The Expert Guide to Navigating a Temporary Hire

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The flexible resource of an interim or temporary hire can benefit an organisation’s finance offering tremendously. Whether it be bringing in a specific skillset to help achieve strategic objectives or taking the pressure off the rest of the team during a busy period, an interim can add value quickly.  But how do you go about finding the right person for your team fast who is prepared to commit to the duration of a contract? Here are my top tips: 


Before you approach a recruitment specialist, explore your own network, internal options and friends of current employees. 


However, apply the same assessment criteria as you would to any unknown external applicant. There can be a tendency to apply less rigor and control during an interview process if the individual is a referral. Just because someone is believed to have a skillset and is a “good guy” doesn’t mean they are right for your team requirement. 


Engage one agency exclusively in the first instance. 


Hopefully you will already have a good relationship with a recruiter who knows your company and culture. Exclusivity leads to the recruiter having complete ownership on delivery and accountability of who they are representing. A good recruiter will put in the extra effort and pressure on themselves to find the right person and hopefully take telephone references to gain good insight into prospective candidates. If you engage multiple agencies your role may not be prioritized (multiple times) and recruiters may be tempted to focus on quantity rather than quality. 


Recruit for character and mindset rather than getting caught up purely in previous experience and industry sector. 


The pool of candidates available for temporary contracts is small therefore you are likely to have to “trade” on certain aspects and you must prioritise what is important and non-negotiable. If your temp has values of honesty, integrity and respect, this will drive behaviours that will allow them to fit into the team better. 


When interviewing, look for evidence of a flexible approach and delivery. 


Ask for specific examples of where the person had to pick things up quickly, run with something to a conclusion and also dig into whether they are a naturally curious person who will try and find the answers to a problem themselves. Not everyone is a natural problem solver (and it isn’t required for every role) however it’s important to get a feel for this mindset so there are no surprises when someone starts in your team. You want to find out if they take ownership of their delivery and if they can build relationships with others. 


As with any new person joining a team, it is important to make them feel included and welcome. 


Never consider them as “just a temp”. You want them to go the extra mile for you and they might be a valuable resource if a permanent role comes up in the team. To ensure their productivity and commitment, make sure they are introduced to everyone and make sure their work space sits within the team. Show them around the office and let them know what the norms are for breaks, lunch and hours. Making them feel part of the team will increase the likelihood of keeping them to the end of the contract. 


For all recruitment of interim or contract work please get in touch with Lucy Edgar, Head of Interim on 0131 603 7747 or