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How to improve your recruitment processes for temporary staff

Posted on 1/04/2019 by Natasha Fardell

How To Improve Your Recruitment Processes For Temporary Staff

Not for profit organisations are heavily reliant on temporary staff – 10% of third sector workers are employed on a temporary basis, compared to 8% in the public sector and 5% in the private sector. The increasing scarcity of available permanent candidates, skill shortages and the effects of Brexit and an unstable economy are likely to result in a rising demand for temps in 2019. In this competitive market, how can charities continue to ensure they can find and hire the temporary staff they need?

​Why use temporary staff?

There are a wide variety of reasons why an organisation might consider hiring a temporary worker instead of a permanent employee, including:

  • To cover staff absences due to holidays, sickness or parental leave

  • To provide support to your existing team during busy periods, eg following marketing campaigns or during periods when there is an upsurge in donations

  • To work on a specific short-term project

  • To plug skills gaps while you train up existing employees

  • To prevent any drop in productivity while you recruit for permanent staff

  • To avoid recruiting permanent staff in times of uncertainty when funding or demand is fluctuating

  • To audition workers for permanent roles and see how they do on the job

Four ways to improve your temp hiring process

1. Plan

Many employers leave hiring temps until just before they need them to start, which can make the whole recruitment process stressful and hectic. Although this can’t always be avoided, taking some time at the start of the year to plan can make the whole thing smoother.

Do you have periods where you are traditionally busier? Do you have any large-scale campaigns planned for the year? Do you have objectives that will require bringing in new skills? Spending time going thinking through your likely future recruitment needs means you can brief your recruitment consultancy well in advance, giving you a better chance of finding the best temporary talent.

You’ll also need to decide whether you need a temporary worker working on an adhoc basis, or one working to a fixed term contract. If you employ a worker for longer than 3 months, it’s usually more cost efficient to hire on a contract basis.

Finally, don’t forget that the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) state that any agency worker who reaches 12 continuous weeks in a role becomes entitled to the same treatment, pay and benefits as any comparable permanent employee.

2. Communicate

Using a recruitment consultancy can greatly boost your chances of finding a great temp quickly and easily, but giving them a good brief is an essential part of this. Ideally, you’ll have a proper job description for the role, with essential and nice-to-have requirements for the role, and a set pay scale and any perks. This will avoid wasting everyone’s time with unsuitable candidates.

A specialist consultancy like TPP Recruitment will have expert knowledge of the sector and current recruitment trends, and they’ll be able to advise you about how realistic your expectations are. Pay rates are rising and finding a temp with lots of relevant experience and skills will need an appropriate salary. If budgets are very tight, you could consider hiring for soft skills like enthusiasm and reliability and train up your temp in any specific software etc they will need in the role.

3. Move quickly

Third sector organisations tend to be risk-averse when hiring and want to take their time in order to make the right decision. However, the current candidate-short market means this slow timescale is having an effect on charities’ ability to hire the best talent. This outcome is even more pronounced when it comes to temporary staff.

For professional temps, being out of work means not earning, so they prefer to have their next assignment lined up while they are still in their previous role. To ensure this, temps usually accept any offer that meets their main requirements around salary, timings and commutes.

If you have an extended recruitment process, or delay making an offer, your preferred candidate is likely to go elsewhere, and you’ll have to either accept an inferior candidate or start the recruitment process again. This can damage both your organisation’s productivity and the morale of your existing team as they struggle to cope.

TPP Recruitment have a pool of readily available temporary staff with specialist skills and experience of the charity sector, so we can help you to fill your jobs quickly and at very short notice.

4. Have an onboarding process

Just as you do for permanent staff, going through a prepared induction process for temporary staff can avoid problems in the future and get them up to speed quickly. Ideally, you want to get your temp settled in and working as quickly as possible, rather than waiting around until someone has time to tell them what to do.

A member of staff (usually their line manager) should be assigned to meet and greet them as they arrive and run through a checklist of essential items, including:

  • A brief background of your organisation and exactly what you’d like the temp to achieve

  • Who they report to and who can help them if they have a problem

  • Their desk and working space and the location of toilets, kitchen etc

  • Health & safety and emergency procedures

  • Working hours and break times

  • Your organisation’s culture & dress code

  • Guidelines on internet or mobile usage during working hours

It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from your temp at end of their assignment. This can help you improve your processes and spot any problems.

If you’re looking for temporary staff specialist skills and experience within the non-profit sector, or if you’d like some tailored advice on how to attract the best temps to your organisation, get in touch with our Office & Specialist Support team on or 020 7198 6020.