Try before you hire: The temp-to-hire strategy

Try before you hire: The temp-to-hire strategy

Putting together a team whose values and work preferences align with those of the company is critical to any company’s success. But how can you accurately predict how a new hire will fit in with your organization’s unique culture?

To find out before it’s too late, many managers are engaging candidates first on a temporary basis. In a new Accountemps survey, more than one-third (34 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said having a candidate work on atemporary basis initially provides the greatest insight into whether he or she is a good fit with the company culture.

Hiring a temporary professional provides what amounts to a trial period for potential new employees. That way, you have the advantage of already knowing some of the individual’s capabilities and personal attributes when making your decision whether to bring them on full time.

There are many different elements that define a business’s culture. At the most fundamental level, the culture is the intangible “style” or overall image projected by a company. Emphasis on such principles as open communication, intellectual challenge, and ethical business practices are also part of a firm’s unique culture.

Specialized staffing expert Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps, says, “Engaging a temporary professional to evaluate her as a full-time employee can help avoid costly hiring mistakes. Those doing temporary work who mesh well with the organization’s culture may assimilate faster and be more likely tostay for the long term.”

Give your temporary professionals the chance to put their best foot forward by taking these steps:

1. Fully inform your staffing firm

Let your recruiter know immediately that an assignment has the potential to become a permanent position, and clearly outline the responsibilities of the job and key aspects of your workplace culture. That way, your staffing firm can search for appropriate candidates who will be able to commit to a permanent position, if offered.

2. Share what success looks like

You can’t make a fair assessment of temporary workers’ performance if they don’t understand what is expected of them. Give adequate direction, including project details and deadlines, as well as company norms that aren’t actual policies, such as employee communication preferences.

3. Make them feel included

Help temporary workers feel welcome by inviting them to the same meetings, team lunches, and events everyone else attends. Make sure they receive emails and other communications about company and industry news.

4. Ask for staff input

Pair a temporary professional on projects with key members of your team and seek your staff’s feedback on how he performed and got along with others. Do not undervalue your team’s judgment of the candidate’s compatibility.

5. Don’t forget they’re also evaluating you

At the same time you’re checking her fit with your needs, a temporary professional is also assessing your company culture and how it fits with her work style preferences. That makes it important to “sell” your company during her time on the job. Showcase the tangible and intangible factors that make you an attractive employer. Emphasize, for example, your company’scompetitive salaries, benefits, stability, community involvement, and work-life balance options.

Temporary work can be a valuable measuring stick for determining how someone will perform in your organization over the long term. Like it does for many managers already, this approach can help you ensure a better fit with the people you hire on a full-time basis.