Actions speak louder than words: Workers say temp work is best indicator of job potential

How can job candidates convince the hiring manager they're an ideal match for the position? Survey results indicate that working on a temporary basis is a good start. Nearly half (46 percent) of workers polled said performance on a temporary or trial assignment provides the best insight into whether someone is qualified for a job, followed by the interview (30 percent) and the reference check (12 percent).

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 567 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed full time in professional environments.

Survey respondents were asked, "Which one of the following provides the most insight into whether or not someone is qualified for a job?" Their responses:

  • Performance on a temporary or trial basis
    before a full-time offer is made - 46%
  • The interview - 30%
  • The reference check - 12%
  • The resume - 8%
  • The cover letter - 2%
  • Something else - 1%
  • Don't know/no answer - 1%

"Temporary assignments enable prospective employees to show specifically how their skills add value to the firm," said Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam. "In addition, candidates can determine whether the position is a good fit prior to making a full-time commitment."

Hughes offers the following suggestions for candidates using temporary work to open doors to full-time jobs:

Shift your focus -- While on a temporary assignment, think of yourself as a full-time employee. Take ownership of projects and adopt a service mindset.

Make them an offer -- During the job interview, suggest to the hiring manager that you'd be willing to work on a temporary basis as a means of demonstrating your qualifications. When working with temporary services, let them know you're looking for assignments that could lead to full-time jobs.

It's in the attitude -- Employers aren't just evaluating your technical ability. They also want to see how well you work with others, react to constructive criticism, and handle setbacks. Be positive and upbeat with everyone you meet.

Don't burn bridges -- If your assignment doesn't lead to full-time work, thank the manager and keep in touch -- this person could serve as a reference for you or provide job leads in the future.

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

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