How To Avoid Mistakes When Hiring Temp Employees

How to avoid hiring mistakes with temp employees

According to the American Staffing Association, America’s staffing companies hire almost 17 million temporary and contract employees each year. Clearly, there is a significant need for temporary staffing around the country. 

However, the stories of temporary hiring woes—from legal nightmares to pot-smoking temp. salesman—can leave employers who need temporary assistance gun shy about moving forward with hires. 

With that in mind today we are going to discuss how to avoid hiring mistakes when it comes to temporary employees. But before then, let’s take a look at what temporary employees means.

What is a Temporary Employee?

A temporary employee which is also known as “Temp” is the type of employee hired on a temporary basis to cover for an absent employee who is on leave or vacation so that they won’t be a gap in the company’s workforce.

Related: 7 Reasons Why You Should Take Care of Your Employees

Be Clear About Expectations

One of the worst mistakes many companies make when hiring temporary employees is that they aren’t clear about the expectations for the job.

Too often, employers will either blatantly lie to or lead on temporary hires about what their role is going to be at the company, only for them to find all they are going to do is cold calls, or punch numbers into Excel spreadsheets.

Remember, temporary employees aren’t going to be motivated to help you if you are lying to them the very first time you meet.

If this sounds like something you’ve done in the past, you might want to stop. The fact is, lying to employees, especially if the information is written in a contract, is a dangerous business. You may end up being legally liable for falsifying a contract, but even if you escape legal consequences, there will certainly be bad business reviews on Google reviews, Glassdoor, etc. and that can hurt your chances of hiring quality full-time employees in the future. 

Lying About Contract Extensions

Also, don’t lead temporary employees on in regards to the potential for them to become full-time employees at the end of their contract. Not only is this an unethical business practice. It can lead to bad business reviews or at minimum a disgruntled employee. 

Simply put, don’t lie to your employees, temporary or otherwise. Instead, try treating your temporary employees like human beings. It’s really sad that I have to write this, but after reading countless stories of temporary employees being treated like dogs, I definitely have to.

Just listen to this tragic story from Marilyn Weinstein, founder and CEO of Vivo: 

One of our consultants told us stories of not being allowed to eat birthday cake when it was a team member’s birthday. HR at that company makes them stay at their desks, while the rest of the team gathered to celebrate. “This would be a blurring of the lines,” their HR tells them.”

– Marilyn Weinstein, Founder of Vivo.

So please, let your temps have cake, treat them like you would any other employee because if you don’t, it’s not only bad for your business, but it may also lead to legal action.

This isn’t the 1850’s where you can easily get away with a thing like that. Workers have rights. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to temp employees just as it does to full-time employees.

Too many employers have lost thousands of dollars simply because they weren’t willing to extend professional courtesy and show honesty to their temporary hires.

Treating your employees, whether temporary or permanent rightly will go a long way to help your business avoid legal battles.

Related: 7 Ways to Protect Your Business from Getting Sued by Employees

Make A Pre-Hire Checklist

Pre-hire checklist for temp employees

Temporary employees can be great additions to your team, or they can be complete nightmares that add nothing but more work and stress. 

If you make enough hires you will eventually run into a temp that just doesn’t cut it, but that’s not a big deal, what can really cause you problems is when a temp is looking for a payday through a lawsuit or by receiving unemployment. 

This is why it’s so important to make a pre-hire checklist to protect yourself from those bad eggs out there. From job assessments to assessing applicants’ real skills (not just the ones they claim to have on their resume) to non-disclosure agreements to protect yourself from intellectual property theft, having a solid pre-hire checklist is vital if you are going to hire a temp employee without fear.

Here is an interesting example of a pre-hire checklist of ‘To-Do’s’ before making a hire:

  • Run a background check
  • Run a drug screening
  • Require two forms of identification
  • Have every staff member, temp or otherwise, sign an employment contract
  • Ask for and keep copies of all certificates or licenses
  • Ask for proof of residence
  • Ask for at least two references
  • Sign non-disclosure agreements (if necessary)
  • Give a qualified job fit assessment
  • Have two in-person interviews

Of course, all of the points on this checklist are time-consuming and costly. Many employers simply don’t have the time to navigate the hiring process the right way. 

Thankfully, there is another option. 

Or You Can Hire A Recruiter…

Why not hire a contract recruiter who specializes in finding quality, pre-vetted temporary hires?

Don’t listen to me though, here’s Frances Moreno, CPA and founder of Vaco Los Angeles elaborating why she believes ‘cheaping out’ when it comes to hiring just isn’t the way to go:

(a big mistake in temp hiring is) Trying to go inexpensively and be a do it yourself-er. Strategic staffing doesn’t have to be expensive; however, you do need to pay market rates and rely on people who are highly skilled in providing this labor. Companies that hire temporary workers should partner with a reputable service that works with long-term contractors, consultants, and temporary professionals.”

– Frances Moreno, Founder of Vaco Los Angeles.

The reality is that the best way to avoid mistakes when hiring temporary employees is to outsource the recruitment process. From background checks to drug tests and even interviews, temporary staffing firms can help make the process painless and worry-free. 

If you can afford their services, it’s the way to go. Not only will you save time and stress less, but you can end up saving money too, by avoiding lawsuits and hiring mistakes that prevent your business from running smoothly.

Related: 5 Services Your Company Can Expect From Human Resource Firms

So, if you’re looking to avoid having your own stories of temp. hires gone bad, be honest, follow your check-list, or simply outsource hiring to the HR professionals. 

Emenike Emmanuel
Emenike Emmanuel is a multiple award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, and the Lead Coach of an online community of over 12,000 business owners called, The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network. He’s here to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest with this handle, @emenikeng. Telegram group - | Email: [email protected]

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