To take full advantage of a temp-to-hire strategy, you need to understand its unique benefits. Traditional views of temporary professionals often focus on the flexibility they provide — letting you staff up or down more quickly and cost-effectively. Temp-to-hire relationships, on the other hand, give you a great way to find the right candidate for a full-time position.

A temp-to-hire relationship starts with a short-term assignment that has the potential to lead to longer-term employment. During this initial trial period, your company has a firsthand opportunity to evaluate a worker's skills as they tackle your projects. And you also see just how well the person fits into your office culture. This real-world assessment offers a far more detailed picture of potential employees than a round of job interviews.

At the same time, your temp-to-hire staff can see whether they’re comfortable with their job assignments, your work environment, their coworkers and their opportunities for career advancement. Through the day-to-day experiences of this trial period, both your company and your potential new hires can reach more realistic decisions about whether the fit is good on both sides. And that can save your company the costs and disruption resulting from a bad hire.

Simplify the temp-to-hire option

One of the easiest ways to find temp-to-hire employees is by working with a staffing agency. They have the experience, connections and skills to evaluate candidates on your behalf, which can improve the odds that your temp-to-hire worker will be a good match. Plus, a recruiter can help you sort out the more stressful details, such as salary, up front, which is especially helpful if the full-time position is newly created.

It's a good idea to state explicitly that you're offering a temp-to-hire position as you start the hiring process. If you're not certain whether there's enough ongoing work to justify a full-time role, mention that too. All that information will become part of the staffing agency's selection process, and temp-to-hire candidates will not be surprised by a longer-term job offer down the road — or your realization that there's not enough ongoing work after all.

Build good relationships with temp-to-hire staff

Keep in mind in mind that the temp-to-hire agreement is a trial period for your company too. And if you want first-rate temporary professionals to stick with your firm, it's important to make them feel valued. Of course, you also need to give them the support that's required to succeed at their assignments. Here are some tips for how to do that:

  • Prepare a welcoming workspace. No one wants to show up for the first day of work and find an untidy work area that doesn't provide what's needed to do the job. Give temp-to-hire staff a space to call their own, and make sure all necessary equipment, supplies and communication tools — such as email and intranet access — are up and running.
  • Provide onboarding activities. The first days and weeks on the job are critical for any new employee's success, and that includes temp-to-hire staff who will be evaluated for a full-time role. To help them fit in and become as productive as possible, take the time to provide a mini-orientation. For example, include a tour of the office. Introduce them to key personnel. Explain how your department works and provide a brief summary of policies, procedures and expectations.
  • Recognize their efforts. Temporary professionals want to be commended for a job well done. So be sure to give them kudos, just as you would full-time employees. If their contributions are appreciated and recognized for making a difference to the organization, temp-to-hire staff will be inclined to work even harder for your firm — maybe even for the long term.

Businesses that adopt a temp-to-hire strategy benefit from observing job candidates firsthand — and by hiring people who have gained a familiarity with your organization and its corporate culture. This approach to staffing provides a hands-on, realistic way of choosing new employees, with less risk of hiring mistakes.