From Temp to Permanent: How to Turn Your Temp Job Into a Full-time Gig

by Wendy N. Powell, author of Management Experience Acquired

So you got the temp job and you are hopeful that you will be hired as a permanent employee. How do you make yourself so valuable they can’t refuse to hire you?

1.  Research the company very well. Since you are now a relative insider, use your temp gig as an opportunity to learn about what makes the company tick. Study the information on the internet or intranet and review the mission statement and current goals to make sure you model the expected behaviors and demonstrate how you can contribute to their needs.

2.  Look around. Make a mental note about what qualities the movers and shakers demonstrate that make them successful at the company. Model their behaviors. Dress for success and present a cooperative demeanor.

3.  Don’t upstage the boss. Focus on how you could assist with current work but for Heaven’s sake, don’t say, “At the Acme Company, we did it a better way.” That’s of course unless you are invited to do so. Make sure you communicate with your immediate supervisor about how you could help him or her solve issues that you are working on. Communicate your ideas in a non-threatening manner and don’t alienate your colleagues.

4.  Dig into your personal knowledge base to apply your previous successes. Don’t assume that your boss knows your background. If you worked on a project or presentation that would help the current challenges at the company, sing like a bird. In fact, always have a current resume available. Tell them about your history and how you could tackle the issues of the day.

5.  Demonstrate your dedication. It’s tough to show them about how much you value your longevity with the company because it is likely that your seniority is short. But you can show them how you value your attention to attendance and your willingness to work until the job is done.

6.  Communicate like a permanent employee. Don’t discuss how you are “only a temp.” Dig in to your work and take responsibility, and yes, credit for your good work. Tell the boss that you want to learn about your department so you can do your job well. Don’t forget, you will do better quality work if you understand how your work contributes to the company’s bottom line.

7.  Don’t assume anything. Does the company know that you want to make the temp job your permanent career choice? Hiring managers in the company may think that you are only interested in temporary work. Make your intentions well known; talk with your boss, don’t hesitate to ask for the boss’s support and maybe a reference; research openings in the Human Resource Department, tell them about your intentions to stay and  what you could do for the company.

8.  Don’t burn a bridge with a temp employer. Do your best work and good things will happen. You’ll never know when they will have a future opportunity for you when their ability to hire may change. Leave them with the lasting impression that you are the  type of employee they want to keep as a part of their permanent workplace family. Remember, don’t disappoint yourself and you won’t disappoint them.

About the Guest Blogger

WENDY N. POWELL is the author of Management Experience Acquired: Necessary Skills for Successfully Managing Any Employee (Synergy Books, May 2010). She spent more than 20 years of her career advising managers at the University of Michigan and is currently on the business faculty at Palm Beach State College and the University of Phoenix. For more information, visit