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Temp-to-Hire Candidates Can Pay Off for Hard-to-Fill Roles

by Diane Klementowich on May 16, 2018 in Find Talent


temp to hire candidatesYou’ve heard the phrase try before you buy. Even if a candidate’s skills are top-notch, a mismatch with your workplace culture would be like adding diesel to a gasoline engine (it’s never going to spark quite right). With the talent shortage across numerous industries, the opportunity to evaluate talent for their culture fit is all the more appealing. Though you may not be able to get every skill set on your wish list (or find that purple squirrel you swear exists), you can test out temp-to-hire candidates to see if they can grow into your most challenging positions. Here’s how to successfully use temp-to-hire candidates to end your search for hard-to-fill roles.


First, Let’s Get Real

With a hard-to-fill position, companies need to get pragmatic. Taking a measure of the local market and benchmarking compensation before your hiring process will help determine which skills are scarce and which are abundant. If you’re not sure what sources to use or what to evaluate, ask a MindSpring Partners team member about the market supply for your job requirements (ask us with no strings attached).


Furthermore, knowing the realities of the local talent pool isn’t enough; you have to accept them. Companies that hold out for that one-in-a-million candidate see their productivity suffer and their open chairs collect dust before they finally find someone to fit all their requirements.


Setting Out with the Right Requirements

How can a temp-to-hire candidate simplify your requirements? Since these types of arrangements are intended to go permanent, companies have the flexibility to reduce what is mandatory from the start if they believe raw talent can develop that skill set on the job.


This is where an understanding of the local talent supply comes in handy. Companies that can knowledgably identify when to downgrade a requirement from a need to a want will locate talent for hard-to-fill positions faster. That way, they can focus their search on candidates who share the company’s values, thrive in your working conditions, and align with your culture.


Measuring Culture Fit

Unlike hard skills, you can’t teach culture. The good news is that when you start with the mentality that a candidate is going to grow into the position, it’s much easier to prioritize the attribute that fosters long-term employment: cultural alignment. How do you hire for something intangible like culture? Focus on evaluating the values, attitudes, work ethic, and goals of the candidate throughout the process.


During this phase of the hiring process, it’s important to find out about the candidate before and during the interview:


  • Before – Are there any red flags that a candidate won’t fit with your company (beyond off-the-rails Charlie Sheen type behavior)? As you are building your talent pipeline, it’s important to watch out for obvious signs that a candidate will be a poor fit. Though it takes effort and commitment upfront, building that connection prevents wasted hours chasing the wrong person (working with a recruiter is especially helpful in this instance).


  • During – Ask questions that get to the bottom of their cultural alignment. How would their coworkers describe them? In what type of work environments are they the most productive? What is their preferred management style? These and other questions help to coax out their ideal culture. Also, it’s important to gauge how quickly and effectively they learn on the job, since you’ll need them to get up to speed quickly.


Increase Your Odds of Finding the Right Temp-to-Hire Candidates

Measuring talent pool trends, building a talent pool of potential fits, and asking the right questions to find out who fits the culture and can learn fast to boot. Though you are capable of doing this on your own, why should you? The other obligations of keeping your team operational and productive are demanding, to say the least.



If you have questions about how to find the right temp-to-hire candidates for your hard-to-fill positions, contact us. We love providing honest and open feedback to companies that reach out for help.

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