When it comes to Temp to Hire Staffing, not all Staffing Agencies are Created Equal!  Try it buy it

In fact, some staffing companies don’t really do temp to hire staffing models that well, preferring instead to hang on to their temporary talent jealously rather than help you hire them.  These are the agencies who charge hefty “conversion” fees if you want to hire one of their “temps” – sometimes as much as 20-25% of the employee’s annual salary.

Other staffing agencies,  typically those who are immersed in flexible workforce trends like PACE Staffing Network, go out of their way to make it easy for you to audition and then hie one of their employees, often without fee.

Three Questions You Can Ask to See if Your Staffing Agency is Up to Being Your Temp to Hire PARTNER?

How do they handle the conversion of their temporary employee to your payroll?

Their answer will let you know if you’re talking to the right partner!  Is there a significant fee for a temp to hire conversion, or do they have ways to allow you to hire their employee without fee.

How will they screen the candidates they refer for a temp to hire audition different from how they might screen for a more routine temporary assignment?

Many  temporary staffing agencies are not willing to spend the time up front to know your company, your culture, your hiring standards so as to be able to do that screening well.  Find an agency who knows that to make the temp to hire strategy work, they have to be selecting “temps” based on their long term fit and motivation to be hired directly.

Are they willing and able to help you create the right temp to hire staffing model for you? 

The right “temp to hire” staffing model, takes into consideration all those things important to you and the auditioning employee and typically have to be customized to your culture and service needs.       

For example, in a perfect world, the transition between the temp and core roles should happen with minimal disruption.    We recommend our clients create a specific set of temp to hire staffing processes that can be consistently applied to all “temp to hire” employees, taking into consideration…….

The Employee’s Pay Rate.

Make sure the amount your staffing vendor pays their temporary employee aligns with what you might pay them once they are hired.   No temporary employee will want to take a pay cut to work for you directly.  Most will be looking for a pay increase at the point of hire.

Benefit Eligibility and Waiting Periods.

Decide how long a converted temporary employee has to wait to become eligible for your internal benefit programs.  Some employers count time as a temporary employee towards their standard eligibility period, making the transition easy.

Pre-assignment Orientation.

Temporary employees who are in “auditioning” mode have different needs for information than an employee who is doing a purely temporary role.  How will their work be evaluated during the auditioning period?  How long will the auditioning period last?  How will the hiring decision be made?  How will feedback be given along the way?


While some clients have either policy or there is a business circumstance where it doesn’t make sense to disclose the possibility one of their “temps” might be hired,  in most temp to hire situations where the client knows they need to hire, it works to discuss the possibility openly, laying out clearly the program that will be used to make the final hiring decisions – when and how that decision would be made.

Employee Assessment and Feedback.   

Most temp to hire programs that have become embedded in a recruiting process, include some structured format for evaluating the employee’s performance, jointly managed by the client and their staffing agency partner.  The client typically defines the performance expectations.  The staffing agency often comes on site to their employee feedback on how they are performing against the employer’s standards.

Regular feedback is important to the success of a temp to hire staffing model, because it allows both the employee and the employer to make good decisions about whether or not the job is the right “fit”.  Part of that fit is to find out how the employee deals with and makes adjustments when they get feedback.

We recommend that this feedback be given consistently to all temp to hire candidates, making sure the employee is clear what wold be expected of them once a hiring decision is made.

Internal Hiring Process.

How do you want the temporary employee to apply for a direct hire role?   Under what circumstances would you require them to complete an application, interview for a job, etc?

To Add Value, Your Temp to Hire Staffing Process Needs to Move Quickly!

One of the primary benefits of the  temp to hire recruiting strategy, particularly in situations where large volumes of employees need to be hired quickly,  is that it gives your team access to a fast moving and lower cost recruiting process.  You can hire a large number of employees quickly, and then take your time during the auditioning period to see how ends up being the right fit for longer term core hiring.  Lengthy or multiple interviews to select a “temp” for these types of environments, often defeats the purpose of the strategy.

Employers also need to keep in mind that in a tight candidate market there is not only competition for employees to be hired directly, but also competition for both temporary and “temp to hire” talent.  In some cases, the length of time an employee is asked to stay in an auditioning mode may need to be shortened or the employer runs the risk of losing the employee to a competitive “go to work now” offer.  A 1-3 month auditioning period is still the norm, but we are also seeing some conversions occurring after only 2-3 weeks. 

Special Considerations for Temp to Hire Programs in Call Center or Customer Service Settings

The temp to hire staffing model has become particularly popular in call center or customer service setting where there are large numbers of employees doing the same or similar jobs, where turnover impacts the amount of hiring that has to be done on a regular basis, and where there are frequent upticks in work volumes that require additional employees or temps just to take care of call volumes.

The temp to hire staffing model has become an effective way to put large numbers of employees to work quickly, while using that temporary workforce as a steady stream of prospective hires.

Most of our call center customers work with closely with us to create a very specific set of screening processes, usually involving a combination of targeted interview questions, skill  and aptitude assessments, and reference checks.  We conduct all the screening and then present the data we uncover to our client as part of the submittal process.

Our recruiting and screening processes are designed not only to improve the quality of employee our client sees, but to minimize the amount of time our client has to spend finding and screening employees so that they focus on other things.  We work together to evaluate the screening data against employee performance as a way to pin point which of many possible screening factors are most consistently tied to employee performance.   And these factors vary depending on the specific type of work the employee is asked to do and the unique elements of their work setting.

Again this is an employee selection improvement process that requires a partnership with your staffing agency every step of the way.  They must be willing to provide their screening results in a data format, and work with you to analyze which screening criteria are most likely to predict success in your work environment.  In some cases PACE  will establish very customized assessment programs designed to mimic the type of work our employee is likely to encounter on the job.

Because staffing and retention is often the number one business challenge in many call centers, the goal of most of our temp to hire programs for call center managers is to deliver the quality of temporary employee who can be hired when needed, but who will also deliver  high quality customer service during the auditioning process.

For our call center clients who hire regularly, our placement target is for our clients to hire about  20% of our “temps” while targeted the other 60% of our temps to complete their short term assignments with a solid performance rating.  Most of our clients use the temp to hire process to  weed out those employees who even though passing all our screening criteria, can’t make it through the client’s training program simply and leave before they even hit the floor.


The team at the PACE Staffing Network are experts at temp to hire staffing strategies which is likely why the temp to hire model has become one of our most popular staffing services.   We can help you custom design a temp to hire staffing or recruiting program that works specifically for your team and its hiring needs.  For a complimentary consultation, contact a member of our Partner Services team at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or call us at 425-637-3311.


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