How to Find a Temporary Job

Temporary jobs can be a great way to gain experience in a new field, try out a new type of job to see if you enjoy it, find work in a new city, get your foot in the door for a permanent position, or allow you flexibility for family or other commitments.

Temping can also be a way to make ends meet, or give you a little extra income when you need it or have the time. Some of the types of temp jobs available are administrative, industrial, construction, engineering, banking, medical, warehouse, retail, and restaurant.

Why Do Employers Need Temp Employees?

There are a few different reasons that employers may want to hire on a temporary employee. Very often, a company will have seasonal fluctuations in work. For instance, farms often require additional workers during the peak harvest months while retail stores get a rush of shoppers leading up to winter holidays, and need more staffers as a result.

A temp employee can also fill in covering for full-time employees out on parental leave. Temps are helpful when companies cannot add to headcount; often the temp budget is separate from the budget for full-time employees. Because temps typically do not receive benefits, it is easier to hire them. Plus, hiring a temp has lower stakes than hiring a full-time employee: if the temp doesn’t work out, the employer can choose not to extend their contract, rather than having to deal with the warning and termination process.

How to Find a Temp Job

There are several ways to go about finding a temporary position. Many employers will advertise temporary positions on their websites, in online job listings, on Craigslist, or in newspapers. Word of mouth is a good way to find a job — often, people post on Facebook about temp opportunities, as well as emailing or mentioning them in person.

An advantage to hearing about a temp position through a friend or acquaintance is that you may get a personal reference from the person who shared the opening.

You will go through an interview process for a temporary job similar to that of any regular, full-time position.

Using a Temp Agency

There are also specific agencies that employers can contact when looking for temporary workers, and signing on with an agency is an excellent way to find temporary work that suits your needs. Many agencies have offices in several cities, which is convenient if you move often, and find yourself looking for short-term employment in different locations.

Temp agencies either specialize, or categorize their employment opportunities into different areas.

The Job Interview Process

When you sign on with a temp agency, you will go through an interview process, to help them match you to appropriate positions.

Treat this interview exactly as you would an interview with a company, because this is the company you will be representing when you go to your temp job. The fee for their services is most often paid by the employers hiring the temp workers, and the agency needs to make sure they are sending qualified, professional individuals to represent them.

You may also interview directly with the company that is hiring temp employees. Whether you’re interviewing with an agency or with a potential future employer, here are some tips for interview success:

  • Do your research. Read up on the company and its goals, and learn about the types of temps typically hired by the organization. If you’re interested in temp-to-perm positions, be aware of whether that’s a common arrangement at the employer.
  • Show up prepared: Bring your resume, and be ready to answer common interview questions for temp positions.
  • Know your availability: Are you only available to work during your winter break from college? Available 9 to 5, except on Fridays? Be honest about when you can work, and when you are unavailable.
  • Show good interview manners: Dress appropriately, and show up on time – early, if possible. Listen attentively and use positive body language to convey your attention and interest. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake.
  • Have a few questions of your own. There’s only so much you can find out about a company ahead of time. Use the interview to learn more about the corporate culture, structure, and expectations.
  • Send a thank-you note. Send an emailed or handwritten note to thank the interviewers for their time and to reinforce your interest in the role.
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