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What is temping?

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cyberstarcyberstar Forumite
333 posts
I have been looking for work through the jobcentre, newspapers and the internet for a while but still cant find anything suitable for me, or I get no feedback when I send CVs.

I assume that temping is all about going through job agencies, but what are the advantages? Am I more likely to get a job through temping? What does it actually involve and what are the best agencies?
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  • SuewreSuewre Forumite
    624 posts
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    It was a long time ago when I was a temp, but here goes with what I remember. As a temp you get offered a job suitable to your qualifications/experience. It may be for 5 hours, it may be for 3 months. If you accept the job, you do it, and when it is over, you get offered another one (if one is available). Some companies might want a temp for a one off job, or to cover sick leave (you might get a phone call asking you if you can go for a job straight away). It might lead to a permanent job, for example, someone might be on maternity leave, and not come back, or another job might come up and as you are so wonderful, you get the job.

    But you do get a lot of experience in a short while, and you also gain a lot of self confidence (or at least I did lol). This should help in your search for a job.

    Good luck
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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
    43.2K posts
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    You can look for either a permanent or a temporary job through an agency, most of them do both. In some cases they might encourage you to temp for them first, to get some idea what you're capable of.

    As for what's the best agency, that's a bit like asking what's the best supermarket! An agency may specialise in a particular area of work, or with the larger ones its different branches may do so. Where I am, I know one agency whose city centre branch supplies all the temps for the University. One of its other branches specialises in local government, Not for Profit and Charities.

    The agencies I pass on my way to work all have either billboards outside or posters in the window advertising the jobs they have available now. Get a few copies of your CV and spend some time visiting your local ones. Dress smartly, but appropriately for your line of work - probably not a suit and tie if you're a chap looking for building work, but CLEAN and tidy rather than ripped jeans. Before you go in, see if there's anything you fancy on display, and ask about that job or similar ones.

    You may find that none of the jobs on display are your cup of tea - my experience is all admin and secretarial, so I wouldn't apply for catering, truck driving or order picking jobs, for example. If that's all the agency was advertising, I'd go somewhere more promising first and come back to that one last.

    Try to be open-minded, be honest about your experience but willing to try new things, but don't be pushed into something you know you'll hate. Last time I was job-hunting, there was LOTS of call-centre work, and I really didn't want to do that, and I didn't spend much time on the agencies who tried hardest to talk to me into it (presumably because they were desperate to fill those jobs!) But when I was a student and temping in holidays, I learnt to use the agency switchboard (plugs and wires, would you believe!) before being sent out as a switchboard operator.

    I can only talk about secretarial temping but the agency will normally test you to get an idea of your typing speed and accuracy, and your understanding of the basic programs (Word, Excel etc).

    Don't wait for the agency to phone you: call in regularly if you possibly can, or phone if that's not possible. If you contact them regularly they'll remember you and are more likely to offer you something. Agencies may ask if you're registered with other places: I'd be a bit vague about this because they're not going to bust a gut if you're registered elsewhere. "This is the first time I've looked at agencies" might cover it ... Once you find a good agency which keeps you in regular work, I'd stick with it.

    Temping sometimes leads to a permanent offer of work, and that's a good way to go because you know what you're letting yourself in for, and so does the company!

    Don't stop looking for work in the other ways you're using - not every company advertises through an agency. And if you're temping, don't forget to tell the JobCentre: I think you can keep your claim for JSA active, but you need to tell them what you're earning each week so that they can deduct it from your benefit. Eventually you may be able to come off JSA, even if you haven't got a permanent job.

    Good luck!
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  • campercamper Forumite
    120 posts
    Temping usually paid at higher hourly rate, as no holiday pay or sick pay is paid when you don't work. Some agencies 'store' up the holiday pay, for when no work is available. Otherwise, just a normal employment, short contracts.
  • QuasarQuasar Forumite
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    I also temped for a couple of years a long while back, and I when I was filling in a vacancy between the previous holder leaving and then next being appointed, I often was offered the job.

    The advantage of temping is that you bypass all the anxiety of an interview: you don't have to come across as the best candidate during a conversation, but as a temp you show 'em what you can do. The pressure is off, you can perform your job at ease and the company can see how good you are. Bingo!

    All the best of luck. I still remember my first temp job. Scared sh**less, but it turned out to be a real doddle!

    Be careful who you open up to. Today it's ears, tomorrow it's mouth.
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