How to Be a Valued Temp Worker (and Get More Work in the Process)

Despite their usually infamous reputation, the majority of "Recruitment Agencies"/"Temp Agencies" are usually in fact very reputable businesses. They provide a great way for entry level workers to get a start in a variety of industries they desire, and you can easily become a seasoned veteran an a matter of only a few years due to the massive variety of different workplaces you will work in. If you are just starting out as a temp worker, here are a few steps to be a valued employee, and in the process get more work.


  1. 1
    Always be friendly, open to conversation, and professional. Definitely one of the main but underestimated points of being an agency worker is to always be friendly, open to conversation, and professional - to both your agency's "consultants" (who call you to give you work) , and also to everyone in your host workplaces. It's human nature that people prefer a friendly face as opposed to an indifferent one, even if the indifferent worker is better than the friendly worker.
  2. 2
    Get good reviews. This is mainly done in your first 3-6 months, even stretching up to 12 months after joining an agency; needless to say, it is always important to have a good work ethic first and foremost. After getting positive reviews from different workplaces, your position in the agency's call list will go up, and you will receive more work. Likewise, you are relied upon to represent your agency in the best, most professional manner at all times, whether working in the public eye, or in private factories and the like.
  3. 3
    Always maintain a good work ethic. This includes obvious things such as "doing your best", not "slacking off", "doing nothing", checking your phone for extended periods of time, or other similar behavior. It is also important to follow the less obvious social work ethic rules such as no "extended talking" or constant conversations while working. This widely varies between companies and workplaces, so it is always important to take a note of and "feel out" the company culture and stance on employee's engaging in conversation while working - as it is widely believed (and correct to a degree) to impede efficient work performance.
  4. 4
    Accept as many shifts as you can.This proves you are keen to work, and additionally after a job well done you are more likely to get more work. On the other hand, if you must turn down shifts, briefly state your reason why (e.g. invited to a wedding on the weekend), and you may also state you are free next weekend, or the rest of the week, etc.
  5. 5
    If you are not getting any work, give them a call. In many agencies, especially if you are a new agency worker, sometimes the only reason you may not be getting any work is because you are simply not on the "available list." This is a common mistake that many agency employees make, they state they have not been getting any work for weeks, however have not been in touch with the agency at all during those weeks. In this situation, your ideal course of action is to call the agency anytime during work hours, stating your name and availability (e.g. Hi ...... its ......, just calling to see if there's any work today? I'm available the rest of the week and onwards. Thank you!").
    • If you still get no work, wait the rest of the week, or at least 2 days minimum before calling again. If you are calling the agency for work and you still are not getting any work (provided you are in good standing with the company), then there may not actually be much work available. Many agencies hire a vast pool of employees, and additionally there are seasons and times of the year where some companies simply do not have much work available.
  6. 6
    If you are not getting much work, join a second agency. If you are still not getting any work of an extended period of days or weeks, it would be wise to join another agency, just ensure you are as honest as you can be to both agencies and let them both know. Many agencies openly state in their contracts that you are not restricted to working elsewhere, so long as you are honest with your other jobs, and do not inconvenience either agency (e.g. accepting a job assignment, but later cancelling it for another job, not showing up, etc....these are big no-no's and will do you no favours.)
  7. 7
    Be yourself, and do the best you can. In the end, in all assignments, if you can be friendly, professional, do your best, and represent the company in a positive manner, you will almost always get a positive review, and in the process get more work. This may help you become a full-time agency casual at a workplace, a full-time agency worker, or even a full-time employee at one of your host workplaces.
    • It will always vary from workplace to workplace, however the minimum agency contract to full time period is generally 4- 6 months if a host employer is looking to sign you from the agency as a full-time employee at their company. This is often seen as a great compliment to your working skills and ethic, and also is a great opportunity to begin a career as a full time employee (with benefits) at the host employer you are already familiar with. If you accept such an offer, it is always preferable to remain on good terms with your agency in case of worst case scenario. Similarly, you may also choose to stay in contact with your agency as an on-call worker for extra out of hours or weekend work in addition to your full time job.
    • On the other hand, if you choose to decline an offer, explain your reasons as politely and as respectfully as you can. You may be invited to continue your regular agency contracted role in the host company, or you may be replaced in the host company if the host employer is looking to hire another full timer. In this situation, you would also preferably explain your reasons for turning down the offer to your agency, so the agency can simply transfer you to another company/job role.


    • As previously mentioned, always strive to do your best in any assigned work assignment, even if its not one you may necessarily enjoy working on at the time, your hard work will show and be noticed by the supervisors/mangers who will either give you more ongoing work or equally give positive feedback about you to the agency when your work assignment has concluded
  • If there is a particular industry you wish to get work into, ask your agency consultants! they will advise you if there is any entry level available work for you and the skills you possess, additionally for work assignments you have enjoyed, let the agency know you are keen to revisit the workplace, or are open to similar work.
  • Although most workplaces will supply most materials and equipment, in some industries (e.g. warehousing and logistics) it would come in handy to bring along a marker, pen, and box cutter as these are a few essential items in such industries and workplaces that may be shared around the workplace, but can often be difficult or frustrating to locate.


  • Except for brief use of checking the time, date, or emergencies, avoid mobile phone use almost completely, many employers and supervisors dislike nothing more than an hired worker using their phone while as work, often this may lead to a warning or simply not being called in the next day
  • Avoid lateness in any assignment, however as an "on call worker" there are times where you may be called in to work "urgently/ASAP". In these circumstances communicate clearly to the agency how long it will take you to reach the workplace, agreeing to a set time and arriving at that time or earlier, often it can be from 30 minutes to 1 hr will be no trouble, as long as you clearly let them know your estimated arrival time to the workplace.
  • Don't quickly get your hopes up too high on getting a full time employment position, although most workplaces only hire agency workers for a few weeks, some workplaces may employ "full time agency casuals" (meaning you are scheduled at the same workplace 5 days a week) for months, even years on end, the longest usually being around 3-4 years before finally getting contracted as an official full time employee.
  • On the other hand, some workplaces may employ an "full time agency casual" for several busy months on end, only to then conclude the work assignment when work has slowed down. The general rule is to be employed for at least 6 continuous months or a Full calendar year, before assuming any possibility of a full time position with a certain workplace, although as previously mentioned, every workplace will be different.

Article Info

Categories: Job Strategies