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3 important interview questions to ask potential temps

Posted on April 20th, 2015 Read time: 2 minutes

There are many reasons a company may want to hire temporary workers, but it all boils down to the interview process. To maintain the highest performing temporary workforce, the meeting between a employer and potential temp should be informative: It should ascertain how the employee would fit in with the culture of the workplace and determine whether he or she has the specific skill set for the job (and if not, whether he or she has the willingness to learn). Though hiring a temp is similar to interviewing for permanent, full-time positions, there are a few things companies should know about contract workers.

1.  Why are you interested in this temporary opportunity?
According to the American Staffing Association, 3.26 million temporary and contract employees were represented by U.S. staffing companies each week in the third quarter of 2014. To gauge a potential employee's level of engagement with a company, it's important to know what his or her career goals are and why he or she is seeking temporary work. It could be that he or she likes the flexibility of this kind of job or that the candidate is taking a year off from school before going to college and wants to get some professional experience in the meantime. It's important to make sure the answer coincides with the employer's long-term goals.

2. Will you be looking for a permanent position?
This question is a follow-up to the previous. If a company is following a temp-to-hire strategy, this question is important so that the candidate's long-term goals can be shown to mesh with theirs – or not. CareerBuilder's recent report states that 31 percent of employers plan to transition temps into permanent positions in the second quarter of 2015. This question can help avoid confusion in the future when a permanent position opens up.

3. Describe a past mistake and what you learned from it.
A candidate's honesty and willingness to take responsibility for a mistake are both good signs of potential for personal and professional growth. It can also show adaptability and personal awareness, two qualities of a good temp.

These interview questions will allow an employer to find the best employees and maintain a high-performing temporary workforce. In determining a candidate's potential fit within an organization, the employer is shaping the future of not only the potential employee but the company itself.

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