How does Temping work

Knightsbridge Recruitment is a London Temping Agency that provides exceptional temporary workers with all levels of experience, for companies needing the best temporary cover available anywhere for their reception, team assistant, Private PA, PA, EA, and Chief of Staff roles.

This article explains what clients and candidates need to know about hiring temps and how temping works. For more information, please phone us
on 020 7468 0400 and our consultants will be delighted to help.

What is a Temporary Worker (aka a Temp)?

A temporary worker (temp) provides short-term cover for a company or an individual. Temporary workers are paid an hourly rate which will vary according to the type of job and the experience and skills required for the actual role.

What is the Difference between a Temporary Contract and a Fixed-Term Contract Role?

When a company requires additional PA or administrative support and is not in a position to recruit a permanent member of staff, hiring a candidate on a temporary basis is often a good solution. The tried and tested options are, to either hire a temporary worker on a temporary contract or to hire a candidate on a fixed-term contract. The differences are explained below to allow you to make the right choice for your company’s specific situation or please phone Knightsbridge Recruitment to discuss in greater detail.

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A Temporary Contract Role

  • Is a quick and effective solution for companies faced with an unplanned staff shortage - as you can have a temporary worker in place very quickly and do not need to confirm the length of the booking.
  • It’s very flexible and requires minimal commitment or notice period from the company or the temporary worker.  Beware – this works both ways!
  • A temporary worker is paid by the hour and their hourly rate will depend on their experience, skills and the actual temporary role they are filling.
  • A temporary worker will complete time sheets which are signed-off by the client.  They are paid by the recruitment agency weekly in arrears.    

A Fixed-Term Contract role

  • Is for an agreed period of time, often between 3 – 12 months but it varies.  
  • It can be a rolling contract from one month to the next.
  • Maternity contracts are usually 9 – 12 months depending on the situation.   
  • In a short-term contract role, the candidate is paid monthly by the company (not by their agency) and receives the same benefits as permanent employees. 
  • A completion bonus to incentivise the candidate to stay the course and complete the short-term contract is recommended.  This should be agreed at the start of the booking.

Why do Companies Use Temps
and Fixed-Term Contracts?

  • Companies use Temporary Workers and Fixed-Term Contracts to cover:
    • Sickness
    • Holidays
    • Maternity leave
    • Compassionate leave
    • Work overload
    • Confidential or one-off projects
    • Headcount frieze
  • Flexibility – it means that a company can take on a temp for a couple of days, weeks or months with minimal commitment or contractual obligations.  This can be particularly useful when there is a period of change or uncertainty or just a one-off project which needs working on

How to choose a Temping Agency?

  • Choose an established recruitment agency that specialises in providing high calibre temporary employees.  A reputation for excellence speaks volumes.
  • A reputable agency will always screen and interview their temps meticulously before introducing them to their clients.  Choose a temping agency that you trust to deliver the service you need.
  • Always speak to the agency about your requirements don’t just rely on email.  You need to decide if the agency is right for your company, and this is best done by phone. 

    1. Do they ask incisive and relevant questions?
    2. Are they thorough and quality driven?
    3. Do they sound genuinely interested? 
    4. Do they have appropriate temps available?
    5. Do they appear efficient and well informed?
    6. How quickly can they get a temp to you?

  • Never work with a temping agency that doesn’t insist on coming to meet you at your office. Agencies have a duty of care to all their temporary workers and should investigate where their temporary worker is going to be working in advance of the temporary booking.

Why do Candidates Temp and what are the Benefits of Temping?

The extraordinary thing about temping is that it will open doors for you in a way that no other job can, providing you with invaluable experience and insight into an eclectic mix of industries, companies, and roles. Working as a temp will develop your understanding of potential career opportunities and make you a versatile and confident candidate for jobs in any sector. It can give you the space to familiarise yourself with the industries you are interested in and, because you are able to meet and work alongside people in these industries, it can often lead to unexpected job offers in permanent roles. Equally important, temping can help you avoid unnecessary career mistakes as you may discover that the industry you had always dreamed of working in, is not what you expected and not for you. Temping can help you work out what your priorities are, what’s important to you and what things you are not prepared to negotiate on. It can be a game-changer.

