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What Does It Take to be Successful in a Temp Job?

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Temporary jobs offer flexibility and the opportunity to work on a range of different projects, but they also have their fair share of challenges. Not only are you expected to hit the ground running, but also to drive results from day one.

There has been a major shift in the market where the average assignment is now between three and six months with many often even longer. Temp jobs are no longer just an interim option – they are now considered by many to be the building blocks of a successful long-term career.

I’ve also seen a lot of change in attitude towards temp jobs over the years, with companies having high expectations about what a temp worker can bring to their workplace. When applying for a role, temps need to go through an informal interview process where they sell themselves and their achievements. Now, more than ever, it’s important for temporary workers to be prepared to show off their soft skills as well as technical capabilities.

To help you secure and thrive in your next temp role, here are my top tips for how to be a good temp and the qualities employers look for in temporary workers:

Positive Attitude

To put you in the best possible position to be offered the role, it’s important that you demonstrate a positive approach to the role and the company. You need to convince employers that you not only have the right experience and skills needed for temping but also that you are keen to learn and can pick things up quickly.

We know that temps are quite often thrown in the deep end, filling empty vacancies or brought on as surplus staff to help with a specific project. During the interview process, aim to give the employer confidence that you will get to grips with things quickly to start contributing to the team or project as soon as you arrive.  This can be done by providing examples of your past results and track record.  Leave them with the sense that you will be a safe set of hands and can deliver.

Confident Communication and Listening Skills

Clear, confident communication is a key skill needed for temping. There’s nothing worse than a new member of staff asking the same basic questions over and over again. While employers will naturally offer a certain amount of leniency with temps, they also need you to demonstrate active listening skills.

This means taking down notes, asking follow up questions to clarify any information, repeating key points back to show you understand and taking feedback on board. This goes for both in the interview process and when you’re on the job. Demonstrating these skills will instil confidence in the employer that you are taking the role seriously.

Problem Solving Skills

When you start a temp role, you don’t necessarily know all of the processes and policies in that particular work environment. Employers really value temps that try to solve issues themselves by taking steps to break it down and figure out how to resolve it before asking for help.

There will certainly come a point when you need further direction, but it’s a positive step to show the work you have done on your own. Demonstrating initiative is essential to be successful in a temp working environment, so try to have a few examples prepared for your interview, showcasing when you’ve sought to resolve problems independently.

Results Focus

Temps are quite often brought into an organisation at a time when performance is paramount. Whether you’re working on a project with tight delivery timeframes or within a team that is temporarily short-staffed, your employer wants to see results in a very short time period.

Organisations respond well to candidates who show a real desire to achieve targets and good outcomes, and it’s always handy to think about a few cases where you’ve produced quantifiable results for your interview. Your CV and cover letter are also key places to list out results and achievements in previous workplaces, in addition to your responsibilities.


Life as a temporary worker is filled with opportunity, where you can gain valuable experience in a range of different organisations and environments. There is so much variety on offer, along with the chance to constantly add to your professional toolkit.

By demonstrating these skills during the hiring process and on the job itself, you are sure to thrive in your work environment and set yourself up for a successful future career.

If you’re looking for a new temp job or would like to discuss your options, reach out to me and the specialist temp recruitment team at Beyond Recruitment.

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