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One of the most satisfying aspects of being a temp recruiter, was creating a temp^ job from nothing. I mean ‘nothing’ in the sense that there was no existing job before you took the initiative; the client hadn’t even considered using a temp or considered that there was work a temp might usefully be engaged to do.


This is where a temp recruiter has an advantage over perm recruiters in generating work.


Temp jobs, by their nature, are jobs that have a finite life span and as a result, the barriers to a job being created are far fewer. Budget approval, head-count approval and all the other logistical and bureaucratic hurdles that need to be cleared for a permanent role to become ‘live’ are far fewer and/or lower for a temporary role.


This difference creates an opportunity for a temp recruiter to build their business more opportunistically than a perm recruiter.


This is one of the key reasons why having dedicated consultants for temp recruitment and dedicated consultants for perm recruitment, will always be the most effective way to build a profitable recruitment business in the long term.


In my experience a combined temp & perm desk recruiter will be less inclined to pursue opportunistic business development due to the fact that working on existing perm jobs (regardless of the quality of that job), will be preferred to the more daunting task of marketing for new temp jobs.


Here’s a short, but by no means complete, list of all the opportunistic ways in which temp jobs can be created (some of these tactics can, of course, be equally relevant to generating permanent positions).


Please note that in all   the suggestions below I am presupposing that all the appropriate confidentiality/privacy approvals   have been sought and obtained from the candidate.


1.           Vacant Perm jobs  

  • Ensure every client that registers a perm job with your company is asked whether they need a temp until a suitable perm candidate starts in the role. This takes the pressure off both the client and the perm recruiter.
  •   Ad chase (print and online media) perm jobs for the same reason as above.  
2.           Placed candidates  

  • In completing a ‘current employer’ reference check for a candidate that has been placed by your company, ask the referee whether a temp could be helpful in filling the gap created by the placed candidate leaving.
3.           Employer problems or changes  

  • Ask your client or prospect what their current biggest problem or challenge is and see if the answer provides an appropriate opportunity for you to suggest a solution that involves a temp.
  • Take notice of client media mentions, news contained online and client or industry newsletters. If you have a temp whose skills might be especially relevant, given the news you have read (eg company bought by Japanese company and you have a fluent Japanese-speaking Accountant), then make a call to the appropriate person.
4.           Recycling temps and jobs  

  • When an excellent temp, who has worked for you in the past, becomes available again, call the relevant client(s) and mention the temp’s availability for work and the temp’s keenness to return to work for the client.
  • If a temp has worked in temp assignments for other recruiters, there’s no reason why you cannot ring those clients directly and see whether they would hire the temp again through you.
  • If you were recently unable to fill a temp job and the job was filled elsewhere or withdrawn, and you now have a candidate more suitable than any of the other candidates you referred, call the client to see whether the vacancy has become available again, or if it hasn’t whether they might create another temp job just for your candidate.

This list is about pro-actively creating temp jobs and, at the same time, having a relevant candidate ready to close the opportunity you have created.


Your pro-active approach has a very big advantage in that the client is far less likely to give the job you have been central in creating to a competitor or try to fill it themselves.


Win/win you might say.


So you can see, there are plenty of other ways to generate temp jobs rather than just waiting for the telephone ring.


If you have a list, such as this, that you use every single day to ensure no opportunities elude you, then you will creating and filling more temp jobs than you thought possible.


If you don’t – what’s your excuse? Get to it.


* no attempt made at awful pun on forgettable Jim Steinman written and produced Air Supply 1983 hit, Making Love Out of Nothing at All

^ for the sake of simplicity throughout this article I will use the word ‘temp’ to describe both a temp and a contractor

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