Starting a new job of any type can be difficult and stressful, and this is certainly true for new temporary employees. You want to make a good impression and appear knowledgeable but don’t want to come off as a “know-it-all,” an overly friendly “weirdo” or someone whose “gung-ho” attitude makes others uneasy (among all the other possibilities an anxious mind can conjure up on the first day). Working on a temporary assignment carries with it its own unique set of variables to consider. However, with the right approach you can not only avoid falling into any pitfalls, but also really thrive as a temporary employee, potentially setting the stage for an offer of permanent employment in the future. Starting a new temporary job soon? Following the 5 Keys to Success for New Temporary Employees below is a great way to start your new assignment off on the right foot.

Get Away from Inflexible Workforces

In our current day and age, there’s simply no reason for business owners or hiring managers to feel beholden to a traditional workforce. During the first quarter of 2017, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.07 million temporary and contract workers per week. There are more temporary employees than at any point in history, and more and more business owners are moving away from an all-permanent workforce because of the lack of flexibility.

“Keep the staffing service updated on your assignment status and how things are going. Don’t let them be caught unaware or with surprises.” [1]

This approach goes a long way toward making you considered a valued employee by them, increasing your opportunities for future assignments, as well as helping them to make your work experience as smooth as possible. On the flip side try to avoid “over-sharing” every little detail or issue with the staffing company if you can easily resolve them yourself; you don’t want to get the reputation of being a “high-maintenance” employee who can’t be self-sufficient when you are placed in a temporary job assignment. Finding the right balance will make you a valued employee that your staffing agency will feel confident about sending out to any new assignments in the future.

Learn & fit into the client company’s culture

When you get placed at a client’s company as a new temporary employee, it can be very helpful to try and get a sense of their company culture as soon as possible. A company’s culture includes things such as their dress code and other formal elements like their policies and procedures. But, it also includes a number of informal elements like how employees tend to interact with one another or how much initiative workers are expected to take with projects or tasks.

illustration using icon symbols to represent new temporary employees

Source: Enplug Blog

When you first start at a new position, take some time to get “the lay of the land” in terms of that company’s specific culture; it will help you to fit in better over the long term and make you a more valued asset to the company. When a company hires a temporary employee they don’t want to have to adjust their usual way of doing things to your unique style and expectations. If you learn how their company culture operates, you can adjust your work style to fit in seamlessly, making the work experience smoother for everyone.

Be Adaptable & Easy to Train

New temporary employees, by the nature of their position, are constantly being put into new work environments with their own set of expectations and work flows. To be successful as a new temporary employee, you need to be adaptable and open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. As a temp, client companies won’t expect you to know how to do everything when you arrive, in fact, some form of training is an expected part of every temporary assignment. So, the key thing for you is to show that you are eager and willing to learn new skills and processes from day one.

When being trained make sure you take notes if appropriate, ask relevant questions, and demonstrate that you are picking up the key elements of the job as you progress through your training. It’s also important to identify who at the company is an appropriate resource for any questions that may pop up as you start working on your tasks or if there are any resources you can consult (such as manuals or tutorials) if you run into any issues as you work on projects.

Build a rapport but don’t get too familiar too fast

Building a comfortable working rapport with your colleagues on a job assignment can be an important factor in helping to make your experience as a new temporary employee as productive and rewarding as possible. But, it is also important to not get too friendly, personal or familiar too quickly. For any new employee, particularly a temporary one, there is a period of getting to know your fellow workers that shouldn’t be rushed by “over-sharing” too much about yourself or asking prying personal questions of your co-workers. In fact, being too personal or friendly too quickly can actually end up putting people off and making them less likely to establish a friendly, cooperative working relationship with you.

Five ways to build rapport at work

  1. Awareness of others
  2. Showing interest
  3. Sensitivity
  4. Choosing the right words
  5. Joining the dots
As a temporary employee you should also be aware that some permanent employees may view you as an outsider or even an actual threat to their position. You shouldn’t take this personally and should respect the privacy of individuals who may seem “stand-offish” or unwilling to connect with you. Likewise, it is probably best to avoid taking advantage of all of the free perks that may be offered in a workplace until you have been there for a significant time (if at all). Getting the reputation as “the temp who ate all the snacks” isn’t a great way to make a first impression, nor is criticizing a given company’s way of doing things. Even if the permanent employees agree with your assessment, they may respond negatively to critiques or suggestions to someone who has just come onboard as a temp.

Work hard & assemble a network

Building a comfortable working rapport with your colleagues on a job assignment can be an important factor in helping to make your experience as a new temporary employee as productive and rewarding as possible. But, it is also important to not get too friendly, personal or familiar too quickly. For any new employee, particularly a temporary one, there is a period of getting to know your fellow workers that shouldn’t be rushed by “over-sharing” too much about yourself or asking prying personal questions of your co-workers. In fact, being too personal or friendly too quickly can actually end up putting people off and making them less likely to establish a friendly, cooperative working relationship with you.

By showing off your hard work and dedication at all of the temporary assignments you are given, you building a reputation as a good employee among an ever-widening network of individuals and companies. In addition to letting your work “do the talking,” it can also be helpful to your future prospects to consciously build a network of contacts at different companies who may be able to offer you employment in the future. However, it is also important to not do this in a “pushy” manner that implies you are looking past your current assignment and only focused on your future career goals. As with much of this advice, finding the right balance is a key element to assembling a network of business contacts as well.

Conclusion

If you follow these 5 Keys to Success for New Temporary Employees, you should get the most out of your experience as a temporary employee and potentially set yourself up for more long-term opportunities of permanent employment (if that is what you are looking for). Of course, the first step in this process is actually registering with a reputable and experienced staffing agency like TPG Staffing. We can help match you up with temporary opportunities that fit your skills and expertise, giving you the best chance to shine and achieve your long-term career goals. If you haven’t already, register at our job seeker registration page today!