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Ask a Recruiter: Is Temp-to-Hire Legit?

Can you really land a full-time gig by starting out as a temp?

Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
Content Strategist, InHerSight

Woman wondering illustration

When the job market is competitive, full-time gigs can be hard to come by. Freelance, contract work, and even temp-to-hire arrangements are common, but are they a gateway to landing a permanent job? 

We asked Matt Hornyak, a talent acquisition consultant at Philips, whether temp-to-hire work arrangements can actually lead to full-time jobs.

Alright, level with us: Are “temp-to-hire” job arrangements legit?

Yes, the job search should be comprised of multiple approaches. You could be working as a temp and applying to roles but also considering this role as a full-time role. Especially in difficult capabilities like engineering, software, or design, the talent pools are tighter and so managers are more inclined to consider candidates from all talent pools regardless of their contractual agreement with the company.

If yes, how do you find a legitimate temp-to-hire job?

The process has become easier with the advent of freelancer websites like Upwork or Employers are now embracing the idea that contingent workers are technically qualified candidates. You should register with a staffing firm or even look at companies that advertise for contingent roles directly.

Read more: Ask a Recruiter: How Do I Find a Job That Makes Me Happy?

How long should it take to go from temp to hire?

Ideally, an organization should be able to identify if you are qualified to be hired for the full-time opening at about six months, sometimes sooner. 

When interviewing for a job like this, what red flags should you look out for?

The most important factor to pay attention to would be clarity around the long-term permanent need for the position if that is your goal (to be hired full-time). 

Ask questions like: When would you expect this role to convert to permanent? What information or approvals would you need before making the decision to convert a candidate? If the answers aren’t clear, then you may run the risk of working a role that won’t go permanent. Also it’s important to understand if the long term role aligns with what you want to do, many times contingent roles change over time because of the fluidity of the work engagement.

Read more: A Comprehensive List of Job Search Sites


Matt Hornyak is currently a senior talent acquisition consultant specializing in clinical, quality and regulatory recruitment for multiple modalities across North America for Philips. In addition, he functions as subject matter expert driving recruitment analytics across talent acquisition. Previous to Philips, Mr. Hornyak spent five and a half years leading two national search firms’ accounting and finance recruitment practices. Outside of work he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in business administration at Cleveland State University, is an avid traveler, and self-proclaimed foodie. 

Matt’s answers have been edited for clarity, grammar, and length.

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