There are lots of reasons to temp.
You might want to temp because:

  • Temping is your full-time career.  You love temping because you relish the freelance lifestyle and enjoy new challenges, meeting new people and you thrive on variety and change.  The routine of a permanent job might just not be for you.
  • Temping can supplement your income and be a useful side-hustle whilst you are setting up a business, or working freelance, for example starting a career as a writer, actor or musician.
  • Temping helps to support you financially when you are in further education or perhaps training for another career.
  • Temping works well for someone who wants part-time work to fit in with their other commitments – perhaps small children or caring for a relative.
  • Temping fills a gap before you start a new job, go travelling or begin university or college.
  • Temping is a useful thing to do if you have moved to a new city or country as it’s a good way to meet people and get the most out of a new environment. 
  • Temping allows you to get your ‘foot in the door’ to new industries and opportunities. You can ‘try before you buy’ and can learn from your mistakes so that you are in a position to confidently decide what kind of job and industry is right for you, and equally important, what is not. 
  • Temping is by its very nature, flexible.  As a temp you are never tied down, you are not obliged to give notice in the same way you would be with a contract or permanent job (although giving reasonable notice is always recommended). 
  • Temping is all about making connections. You never know who you will meet in a new temp role, and building networks across industries can lead to unexpected and exciting opportunities down the line. Not knowing what any job or day will bring means that anything is possible with temping, the sky really is the limit in terms of what you can do, who you can meet, and what you can achieve. 

What are the Problems Associated with Temping?

  • There is a lack of job security with temping given that temp work is not guaranteed. This can be stressful, and the temp lifestyle is definitely not for everyone. 
  • A CV that is very temp-heavy can sometimes mean that it is difficult to switch to a permanent PA or administrative role, if the employer is looking for evidence of consistent work with companies or companies. 
  • The work can at times be basic and repetitive, particularly in very short-term temp roles as the company may not have time to invest in training a temporary worker for more interesting and challenging work if they are only temping in the company for a day or so.

What do Clients want from a Temp and How to Excel?

If you are looking for the pick of the bunch of temp bookings, the first thing to do as a temp is to build a strong relationship with your recruitment agency, particularly the consultant you are working with.   It’s important to keep closely in touch with your consultant whilst they look for temp roles for you.  You need to respond quickly to their calls and emails and keep them constantly updated with your availability so that they are always thinking of you when an exciting new temp job comes up. 

  • Skills - It depends on the temp booking, but in terms of skills, temps often need accurate and fast typing, good spelling, strong IT (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), to be well organised and have great communication skills.
  • Flexible Attitude - It’s important to lean into the flexible nature of temping – do not be too picky with roles as everything can be good experience and you never know what or who lies ahead. 
  • Versatility and Adaptability – Great temps enjoy variety and are very versatile and adapt quickly to different companies, different people and different office environments and cultures.
  • Reliability - Be reliable in every sense. Turn up on time to your temp bookings and never let the company or your recruitment agency down with avoidable last-minute changes to your plans and availability. 
  • Hard Working – Manage your time effectively and try to get work done quickly and to a high standard – attention to detail is always important.
  • Go the Extra Mile - Be positive, engaging and interested in what the company does and what you are being asked to do.  Always be super-helpful. Make an impression on all the people you meet and make sure you are noticed for the right things. 
  • Smart Presentation – It’s important to be appropriately presented for all your temp bookings. Your consultant will be happy to advise.
  • Be Memorable - aim to secure additional temp bookings wherever you go.  Work hard at being the favoured temp for all the companies you temp for - and your recruitment agency.


Next steps

Knightsbridge Recruitment has been placing the best temporary workers in leading companies and with high profile individuals, entrepreneurs, and celebrities for the past 40 years.  Intelligent, highly skilled, and able to ‘fit’ quickly and easily into your company Knightsbridge Recruitment’s temps add immediate value wherever they go.  Our network of exceptional temps ensures we can fill last minute temp vacancies quickly and efficiently.

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