Hands Up

The  “temp-to-hire” staffing model is growing in popularity.  But when is the “audition” NOT the RIGHT solution?

Answer:  That is a great question!  We suspect you caught us being so enthusiastic about all the reasons our clients should consider a temp-to- hire staffing model, we didn’t spend enough time letting our readers know when it’s NOT the best choice as a method of hiring.

While multiple studies have shown that 40-60% of all new hires will fail at some point within the first 18 months of hire, driving the trend toward a “temp-to-hire” model, there are times when the risk of making an early term hiring mistake must be outweighed by other concerns.

Temp-to-hire staffing programs don’t work when the type of candidate you are seeking is already employed.

Any scenario where there are very few qualified candidates in the open market, sticking too tightly to the  temp-to-hire model often means a large segment of “possible candidates” will not be considered.  More importantly, you will be limiting your access to the full candidate marketplace – an opportunity to learn how the job you are trying to fill is done by other companies.

Temp-to-hire staffing models are not as effective for jobs where a candidate’s skills and experience are the primary key requirements…

…not the soft skills often put into the category of “fit”.   For these types of jobs, which are common in the IT arena, specific skills are essential to completing specialized work.  Asking a candidate with a proven background of doing the same or similar work to first  “prove themselves in a job audition”,  is likely to be problematic.  Not only will an extended period of seeing them work in your environment not add much value to the selection process, but it is not a competitive way to attract the right candidates to your company.

The solution is not always to hire direct as either the issue of long term “fit” can remain unresolved, or the job actually lends itself better to a long term contract employee, where skills and experience are what matters most.

If your own hiring needs are uncertain, going through a formal “temp-to-hire” staffing process may not be your best option. 

If budgets are uncertain or it’s tough getting approvals to add FTE, rather than casting a job as a “temp-to-hire” it is likely best to define the job as an “interim contract role”…and let the hiring process take place more organically.  You know you have work to be done NOW…but don’t confuse that with the work that may be needed at the end of a more interim staffing solution.

Keep in mind, the profile and job satisfiers of most contract focused candidates are very different from the profile and job satisfiers of candidates seeking permanent placement.

Asking an employee with a direct-hire mindset to accept a contract role, doesn’t always work in the same way as asking a contract-minded candidate to work in a temp- to-hire audition scenario.

The effective use of temp-to-hire staffing strategies is a specialty of the PACE Staffing Network.  We know how to make this hiring program work in the way intended.   For a comprehensive review of your unique staffing challenges, contact a member of our Partnership development team by calling 425-637-3311 or emailing us at infodesk@pacestaffing.com

Jeanne Knutzen


This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network, a leading Northwest staffing company who has been helping  local employers find and hire high talent employees for over 40 years.  For additional ideas and information on how you can tackle the current marketplace in terms of temporary, contract or permanent employment solutions – contact the PACE team at 425-637-3312 or email us at  infodesk@pacestaffing.com

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