Why Temporary Employees Can Make Great Full-Time Hires

A keyboard key that reads "temp"

When reviewing resumes, chances are you look for a stable work history. However, as you evaluate the job records further, could you be making a mistake and eliminating some terrific candidates based on misconceptions?

Let’s face it, employers are hesitant to hire a job-hopper — someone who may accept a full-time job, get all they want from that job and then quickly move on to something "better." So managers look for administrative candidates who’ve been with a previous employer for a while. That approach could be a big mistake. When you’re evaluating work histories on resumes, make sure you’re not discounting those who've been temporary employees.

Temporary employees may have worked for short periods at several companies. But that doesn’t equate to being a job-hopper. The truth is that the backgrounds of those who’ve held temporary jobs can be just as strong — sometimes more so — than people who’ve worked only full-time positions.

Your competitors may already recognizing this fact. In an OfficeTeam survey of senior managers, more than half (51 percent) said when it comes to evaluating someone’s work background, a long period of consistent temporary assignments is comparable to full-time employment.

So if you're hiring for full-time administrative or office support jobs, don't discount professionals with a solid history of temporary work because of preconceived notions about what that means about their skills or qualifications. You could be overlooking your team's next superstar.

In fact, many of the savviest employers have implemented a temp-to-hire staffing strategy whereby they can evaluate an administrative professional's on-the-job performance in a temporary role before extending a full-time offer. It's a smart and effective way of making sure the worker is likely to succeed in the position before committing to a long-term arrangement with him or her.

Here are a few of the assets temporary employees bring to the table when moving from interim to full-time administrative or office support jobs:

They have the ability to adapt quickly

Each temporary assignment brings something new, so those in this line of work learn to adjust to new surroundings with ease. One day, an interim administrative professional might assist an executive at a Fortune 500 company and two days later, support a couple of sales managers at a small firm. Temporary employees are quite used to being flexible, dealing with varied personalities, business environments and demands. Who doesn’t want an employee who takes change in stride and adapts to new job requirements easily?

Their skills are sharp

Those who have a steady history of temporary work tend to have that history because they were very marketable and easy to place. They got the most out of every temporary assignment, taking the time to learn new technologies and processes that kept them in demand for future work. They may also have taken advantage of free training offered by their staffing firm.

They bring fresh perspectives

Having worked at companies of varied sizes and in a range of industries, temporary employees have been exposed to a lot of ways of handling administrative tasks. This knowledge can help them offer valuable new ideas to your team.

So next time you see a resume with a steady history of temporary employment, be sure to move it to the "yes" stack for further consideration.

If you're hiring for administrative or office support jobs, be sure to download the OfficeTeam Salary Guide to see salary ranges and learn about this year's most important compensation and employment trends.

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More tips when hiring for administrative and office support jobs

Recruiting Tips That Can Help You Hire a Great Admin

This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.