and the problem is discovered , you will likely not be considered for work at all.

Be nice

Agencies have a queue of people wanting work, they have a lot of choices as to who to give a job to. They will always look for the best qualified person for the role, but equally they will also look for someone they feel will represent their company professionally and who will be pleasant to work with . Being nice sounds simple enough but you need to be brutally honest here. We are have our quirks and if any of these show up in the interview you have with the Agency or when you are dealing with the Agency on the phone or when you are with one of their clients you could become someone they are not comfortable to employ.

Undesirable qualities

If you demonstrate undesirable qualities when in a work assignment the chances are you won’t be offered any other jobs. What Agencies don’t like is laziness , unreliability , inappropriate dress or rudeness of any kind. They also struggle with candidates who are hard to get hold of or people who have turned down work too often . The Agency is going to be your advocate to their clients , so you need to demonstrate that you are someone who will represent them well.

Be excellent when you are in a job

Temporary workers who produce high quality work which is mistake-free and who can use their initiative are really valued. Those who provide that something extra are those who are going to be noticed and remembered. Displaying a strong work ethnic, which includes good time keeping , excellent attendance, dressing appropriately , being positive , showing strong team work skills and adapting quickly to corporate culture , all these things are going to impress an Agency and will get you more work. They will also impress the employer and could result in the offer of a permanent job.

Remember who you employer is

When you accept a temporary job the Agency becomes your employer. Although you will report to a Manager at the assignments you are given, your wages and benefits will come from the Agency. This can be confusing for someone who has never done temporary work before. Many employers use Agencies specifically because they are set up to pay contract workers or staff who are only required on a short term basis. Don’t be concerned that this arrangement could be a hurdle in turning your temporary role into a permanent position. Whilst there is no guarantee that this will happen there is always a good chance. Particularly if you impress the employer.

Learn how Agencies work

Employment Agencies are engaged and paid by employers who are looking for staff and need help in sourcing the right person. This means that an Agencies primary purpose is to find the right person for their client, not to find jobs for candidates. However Agencies can’t do their job without the right candidates. Yes they want to place you in a job but not at the expense of their clients. They will not send you for a position you do not have the right experience for, they will also not give you work if they do not feel you will represent them in the right way. It will loose them a client.

Understand the Agencies expectations

A professional Agency will work with you and tell you what their expectations are. They will also provide you with feedback received from jobs you have completed. Additionally they will provide you with a good description of any job they are asking you to do. They will also give you advise and guidance on what an employer likes and what they dislike. Furthermore they will give you clear instructions of any H+S polices, dress codes, lunch breaks etc that are in place. Most importantly you will be told how and when you will be paid. When they need you timesheet, what they will do in relation to payment and notice required for holiday absences. Other information provided will include what to do if you are going to be late or can’t go into work because you are sick. Apart from being given this information verbally you should also be given a Contract for Services which outlines your employment rights.


Be honest

An Agency should be open and honest with you and provide you with feedback on assignments you have completed for them. However you need to reciprocate . An Agency can only do their jobs well when candidates are honest with them. Don’t accept a temp job knowing that you have interviews for permanent roles in the next week or so, or tell the Agency you have a two week holiday planned just as you start a temp job. You may  be hesitant to share this information for fear it will impact on the Agencies decision to give you a role. But if you are honest and truthful and tell the Agency what your availability is they will work round it. If you don’t tell the Agency it will damage their reputation and yours.

Don’t try to negotiate

Unfortunately for a temp job there really is no room to negotiate. That includes pay rate, hours of work, parking on site or type of duties you are given. A temp job is a temp job. When an Agency matches you with a position you will be given the facts. If you are not happy , speak up! You don’t have to accept any position you are offered but if you do you cannot try to negotiate a better deal for the role at a later date. The Agency will have agreed terms with the employer and as a rule these are set in stone.

Choose the right agency for you

There are lots of Agencies out there so when looking for a job it is important that you choose the right one for you. If you have a specialist skill ie. accounting or IT, it’s a good idea to use an Agency who specialises in these areas. Otherwise you may prefer to work for a branch of a national Agency roup or perhaps someone like ourselves who are small and privately owned. Most importantly you need to find a person in a Agency you feel comfortable working with, someone you trust and someone who gives you honest feedback advice and guidance

The bottom line is if you are unemployed and on the market looking for work temporary work is a good option you may be surprised at the places it will take you and the contacts you will be able to make. It is also a wonderful way of obtaining a permanent position. Like everything else in life though its going to boil down to the energy and enthusiasm you put into it and the attitude you have when doing it. Work with your chosen Agency, not against them, be a good worker and I promise you if they have a job you will get it.


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