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Successfully Turn Your Temporary Job Into A Permanent Position

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Nov 6, 2014 8:35:00 AM

In ICS insights

Temporary jobs are not only increasingly popular but they are also turning into permanent positions at a much higher rate. According to a recent report from CareerBuilder and the American Staffing Association, 35% of employers plan to convert their temporary or contract workers into full-time employees. While the exact figure varies depending upon the company, in the past, approximately 15% of temporary workers would become permanent employees. Among some employers, that number has grown exponentially.

Although some companies report converting 30% of their temporary workforce, other staffing agencies estimate that as much as 70% of their temporary workers transition into permanent positions at the same company. Regardless of the exact amount, one thing is clear, temporary and contract positions are a viable path to permanent employment. While there are no guarantees, there are ways to strengthen your chances of being offered permanent placement.

First and foremost, treat your temporary job as if it were a permanent position. Be a reliable, dedicated, and enthusiastic employee who does not merely meet but exceeds expectations. Approach each task as an opportunity to demonstrate your value and learn new things. If you are genuinely interested in what you are doing, your work will reflect that.

Make an effort to acquire new skills, educate yourself, and, at opportune moments, ask questions. Self-motivation and intellectual curiosity are universally admired traits. Be eager to help and remain flexible, even if it doing something outside of your assigned role or staying late. If you make meaningful contributions to your team, you will not only help others succeed but also illustrate how you directly benefit the company. Once you have acclimated yourself, offer well thought-out suggestions and receive all feedback, whether it is positive or negative, gracefully.

Employers are looking not only at performance but also how well individuals fit into the company’s culture. Every company has a distinct personality and a great deal hinges upon your ability to recognize that and adapt accordingly. First, there are the established, external components of an organization’s culture such as their brand, mission statement, code of conduct, accomplishments, and professional reputation.

If you do your research, you will gather this information quickly. Start with the company’s website, marketing materials brochures, and press items, then examine independent news articles, opinion pieces, and others’ perceptions within the industry and the business community as a whole. You also need to observe the more nuanced, unwritten aspects of the company culture such as how others dress, behave, and interact with one another. You should be able to identify the key players and the company’s priorities.

Most importantly, you must successfully navigate the internal dynamics between departments, individuals, and those you work most closely with, especially your supervisors and peers. If you can blend into the company culture while creating a positive impression, you have an excellent chance of being considered for a permanent position.

Relationships are the cornerstone of any successful career and, if you want to thrive at a company, you must cultivate as many connections as you can. This begins with being a friendly and approachable person who is willing to start as many conversations as you join. If you are a shy or introverted person, this will require a more deliberate and concentrated effort on your part, but that does not mean you are any less genuine than someone who is naturally outgoing.

Introduce yourself to others and engage in conversational chitchat in the elevator or break room. Try not to eat lunch alone most days and attend company social events. If you are invited to a gathering outside of work, go and make the most of it. By integrating into this community and fostering these relationships on both a personal and professional level, you are actually networking and, if you are lucky, you could find a mentor and possibly make a real friend or two.

While you may think it goes without saying, you need to express your interest in a permanent position directly to the company and also to the staffing agency that placed you there. This requires two different approaches. While you should explicitly communicate your desire for a full-time job to your recruiter, you want to be a bit more subtle with your employer. Your job performance is one way to demonstrate your interest but you should also vocalize your zeal for the position and the company. There is no need to gush or overdo it, but a couple of well-placed comments about aspects of your temp job that you enjoy or what you appreciate about the company can be quite effective.

Also, ask for advice on how to improve your performance and become a more attractive candidate for a permanent position. Soliciting feedback and pursuing professional development always are looked upon favorably. Just make sure you pose these questions at an appropriate time and strike a balance between enthusiasm and aggressiveness. Nothing will undermine your efforts quicker than being a pest.

You have probably figured out by now the secret to turning a temporary job into a permanent position is to approach it as you would any other professional opportunity. Combining a personable demeanor with a strong work ethic will always translate into success, one way or another. Even if this interim position does not evolve into a permanent placement, the people you meet and the experience you acquire could lead to an even better prospect. Most importantly, keep in mind that patience frequently pays off if you focus on the present rather than fixate on your future.