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10 Ways to Become a Better Temporary Employee

Updated on February 24, 2010
Photo by Petr Kratochv
Photo by Petr Kratochv

Temporary Employment is an excellent way to secure a permanent job. In my hub “5 Ways Temping Can Help Your Career” I discussed benefits of becoming a temp. In this article I’d like to share information that has helped me be a successful temporary employee. This information can help you, should you decide to become a temporary employee.


1. Be Open Minded

Not all temporary assignments are going to be glamorous. If you are being placed in a position you’re not sure about, keep an open mind. I recently went to an interview through a temporary agency. The position was for Customer Service for a Multi-Level Marketing Company. I had an opinion of the industry already, but kept an open mind. By keeping an open mind I’m still working for that company today and I’ve learned more about the industry.


2. Care About the Assignment

 If you have a short-term assignment, don’t have the attitude of “it’s just a short-term assignment”. Do your best at every assignment. Be friendly, professional, and helpful. You never know your week long assignment could end up a long term assignment and even lead to a permanent job. If you have a bad attitude though, you might not make it through the day.

3. Keep Your Skills Updated

I was training a temporary employee one time, and gave the simple instruction to click on the start menu. “The what?” She asked. Employers are hiring you for your skills. Many temporary agencies will test you beforehand so they know you’ll be a good fit for an assignment. The better you are with computers, office equipment, etc, the more assignments you’ll find.

4. Be Professional

This relates to the caring about your assignment. Dress for success following the Company Dress Code. Be on time. Don’t take long breaks. Do your job. Acting professional hopefully will seem like common sense for you, it should be a freebie for everyone.

5. Arrive Early

There are factors that may keep you from arriving on time to an assignment. Plan for these. If you’re not sure where it is, use MapQuest or another mapping program to get directions. Be aware that there may be traffic on your way. Leave early and give yourself a cushion in case you end up in one of these situations. Plus, when you arrive early it gives a great first impression.

6. Avoid Gossiping

All workplaces have an active grapevine. Don’t get involved in the middle of gossip. It doesn’t matter if it’s directly work related, or just a co-worker’s boyfriend drama, stay out of it. This doesn’t mean that you have to be unfriendly to co-workers, just watch out for toxic conversations.

7. Don’t Worry

I’ve worked along side some great temporary employees. Unfortunately, some of these people were great employees but so stressed out that they couldn’t shine. Sometimes the stress was caused by what would happen after the assignment was over, and sometimes the stress was caused by the assignment. The sad fact is the employees who did the most worrying over little things were always the first to leave the assignments.

8. Be Confident, but Ask Questions when Needed

Having confidence is important while temping, but don’t get too overconfident and make mistakes. Know your skills, ask the important questions needed to complete your assignment, and do your job. If there is an area you’re unsure of, ask.

9. Be Proactive

Once your assigned duties are completed, don’t use the spare time to sit and stare at a cubicle wall or listen to the conversations around you. Ask for something else to do. It makes you look better, and it makes your day go faster.

10. Speak Up

After giving an assignment a chance, if it truly isn’t a good fit, talk to the Temporary Agency about it. I once worked a temporary position as a Medical Transcriptionist. The transcription part was all right, but I don’t have a medical background. I was unsure about the terminology and felt very insecure with my work. I spoke up to the Temporary Agency and was removed from that assignment and found one that was a better fit.

Working as a Temporary Employee can be a great experience. You get a chance to “try on jobs” and get paid while doing it. Following those ten tips above, I’ve had a great time temping. I’ve been asked back with various companies, I’ve been hired on permanently, and I’ve been awarded “Temporary Employee of the Month”. Even though I’ve moved out of the area from the Temporary Agency I started working with, I still keep in touch with them. I’ve developed a good relationship through caring about each assignment I was placed, and using the tips above to be successful. I hope these tips help you, as they’ve helped me. Good luck on the job hunt.


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    • antigravity profile image

      antigravity 2 years ago

      Concentration on your work and timely delivery are the best way to become great employees.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 6 years ago from California

      I just wrote a hub about surviving as a temp. Your advice is very good. It's interesting to see what we emphasize as being important. Later!

    • rocknrodeogirl profile image

      rocknrodeogirl 7 years ago from The Columbia Gorge

      Yuck, I've had those days too, temping isn't all fun. I once had an assignment where somebody was having me pull staples out of a paper (and they actually gave me instructions on how to do this...)

      Good idea on using rattled to rhyme with saddle!! I like it! ;)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      RRG these are great tips. Once in college I worked for the Post Office. The unions were so intimidated by college students working there that they made them give us the confidence-inspiring title of "Temporary Indefinites." I could see why after working there, I would be through with whatever job they gave me halfway through the day and when I asked for more work they told me to just look busy. I almost went postal myself and was very glad I was indefinitely temporary. Thanks for being a fan...and finish that poem on your site! =:)

      Maybe, ...when I get rattled

      Nothing calms me like some time in the saddle.

      Y'all be good ya'hear.

    • rocknrodeogirl profile image

      rocknrodeogirl 7 years ago from The Columbia Gorge

      Yes, have him read it!! These are things that have kept me employed! ;) Thank you for the comment!

    • Richieb799 profile image

      Richieb799 7 years ago from Cardiff, Wales UK

      Hey this is cool, my friend has only been able to get temporary jobs recently, he'd appreciate reading this!