You can look at temp-to-perm positions kind of like a dry-erase marker transforming into a sharpie.

Now, what the chemical likelihood of this happening is…I wouldn’t know.

I took chemistry a loooonnnggg time ago.

But what I can tell you is this: They both look a lot alike and paint a pretty similar picture – except that one picture can be changed around, re-created and built upon while the other is the final image that stays in place.

Make sense?

Let’s go to the whiteboard to draw things out a little bit more…

When you get signed onto a temp-to-perm position you are starting in the same role you might become a permanent worker at. The difference is that you have a lot more flexibility to redirect your career goals should the position not be right for you.

There’s the old saying “try before you buy” which you get to do in this kind of set-up. If the employer likes you and offers to sign you on as a permanent worker, you then have the option of becoming a full-time employee with them (should your experiences have been positive).  On the flipside, you have the ability to decline a role that is not a fit for you and try something else on for size until you figure out what the best sector is for you.

Why Do Companies Offer Temp-to-Perm?


General labour positons are often structured in this fashion for the following reasons:


1) Is there a need?

Companies are often uncertain about production forecasts and hire workers on a temporary basis to determine whether or not they will require a larger number of workers based on the market demand for their product. When it’s a temp-to-perm set-up, there’s a strong inclination that production levels will be high, but the company has also accounted for the possibility that levels will decline.


2) Cultural Fit

Sometimes you have an oil-and-vinegar situation between employer and employee. When two parties don’t mesh and mix well, it’s best to bid adieu without all the ill-will brought upon by terminations. It’s for this reason that a term-to-permanent set-up is often in place. It lets the company see who will fit into their culture the best, hires the best fits on permanently and lets the mismatches seek new avenues of employment.


Factors That Increase Your Chances of Being Permanently Hired

Increased Workload

If things start getting busier and you’re seeing everyone work their hinney’s off – take it as a good sign that your temporary-to-permanent arrangement will come to fruition. When production levels are on the uphill and stay heavy, your chances of turning into a permanent worker increase.

Significant Percentage of Coworkers are Permanent

It’s also a great idea to look around at your co-workers and see what percentage of workers are permanently-hired versus there on a temporary basis. If the majority are permanent workers, your role was likely permanent before as well (until someone either left or was let go). This is a positive sign if you’re wanting to get that steady position, since the general trends are often predictive of your outcomes.

Strong Coworker Relations

Getting along with your peers didn’t just help you stay on the swing at the playground as a kid. It can also help you swing forward into a permanent role. Our actions lead our outcomes, and if you’re acting like a part of the team, you’re going to be more likely to be viewed as a part of the team and become a signed-on member. When you’re on the production line, make sure to make pleasant chatter happen (while abiding to safety measures) but also hang out with your peers during lunch, join company events, and participate in recreational activities your peers might be involved in (like team volleyball).

Routine Dialogue With Your Agency

Keep in touch with your agency on where you stand at your workplace. They might have been given some insights on how the company you’re at perceives you and your work. Take the pointers and feedback and adjust your performance accordingly.

Positive Feedback From Your Supervisor

Approach your supervisor for some small-talk here and there about your performance on the job, how you’re liking the role and generally speaking, what’s happening at the firm. Expressing interest in the company will surely bode well with supervisors, and who knows, if you really start to showcase a strength and interest in the industry, opportunities beyond the possibility of permanent work might begin to unfold.

You want to be genuine in approaching your supervisor, and stay professional but conversational and goal-oriented. If your supervisor doesn’t have much to say about where your opportunity is heading, be respectful and thank them for keeping you in the loop for now. Let them know you’re looking forward to continuing the conversation with them and that you really appreciate their feedback.


Temp-to-Perm vs. Contract Work

Temporary-to-permanent is not a style of contract work, as you are simply working for an employer on a needs-basis with the potential for a permanent role. If they offer you a permanent role, you will sign a contract with them. If not,  your agency will place you in another role.


Logistics of Going from Temp-to-Permanent

If you’ve been offered a permanent position at your new firm, you will become their employee, rather than be working through your agency. At that point, the company will have you sign their proper paperwork and you will no longer be with your agency.

Should you seek employment again, you can always reconnect with your recruitment firm and they will have your information available.


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