To temp or not to temp that is the question
Here’s a conundrum we see a lot. It’s in relation to legal recruitment but I can imagine that it happens in many other disciplines. Last week I was called by a recruitment agent about a role. “Would I be interested in a permanent role with young high growth company?” High growth companies are always interesting so I was intrigued to learn more. But then the agent backtracked. “Actually, it’s not exactly permanent, they want to recruit for three months initially with potential to go permanent.” Keeping my poker face, I asked when they needed someone. “ASAP” the agent replied.
So, we have a high growth company that needs someone as soon as possible. I interpret that as “overwhelmed with work“. If management are so busy that they need to recruit someone ASAP, it’s not going to get any easier when they have to start screening and interviewing candidates. Why don’t they want to commit? We can speculate but one of the reasons might be simply that they don’t know what they want because they are too busy fire fighting to work it out. But a temp-to-perm solution doesn’t sound like the right solution to me. It is possible that a rushed recruitment process will yield the right candidate to be retained permanently but I would have thought it unlikely unless the role is one that almost anyone could do.
The agent later accepted that I am probably too senior for the role described but it is often the case that companies need someone senior when they are overwhelmed. They need someone who has the ability to pick things up and run with them straight away. But they don’t always need someone at that level permanently. Once the initial workload has been cleared it is often possible to put workflows in place that a less qualified recruit can follow. This is where firms such as Halebury come into their own as they offer clients access to senior lawyers on a flexible basis who are able to hit the ground running; manage the workload in front of the business; as well as putting in place processes to increase efficiency and providing advice on recruitment.
The problem with a temp-to-perm approach for this kind of situation is that whoever they recruit temporarily will be conflicted in helping management come to the right decision down the line (because the temp wants to keep the job). Far better, I would suggest that the company takes someone on a genuinely temporary basis so that the company can undergo a measured recruitment process, one in which their temporary recruit can take an active role in. After all, that will be the person who best understands what is needed on a day-to-day basis.