What is a Temp-to-Hire Position?


Temp-to-hire positions are becoming a more-common practice in company hiring(photo courtesy of bennfitts on flickr).

Over the past few weeks I worked with a local staffing agency regarding a career opportunity they posted on Indeed.com in Records Management. The position, which required a Bachelor’s degree and some familiarity with education privacy laws, was with a local medical school, and I was quite interested in the opening. After two interviews, one with the staffing agency and one with the college, and multiple phone calls and emails I declined the position because it was only being offered at temp-to-hire, not direct hire. This experience got me thinking, what, if any, are the benefits of temp-to-hire and how exactly does it work?

Temp-to-Hire Definition

 A temp-to-hire opportunity means a person is hired and paid by a staffing agency, but works offsite with a third-party employer. Typically, the employee must complete a pre-determined number of hours as the staffing agency’s employee before they are eligible to be hired directly by any company. One exception to this rule is if a third party company wishes to “buy out” the employee’s contract with the staffing agency; this means they would have to pay off the remaining working hours due by the employee according to the contract.

Benefit to the Employer

The benefit of a temp-to-hire position for the employer is that it provides them with the opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s work ethic, abilities, performance, and potential before making a final hiring decision. If at any time the candidate is determined to be unfit for either the position or the company, the staffing agency can be notified and the employment can be terminated.

In addition, the pre-screening process is completed by the staffing agency. Before an employer even meets a potential temp-to-hire employee, the staffing agency has already discussed the position, requirements, hours, pay, and any other vital information. This process saves the employer a lot of time, paperwork, and decision-making.

Benefit to the Candidate

The unemployment rate in the US is still quite high- 7.7 percent as of March 2013. While it dropped from 7.9% in January of this year, the decrease could be due in part to the temp-to-hire process employers are utilizing. While there are many benefits of temp-to-hire for the employer, there are also some for the employees as well.

  • Morale booster – you’re employed!
  • Paycheck – any money coming in is helpful, right? Plus, the national average for temp-to-hire positions is $15.89 an hour. While this varies by employer, position, and location, there are also benefits available through staffing agencies that one does not have access to if he/she is still unemployed.
  • You get your foot in the door – since a lot of employers are participating in this “try before your buy” method of hiring, if you work hard and prove your worth, the employer may want to hire your on full time. And on the flipside, if you are seeking a career change, this could be your chance to “try before you buy” into the company.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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