Skills required from temporary admin staff
Skills required from temporary admin staff
When an employer engages temporary admin staff they are looking for some specific things and they are probably not the things you think they are.
If you are a candidate who is looking for a temporary admin job then it’s probably a good idea to know what sort of skills your new employer will be looking for.
If you work in a staffing agency then understanding your client is key when you are looking to place the right candidate for them and foster your business relationship.
But if you are an employer it is equally important to understand what you really need to look for in your temporary office staff.
It goes without saying that temporary workers really need to be good at the task they are being hired to do. What an employer doesn’t want is to have to spend time training someone on the basics of say invoice processing when they should by rights know how to do this already.
But alongside this, there are skills that temp admin staff can bring to the table to really add value from day 1.
The first thing to say is that the temp really needs to be ready to hit the ground running. A good agency worker will know that they need to be able to get in, sit in a seat and require the minimum of hand-holding through the initial period.
Being new to the company, temporary office staff won’t have any qualms about asking what might seem to be stupid questions. ‘Where do you keep the copy paper?’, ‘Who orders stationery?’, ‘What’s the number for the IT department?’. The temporary worker can’t be shy about asking things like this as their new colleagues might not have thought about doing a full induction.
In a similar vein, temporary staff need to be somewhat robust in their attitude to work. Permanent colleagues may not be over-friendly and managers may not feel inclined to spend a large amount of time training and supporting their new person. Although in the UK Temporary workers have the same rights as their permanent counterparts it may be the case that they do get excluded from things like training sessions and team meetings.
Good temp admin staff understand that this is only a short term role so none of this actually matters. They also understand that often the role can have a definite finish date and so they will leave the company. Getting attached to a business and new friends is probably a bad idea in this instance.
Professional temps tend to be goal and task-focused. So they understand what needs to be done and have the ability to marshal the resources to do it.
Whether it be taking on a PA role for a short term or working as a management accountant they will have a clear view of what they are expected to achieve, by when and what they need to do this.
Flexibility is another key attribute of great temporary office staff. They need to understand that they may not have a usual place of work or their own desk. They may have to share resources such as phones or office equipment but none of this will phase them.
They’ll also understand that things may not be available on day 1. Often temp admin staff get appointed very quickly to plug a sudden gap so there may not be things like door entry cards, PC log-ins or email accounts set up the moment they start.
Being able to learn and understand systems quickly is another key skill of a great temp admin worker.
They’ll understand that most systems work in essentially the same way; they just look different and have different names for the same process. The temp will use their flexibility and experience to understand and find their way around the system quickly and with the minimum of training.
Forming effective relationships is another important aspect of the job of the agency admin staff.
It’s no use being a shrinking violet when you need to be able to work as an effective member of a team and be able to contribute from the moment you arrive.
Being able to understand people’s place in the organisation and form relationships is important as the temp will no doubt need their help as time goes on.
A good temp will also be an exceptional communicator. They’ll be able to let their manager know how things are going and will be able to shout if they need help. They’ll also understand that sometimes it’s best not to march into an established office and tell them that they are doing it all wrong! Tact and diplomacy certainly go a long way in this respect.
As we can see there are a series of so-called ‘soft’ skills that good temporary office staff can employ to make sure that they are adding value to an organisation as soon as possible. Candidates would do well to check out this list and use it as a way of assessing where they need to do work to make sure that they fit the bill.
For employers, we can see that the temporary staff interview questions move away from those that they may ask permanent staff. Potential temp admin staff will need to be asked about their flexibility, communication skills and organisation methods.
For the agency, providing great temp staff is important for building a strong client relationship and in this respect understanding how they can give their candidates the best chance of success increases the likelihood of a happy customer.