My Experience with Temping

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When the first wave of COVID hit New Zealand in April 2020, I was one of the many thousands made redundant from my job. While I knew that I wasn’t alone in this experience, it still came as a shock. I then found myself trying to get back into a job market which, at that point in the pandemic, had limited vacancies and hundreds of applicants vying for the same opportunities. I had to work out what my point of difference was, and how I could stand out from the crowd. After sending out what felt like hundreds of applications, and receiving a fair few rejections, I realised I needed to change tack so I could get back into the workforce. I refocused my efforts towards temporary work.  Because I had worked in recruitment earlier in my career, both internally and in an agency, I had a vague idea of how it worked, but not to the degree that I know it now.

I was fortunate enough to secure a temporary assignment through Madison Recruitment at the start of what was Level 3, with a locally-established Christchurch business. The business needed a temporary worker as an extra pair of hands during a restructuring and permanent recruitment process. While of course I was told about the position and what I would be doing, I’ll be honest, I still felt like I was going in a bit blind, because I hadn’t met with the employer myself, or seen the environment.

That first day, I was really nervous as I approached the office. I felt unsure of what to expect, as I had never temped before. But luckily, as hoped, I was welcomed into this new workplace with open arms— and there was a lot of support. Throughout the month-long temporary assignment, I learnt about the organisation, the team culture and an industry that wouldn’t have typically caught my interest. This temporary assignment gave me back the confidence to tackle my job search, and be open to future temporary assignments that came my way.

The second assignment I secured was in a different industry again, but it felt much less daunting— I was no longer a complete rookie! With a new level of confidence gained from the first assignment, I walked into this environment less unsure than last time, and more focused on learning about the organisation, and establishing relationships with my new team. It was a great experience. I was given a lot of learning opportunities to grow my own personal and professional skills, and stretch beyond my comfort zone. I learned new skills in a range of departments, and really developed professionally. I liked it so much that I ended up applying for a permanent position in the same team.

I didn’t get that job and while of course I was disappointed, it wasn’t all bad news. As I had been working with this team for a while, they provided me specific and personalised feedback as to why I wasn’t successful. I found this particularly useful, and appreciated the time that they gave me for this feedback. I found that I was able to demonstrate the new skills that I had learnt to enhance my application, and going through the recruitment process was great practice that I’m sure helped me secure a permanent position not long after.

When I had finished these two assignments, I had a much clearer understanding of how being a temp works.  I took away some helpful learnings, and I made friends and professional connections that have continued.

Here’s what I learned from temping:

  • Welcome the challenges that you are given; those are your chances to learn and grow.
  • Ask questions – you may feel like you are asking too many questions, but remember, it’s expected, you are new, and need to know as much as you can to do the job successfully
  • Embrace working in new industries and make the most of every opportunity – you never know how the transferable skills will assist you in the future
  • Treat your temping time as a trial period – you can figure out if you like the type of environment and team that you are placed in, then push yourself to apply for the permanent or fixed term position if its advertised.
  • Being flexible, adaptable, and bringing the positive vibes to an office. A lot of being a great temp comes down to being a great person to work with, and helping to take some of the pressure off a busy team or manager, doing this will ensure you leave the best impression!

Although I was hesitant about temping at the start, it was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and wouldn’t be afraid to do again.  Hopefully I won’t be needing to in the near future though, as I feel I’ve found my place at Madison and plan to stick around!

If you’re thinking about temping and want to speak with someone who has a first-hand understanding of how it works as a temp and a recruiter, get in touch with me today.

Hannah Williams
Consultant

A bit about me With a background in HR and administration, the world of recruitment was only one step away, and here I am making a career out of it. As a Consultant…

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