How to turn a temp job permanent

‘Growth demands a temporary surrender of security’ – Gail Sheehy, author and cultural observer. Gwen Cheeseman helps you stay where you are

Get your foot in the door – many people dismiss temping opportunities immediately as they are more concerned with the security of a full-time position. But temping is an easily overlooked opportunity which may work out well for you when job-hunting. If you treat it like an ongoing interview – your chance to impress – then the chances are you could find yourself with the full-time job you were after.

Do the basics well – ‘Remain punctual and professional at all times,’ advises Dominic Moore, manager – executive accounting, at Hamilton James & Bruce in Australia. ‘If you really want the job, go the extra mile and show the client real quality work no matter how mundane the task.’

Be friendly – if you get to know people, then you’re far more likely to be considered as a full-time prospect. ‘Make the effort to get to know your permanent colleagues, join them for lunch or drinks after work instead of just being “the temp” in the corner. If permanent opportunities come up, they may recommend you to relevant line managers,’ says Calum Robson, marketing manager at Hays. Moore agrees: ‘Build relationships with other team members – if there is genuine rapport they will become your advocates.’

Make the job your own – Robson advises: ‘Show an interest in the tasks you’re performing – how they contribute to the company’s business, or to your department – people like an enquiring mind. Make yourself indispensable. You’re much more likely to be hired if people just can’t imagine the place without you.’ Go the extra mile and do more than you’re required to do. Keep your productivity high, but don’t finish things too quickly as sometimes it can be perceived you’re rushing or not taking care. If you’re at a bit of a loose end, ask the people you work with if they have anything you could help with. This shows you are willing, and creates a great impression.

Don’t tread on toes – even though it’s good to be enthusiastic and even introduce a few ideas, be sensitive to those around you. If you think there’s a much more effective method of completing a task than the way you’ve been shown by a colleague, don’t go to their superior and suggest they do it your way. This is more likely to upset people. It’s best to introduce ideas gently, by asking intelligent questions, as you never know how influential people within the company are, and offending them could blow your chances.

"Make the effort to get to know your permanent colleagues, join them for lunch or drinks after work instead of just being 'the temp' in the corner"