What are Temporary Personnel?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Temporary personnel are workers who are hired on a short-term basis. These people are often informally called "temps" in many workplaces. Temporary workers are hired to fill in for regular staff who may be ill or on vacation. They are also often hired to help with a sudden increase in work load for a business. Temporary personnel work in many fields, including information technology (IT), legal administration, health care, labor, and food services.

The amount of time a temporary worker works for a business varies widely. In some cases, temporary personnel work for just an hour or two a day, or a few days a week for several months or longer. In other workplace situations, temporary workers may work full-time hours, but only stay at the company for a few weeks. It's also possible for a company to hire a temporary worker for a single day or event. The flexibility of the hours and often short length of time on the job mean that those wanting to be hired as temporary personnel must be flexible in their work schedule.

While not all people looking for a job can be flexible in the hours and days they work, temporary arrangements can work well for some job hunters. For instance, if a job requires temporary personnel to work from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. daily or a few days a week, this may be an ideal schedule for a parent with school-aged children. A short-term job or one with limited hours can also give those wanting to gain more experience in a career an opportunity to face less competition than they'd be likely to in a full-time position in their field.

Many online students who learn course material through Internet-based programs at their own pace find temporary personnel jobs appealing. These students can set their own hours and gain work experience while earning money to go towards their living or school expenses. Food service and labor-based companies who want workers with a minimum level of experience are more likely to hire students than employers with temporary positions that require already educated, experienced employees, such as for jobs in IT and health care.

Personnel management companies known as temporary staffing agencies often supply temp workers to businesses. Some of these agencies work with a wide variety of business types, while others provide temporary personnel placement in one industry, such as legal or medical. Temporary personnel placement agencies often recruit workers by placing ads in online job boards or on their own web sites, as well as in local newspapers.

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      Businessman with a briefcase