No, no, just kidding about the title. But this section is different. And by different, I donít mean that itís better written, or that it contains useful facts, original observations, or intelligent, thoughtful humor. In those terms, itís just the same crap youíve been reading.
However, it is devoted to the other end of the temping spectrum: the companies that hire temporary employees as part of their workforce. I know, I know, youíre thinking how wonderful it is that I include both perspectives here, that I am very open-minded in telling both sides of the story, but to be honest, itís just that I realized it would increase my target audience and thus boost web traffic to my site. Yes, my eyes have gone blind with greed and self-indulgence. At any rate, itís going to be a short and poorly researched section.
Temps, you may want to skip this section, because boy, am I gonna tear you guys a new one.
How it Works
Some companies are really big. Others are not so big. Some are kind of medium sized. You could probably make a graph of the sizes of different companies, if you wanted to. But all companies have a few things in common: a rapidly changing financial market, a high degree of employee turn-over, and a guy in engineering named Jerry who has huge sweat-stains under his armpits even in December.
Often these companies find themselves in an awkward position. An employee has decided to leave the company for one reason or another (usually for something very self-centered like having a baby or being severely mauled in a tiger attack) and they (the company) need to fill the position quickly and at low expense. See, the cost, and more importantly, the time of advertising, interviewing, and hiring people off the street can be enormous. Plus who wants street people in their office? Street people are stinky.
Luckily, they have someone to turn to: the temp agency. The agency takes on the task of doing the interviewing and evaluating for them, forming a pool of fast-learning, capable people that can be inserted into the workforce with minimal training and expense. Then, realizing that three people donít really constitute a pool, they hire some marginal people like yours truly to beef up the ranks.
The company will give them a description of the position they need filled and the skills required to perform it, and the temp agency will go through their files to find the temp best suited for the job. Then they go through their files again, looking for a temp who can at least partially perform a portion of one of the requirements requested, and lives somewhere near the company in question. Then they go through their files again, sweating freely now, and send the first temp who answers their phone in a somewhat comprehensible manner.
So you, company of indeterminate size, may not exactly be getting the best person for the job. Whereas yesterday you had a talented, resourceful, veteran employee, today you have some dipshit, fresh out of tenth grade, who was hired because he promised the agency he would work on his drooling problem.
This is where you will face a creative challenge, namely, putting this troglodyte where he can do the least amount of harm. I know! Let's have him answer the phone!
Placing Your Temp
The person who answers the phone is an important part of any business. For a potential client, it is their first interaction with your company, their first impression, and a big part of their decision-making process when choosing someone to do business with. At least that's what I get told a lot, usually in a threatening or condescending tone. I find this thought somewhat terrifying. It means that I, and others like me, may be responsible for making your company dozens of business connections and thousands of dollars in deals. Or, perhaps to be more accurate, losing your company dozens of connections and thousands of dollars.
As an example, take what happened to me at this one company I temped for (it might have been yours!).
I had just started working at the front desk, and hadnít really paid attention to the phone operating instructions, mainly because the woman training me had really nice breasts and I was imagining us running off to Hawaii together. After she left me at the desk, alone, broken-hearted, and vengeful, I realized with some alarm that I had no idea how to transfer a call. To top things off, when the phone finally rang, I suddenly got these really loud and painful hiccups.
I picked it the receiver and said: "Good afternoon, how may I dir-HICCERP-ect your call?" There was a very long pause, during which I said: "HICCERP." The person then hesitantly asked for the head retail manager, and with one more loud, diaphragmatic emission into the phone, I connected him to voicemail of a Guatemalan dry-cleaning business.
So, we see that having the wrong person answering your phones can indeed be deadly for your company. To ensure that you have only the most highly-trained, professional personnel answering your phones, simply follow the instructions below when placing your temp.
So, what can you trust your temp to do? Well, you can trust him to make long distance phone calls, to steal office supplies, and to access pornographic websites through your internet connection. And Iíll stand by that guarantee.
Am I being too hard on the temps? I guess so. Seriously, temps can be creative, consistent, and dedicated members of your workforce. Letís examine each of those qualities and determine how to bring them out in your temp.
Want your temp to be creative? Just ask him to fill out his timecard. Youíll be astounded at his inventiveness. I also guarantee that excuses for lateness are worth keeping track of, as you will hear tales from temps that have as yet unheard of medical problems, are involved in hostage situations on a weekly basis, and have at least eleven ill grandmothers. Hiring a temp is like entering a magical wonderland of absolute bullshit.
Thereís nothing like a temp for consistency. Yes, youíve told Chad several times that the document goes face-down in the fax machine. Yes, youíve taken the document and demonstrated it for him. Yes, youíve stood there and made him do it over and over, youíve hired an outside vendor to create a large, flashing neon sign that says Faxes Go Face Down, Chad and hung it directly over the fax machine. But Chad, without fail, without doubt, will consistently put the fax in face-up. And your boss will call you from Malaysia and thank you for faxing him yet another set of blank pages, which heís sure the foreign conglomerate will accept in lieu of a contract. Boy, is your boss a sarcastic bastard. I donít know how you stand it.
Finally, dedication can easily be found in your temps in the form of nicotine. A temp who smokes will think nothing of walking down thirty-eight flights of steps to smoke a butt if the elevator is out. Or if the elevator is just slow, even. Walking back up is an altogether different story.
Hopefully, company of indeterminate size, this has provided you with some information that you will find useful and that will keep you up nights. Sorry, company. I myself have learned a great deal from writing this, namely that I feel no guilt, despite the speed and ease with which I turned on my brethren. Sorry, brethren.
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