Permanent Employment Via Temp Jobs

According to the most recent, monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report, only 192,000 new, full time jobs were created. This raised the average, during the first four months of 2014, to a miniscule 138,500 jobs created. Furthermore, BLS reported that:

  1. 20,100,000 Americans were either unemployed, underemployed (i.e. involuntarily working part-time because they could not find a full time job) or just gave up looking for work. This means that 1 in 5 or 20% of every person you meet is either unemployed, underemployed or has just given up looking for work!
  2. The Illinois’ unemployment rate is 2% worse than the national average at 8.7% versus 6.7% nationally!

Additionally, as I reported in a recent article “CEO’s See Increased Sales, But Not Increased Hiring” a new survey of CEO’s by the Business Roundtable uncovered that, even though CEO’s are expecting significantly increased capital spending and sales over the next six months, they are not expecting to dramatically increase hiring! However, the U.S. economy is still creating jobs. They just do not happen to be full time positions. The temporary staffing industry has experienced major growth since 2009. As a result, temporary (also called contract) positions now account for more than 10% of all jobs generated since 2009! How can job seekers become employed full time when most job openings are temporary? One strategy is taking advantage of the simultaneously occurring trend called temp-to-perm conversions. This means that an employer will hire an employee, such as an engineer, scientist, R&D, IT, manufacturing or technical professional, on a temporary basis, try them out for some period of time and then eventually convert them to a full time employee. Unfortunately, because most executive recruiters do not collect fees from this, they tend to advise job seekers against exploring temporary positions with temporary agencies. Furthermore, many technical, engineering and scientific candidates falsely believe that it will derail their full time job-hunting efforts if they investigate temporary jobs. This myth tends to be fueled by both:

  1. Permanent placement firms such as engineering recruitment agencies, scientific recruitment agencies, technical recruitment agencies and other types of full time executive recruiting firms, worried about loosing recruiting fees.
  2. The internal management recruiters of employers not savvy to the contract recruiting market.

Instead, I recommend four steps to help you harness the power of the temporary or contract market. First, continue to explore all your full time employment options. Second, uncover top temporary employment agencies best suited to meeting your needs. For example, please go to for the American Staffing Association’s database. It will guide you to the best temporary agencies based upon such factors as location and occupational category. Third, contact those temporary agencies that seem to meet your requirements. Ask to speak to one of the recruiters that handles your field. Prepare and ask a short list of questions including:

  1. Who are some of your clients?
  2. How many placements have you made in my field in the last six months?
  3. How many of those placements were converted to full time positions?
  4. Who is the primary recruiter who handles my field?

Based upon this phone conversation (or unwillingness of the temp agency to either allow you to speak to a recruiter or answer these questions) decide which firms will best meet your needs. Finally, choose and list with the 3-4 contract temporary placement firms that you feel best meet your needs. This is the case since each firm has its own select sampling frame of key clients. Therefore, you need to make sure that your needs are fully covered with all the proper employers within your desired geographic areas and fields. Remember that the jobs market remains soft and there are no easy answers for finding a full time position. However, pursuing temporary jobs can lead to full time employment through temp-to-perm conversions. Please go to and click on #9 below for a short video I have prepared to help you reminder this trend. What are your thoughts?