The Temp to Perm Service Model

Today, I want to focus on the ever-changing temp-to-perm product that most staffing agencies tout as their specialty.


Most staffing agencies are actually in what we consider the “temporary services business.” Some specialize in providing candidates on a permanent basis while others prefer long-term contracts that are typically based upon the length of a project. Many provide all of these services as well.


When temp to perm came about, the original intent was to act as a “try before you buy” product, which made sense because it gave the customer a chance to determine whether or not the candidate was a fit for the organization. Typically, within a short period of time, the customer (and sometimes the candidate) would make a determination if the match were successful for both. If it was, that was great, and the candidate would roll over to the employer in approximately six months. If not, the agency was given an opportunity to replace the candidate at no charge to the customer.


As technology advanced and competition grew, the temp to perm model has evolved and is still very popular. However, it has taken on a whole new meaning. Customers are a little disillusioned by this model because they find that they may take a chance on a candidate that requires a specific training or methodology, which may take a little longer than some of the older and more reliable skill sets that used to flood the marketplace. As technology became increasingly specific and more challenging, customers faced a potentially longer than expected ramp-up period.


Most of the time, this works. However, if the candidate doesn’t get up to speed quickly and doesn’t fit in culturally, the client has expended wasteful dollars, time and energy for someone who just didn’t work out. So even though there may be a guarantee on the individual, the time cannot be recovered. If this is not handled in a professional and mutually beneficial manner, this sometimes causes a disdainful relationship between the agency and the client.


Through many years of trial and error, my firm has figured out a way to increase the chances of success and in many cases, separate our services from our competitors by handling the experience in a professional and responsible manner.