The TEMP to HIRE Staffing Model Provides Many Options for Northwest Employers

The TEMP to HIRE Staffing Model Provides Many Options for Northwest Employers

by Sara Bennett | December 27, 2019

0 Author-Jeanne, Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS get connected, hiring, Staffing Agency


If you’re a Northwest employer chances are you’ve tried the temp to hire staffing model – one of the most popular ways Northwest employers hire.


The Northwest marketplace is highly competitive…in some cases taking an employer’s overloaded  HR teams months to find and hire the right employee directly – much too long for employers looking to move quickly.    The Temp to Hire solution can be put in play in days, not weeks, tapping into  the recruiting strength of local temporary staffing companies who are “always recruiting”.  In today’s marketplace, most temporary staffing agencies are hybrid recruiting agencies and are adept at recruiting high talent employees regardless of what type of role they place them into.

In today’s marketplace there are multiple ways for employers to use some version of the temp to hire staffing model….

The Traditional Model

The traditional temp to hire staffing model continues to be popular even though it has gone thru multiple iterations since it reach its peak of popularity in in the early 2000’s.  The basics of this model is that the client asks a third party staffing agency to find and vett candidates that fit the profile of a candidate they would hire directly.  The client interviews, selects the candidate they ‘want to hire”, and then asks the temporary staffing agency to send them to them as a “temp” for the first 30-90 days of employment – a period of time we call the auditioning period.

The traditional temp to hire staffing model is truly an extended interview – typically with a defined period of audition, coupled with the promise of a hiring decision at the end of the audition.

Employers use the traditional temp to hire model when when they want to reduce early term turnover, when the  stakes for hiring right are high, and in short whenever it makes sense to view an employee in action before they’re actually offered employment.  Employers also use this temp to hire model when their goal is reduce recruiting costs and/or to expand their  recruiting capacity.

Iterations of the traditional model will include an adjustment in the audition period (most happening somewhere between 30 and 90 days), the up front vetting (sometimes forfeiting a rigorous vetting process in favor of moving quickly), and in some cases adding additional contingencies to the hiring decision (ex.  if my employee on leave doesn’t come back).

Whenever there is a strong element of “soft skills” difficult to detect in an interview but important to long term performance success, the temp to hire hiring model  tends to find its place.  A job that has had a pattern of early term turnover ; a team with a unique set of challenges that have to be experienced to fully understand;  a customer service team trying to identify the right mix of empathy and assertion. All are great candidates for the traditional temp to hire staffing model.

Employers using the traditional temp to hire staffing model end up hiring 85% of more of their auditioning temps.

The more strategic version of the temp to hire staffing model has become increasingly commonplace in today’s marketplace – primarily used by employers dealing with a high impact staffing needs, an adequate budget for temporary staff, but a restricted budget to add FTE.   These are employers who need important work done, but are concerned about hiring too many employees in the event a change in the marketplace might require a change or cut back.

Unlike the traditional temp to hire model, the strategic model works with their staffing agency partners to find staff for a large number of “temporary” roles with no promise of being hired direct, but with a strong probability that when its time to hire, their “temps” are often in place to the first node.

From an agency’s perspective, the employees put to work as “strategic temps” are employees who have been vetted to be strong candidates on the basis of both skills and “fit”, are not long term career “temps”, and are willing and able to perform in long term temporary roles.  In many cases, our “temps” are hired without the normal vetting processes  for direct hire, and are simply “converted” from our payroll to our clients – in most cases without additional placement fees.

This model reduces recruiting costs substantially , allows employers to get critical work done now without any long term commitments, while preserving the  employer’s ability to  hire the “best temps’ quickly when the time and conditions for hiring direct are right.  Some employers will strategically keep 10-20% of its workforce in “auditioning” mode, ready to be hired when the time is right.  These employers typically  hire close to 35% of the employees working for them in temporary roles.

Many of our healthcare clients fall into this bucket – with a growing number of here and now needs for staff, but happening against a backdrop riddled with the uncertainties of healthcare.  These companies favor decisions that allow them to staff up quickly with longer term highly qualified temporary employees (3-12 months) rather than adding to their core stuff.  They have ample budgets for temporary staff,  but limited budgets for hiring direct.

The “temp while hiring” staffing model has become an increasingly popular solution as the local marketplace has become so over heated that employers can no longer function with the length of time it takes to fill a vacancy when a key employee departs.  For some key roles, it can take months to find the right replacement – a time frame not easily dealt by shuffling existing resources.  The demand for “interim” leaders, for example in high impact groups like sales, marketing, customer service, or HR, has increased dramatically – just to keep the trains running while a company takes its time to find the right replacement leader.

Interim roles are often filled quickly with a focus on finding a solution for a short term need,  without vetting for the longer term needs.  On occasion, an interim employee can become a candidate for the core role, but they typically would go thru a very different vetting process, competing with other candidate’s being vetted for the direct hire role.

Their advantage?  They already have experienced the organization’s culture and have acquired first hand knowledge of the organization’s needs – no small advantage when it comes to competing with other candidates who not had that catbird seat.

Which temp to hire model will work best for you?

It depends.  Many Northwest employers use all three as part of a very comprehensive staffing strategy pulling the best from core and interim work solution options.  Finding the right third party agency partner is key to making the best out of the temp to hire staffing strategy you use.  There are “temps” who simply do the work you need done, and then there are  “temps” who are great candidates for hire.  The right agency will know the difference pus guide you towards the best option for your particular staffing challenge.


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A  3 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Solutions  team  at

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