EMPLOYERS and candidates across Singapore are embracing the benefits of temporary assignments. But in this new world of work, there are several strategies to ensure that you get the greatest benefit from your next assignment, says recruiting expert Hays in Singapore. 

The number of temporary assignments is rising as employers embrace headcount flexibility, act to manage workload peaks, hire specialist help for projects and to cover people going on leave. More jobseekers are expressing interest in temporary assignments. To ensure that you make the most of a temporary assignment, follow these key rules: 

Representation

Contact a recruiting expert who understands the intricacies of your industry and who can represent you to potential employers. An expert can help you access the best temporary assignments available.

Communicate availability

Keep your recruitment consultant informed about your availability. They will assume you are available for assignments until you tell them otherwise. It does not look professional for you or the consultant if they endorse you for an employer’s temporary assignment only to discover that you cannot complete it.

Update your skills

Your best selling point as a temp is your skills base, so make sure your skills continue to develop. It is also important to tell your consultant when your skills expand so that they consider you for a wider range of assignments and represent you to your true potential. Many agencies offer free training, so explore these options to increase your employability.

First impressions

As you would for a job interview, arrive at least 10 minutes early on the first day of your assignment. Walk tall and offer a smile and a firm handshake when being introduced. Look professional, act professionally and dress professionally.

Preparation

Know who you are to report to, the tasks you are likely to undertake and research the organisation concerned by visiting their website beforehand.

Professionalism

When you are on assignment, you are representing your agency. Recruiting agencies expect a high degree of professionalism at all times, as well as respect for the policies, procedures and culture of the company where you are working.

Employers often have higher expectations of temporary employees and contractors than full-time staff. You are expected to hit the ground running and learn quickly.

Task completion

If you have finished one task, don’t sit there with nothing to do. Go to your supervisor and ask for another task. Be proactive and impress.

Ask questions

You do not have to be an expert at everything. It is true that temporary workers are hired for their experience and skills, but you are allowed to ask questions if you are not certain about a particular task.

Etiquette

Do not leave your mobile phone on or use the work telephone or e-mail for any personal communications.

Similarly, do not use your work time to get to know your new work colleagues. You can connect with them on LinkedIn later.

Market yourself

Once you are in an assignment, you are in the best position to market yourself within that company.

Don’t be afraid to look for further opportunities.

Ask if there are any other areas or departments where your skills might be needed. Let your face be seen.

If you can see opportunities but don’t feel comfortable investigating, let your recruitment consultant know and they will make enquiries for you.

Assignment extension

Most temporary assignments have a finish date, but these can often be extended.

Keep your consultant posted of these changes so they can make sure everyone is happy.

Sometimes plans change, on both sides, and if your recruitment consultant knows in advance, then he can help to minimise any inconvenience.

Problems

If you have any problems, such as not liking the assignment, company, colleagues or location, tell your consultant immediately.

Do not complain to your supervisor or new colleagues — you will just damage your own reputation and your agency’s in the process.

No matter how trivial it may seem, talk to your consultant first — he is in the best position to smooth any problems between you and his client.

Article by Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Singapore, a leading recruiting expert in qualified, professional and skilled people. For more information, visit www.hays.com.sg