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What's the difference between temporary and temp-to-hire?

Understanding Temporary vs. Temp-to-Hire

If you’re looking for work, you’re bound to come across the terms “temporary” and “temp-to-hire.” But what, exactly do they mean and how do you know which is best for you?

According to BusinessDictionary, temporary employment is where you are expected to remain in a position only for a certain period of time. That time could be based upon completion of a project, availability of funding or other circumstances, like replacing someone on leave who is expected to return.

This type of work is also referred to as seasonal employment – like at a retail shop during the Christmas season, or summer work at a pool. Other terms you might see used are: temps, contract, interim, outsourced or freelance.

Employment, or staffing agencies like Supplemental Staffing, specialize in providing qualified temp workers to companies. In this case, your employer is the agency and your assignment is at the specific company. You might also apply directly to a company that is advertising for temporary or seasonal work.

Temporary work could be either full- or part-time, depending on the needs of the employer.

In fact, Investopedia says that the use of temps has given rise to a “gig economy” where temporary, flexible jobs are common and companies use independent contractors or freelancers instead of regular full-time employees. A couple of examples of the gig economy are Uber and Airbnb.

Temporary vs. Temp-to-Hire

In a temp-to-hire or contract-to-hire situation, you begin at a company as a temporary for a short period of time, which could be from three to six months.  If you perform well, you become eligible for full-time employment and company benefits.

Temp-to-hire positions are most often done through employment or staffing agencies. During the temporary phase, you are paid by the agency. Once the temporary phase is over, you transition to an employee of the company and are then eligible for vacation, health insurance and other company benefits.

As in anything, there are pros and cons to each process.

If you like varied work and schedules, temp positions through an agency may be perfect for you as it is likely you’ll experience many different types of work places and tasks. Many agencies will honor your request for specific hours (like no third shift), even if those requests limit the types of positions they can offer you.

And if you have plans for a family vacation, you can make yourself “unavailable” for work and not accept any assignments that week.

Such flexibility means that you can gain valuable experience, especially if you are transitioning to a new industry or returning to the job market after an absence. Find out how you can get the career of your dreams, even if you have been out of that industry or workforce for awhile!

Need Experience?

But the staffing agency is your employer throughout, and will have rules and regulations to be followed while you are working for them. Additionally, you might not be eligible for any benefits such as a health insurance, sick days or paid time off.

With a temp-to-hire, both you and the employer have an opportunity to see if you’re a good fit before signing on the dotted line. You get to see what the company and role are like and the company gets to see if you’ll meet their needs and contribute to their success. It’s basically a long-term job interview.

The draw-back is usually the economy. If the economy should change, or the company loses product, or market-share, they may no longer need your position and might eliminate the temporary employee before they become full-time.

However, when you’re looking for a long-term position, temp-to-hire is the best path to take.

Topics: Temp-to-Hire, Temporary/Seasonal/Contract, Gaining Experience