Should You Accept A Temporary Job When You Are Looking For A Permanent One?

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Imagine the following scenario: You are looking for a suitable job. Months of applications and interviews have yielded no result. At this juncture, you receive an offer for a temporary role—something the temping agency you enlisted with last month has found for you. Immediately you find yourself in a dilemma—should you accept the offer, or wait for a permanent role?

Such a scenario is not at all uncommon with job seekers, who frequently have to choose between the two. Apart from the disappointment of being unable to land a permanent job, there is also the practical consideration of whether a temping assignment will impede your search for a long-term position. What should you do in such a scenario? Should you take up the offer you have? Or reject it and keep applying for a permanent role?

A Bird in the Hand…

It is important to analyse the situation objectively to arrive at the right decision. A temporary job, despite its short-term nature, will bring some income. Waiting for a permanent job will fetch none of this even as the wait may be indefinite. What’s more, there’s no bar on continuing your search for a permanent role while working as a temp. It is easy to tell which is the more sensible option. Later, when you find a job of your choice, you can quit the temporary assignment by terminating your contract with the agency.

Chasing Your Goal

Apart from income, a temporary role brings the following advantages for job seekers that are on the lookout for long-term employment, which can aid their job search:

  • Industry experience: Working as a temp allows you to stay in touch with the industry and enhance your work experience. There is a strong possibility of learning new skills. This can help you boost your CV making you a stronger candidate in the job market.
  • Avoiding employment gap: Employment gaps are a red flag in the eyes of recruiters. Temporary employment can prevent these from creeping into your CV by enabling you to list your temping experience. It will allow recruiters to view your application positively.
  • Networking opportunities: What if someone at your office points you to a company which is hiring permanently for your position? Such situations are well within the realm of possibility in a temporary work environment. One of the biggest advantages of being a temp is that it gives you plenty of opportunity for networking arising from working in different places. These links are invaluable when you are looking for a permanent job by helping you get leads.

Cumulatively, these factors can pave the way to landing a suitable long-term role. They can do this by bolstering your CV, preventing employment gap, and helping you get job leads through professional networking channels. It is further evidence that, on balance, it makes more sense to take up a temporary job offer than wait for a permanent role. Then there is also the possibility of the temporary employer offering you a permanent role in the same company if they are happy with your work (temp-to-hire).

Some Exceptions

In most cases, it makes sense to take up a temporary job if it comes your way. However, there are certain instances when you should refrain from it. Key among these is when you feel you are close to landing a permanent job. You’ve been through all the hoops—the shortlisting process, tests and interviews—and received positive feedback on your performance. You expect to get the final offer within a week or so and accepting a temporary job at this point would mean having to give it up days after joining.

The other instance could be when you are regularly getting called for interviews. In this situation it is better to wait it out as there is a good probability of getting a final offer. Frequent interviews may also mean disruptions in your work schedule which is avoidable at all times but especially at the beginning of a job stint.

Graceful Exit

So, you have found yourself a permanent job. Congratulations! Now you need to plan your exit so that you can take up the job you’ve been working so hard to get. Make it a point to ensure that you quit amicably without stepping on any toes. Refer to your offer letter from the temping agency to check up details like notice period and ensure that you follow the agreement in both letter and spirit.

The importance of leaving on good terms with the agency as well as your supervisor cannot be overstated. A temporary job has as much import as a permanent job when it comes to shaping a career; it is wise to take it seriously.

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