A Practical Guide to Landing a Job ‘Audition’

Much like dancing, working as a temp or supplemental employee takes ability, flexibility, dedication, and overall quality performance. To outshine the competition takes know-how and delivery. So you think you can dance temp? The art of the temp audition takes a common sense approach.

I’m confident that many, voluntary or otherwise, have changed career paths and the pursuit to find full-time work has become an endeavor different than what they originally thought or even expected. To those who have been around the block, it may have taken less time to find a new position in the past. For those eager to start a career, or are only recently entering the working world, securing a full-time job has been the likely goal. A challenging time though, with this less than favorite event we call a recession, has halted us (for the time being).

To endure these times, people in transition are finding that working in temporary assignments can offer a way to enhance their resume, teach them a new skill set, or even help them uncover a position they may not have considered by working for a company that was not on their radar. This bridge to gain employment not only offers a paycheck to help pay the bills, it can provide an opportunity to work in a new industry that just may lead to their next career!

Getting started with a staffing company is the first audition you will have; to achieve success, here is a checklist to consider that can provide you with positive results in earning a second audition. Set a positive tone by presenting yourself in the most professional way to make a lasting impression with your staffing partner; rapport and communication are key. We are consultants to our business partners we staff for. Just as important as it is for you to secure a job, it’s also equally important that we source and place the correct candidate to match the business in need of our services.

Think about the impression you want to project with the staffing liaison and understand that your interactions impact the decisions we make or thoughts we gather from your actions. We are influenced positively or negatively.

Audition #1: Getting the Part
Communication — Voicemail, email, and the phone interview
If you leave a voice mail, give the person you are trying to reach until the end of the business day to call you back. Generally, a call back within 24 hours is professional courtesy. Same goes for email communication. Live, direct contact with your staffing rep is our preferred business practice when issues come up. Don’t use email communication to report something, it makes a statement equal to avoidance.

When following up and interacting with your staffing liaison, be sure that you have listened to your voice mail message. Caller ID was a great invention, but just calling back is not always helpful. Know the name of the staffing representative that called you and ask for that person by name. Have the mindset that you are always on and “in audition mode” with everyone you come into contact with, including the front desk receptionist. If your actions are less than pleasant or professional with the first person you interact with, will that help you?

A crisp, confident, upbeat, energetic, and friendly voice tone is considered excellent verbal communication skills and portrays you as “sharp” when having a phone conversation.

When responding to inquiries, explain in brief summary your responsibilities. Use statements explaining what you handled using “I” statements and avoiding stating “we” as this does not reflect your specific duties. Leave out elaborate, unnecessary details.

Mirror the person who you are talking with at the time. If they are to-the-point then use that approach.  Remember, you are the interviewee. Respond to questions when asked and sell yourself, but don’t overpower the interviewer who called you.

Be mindful of background noise and distractions. Don’t ask the person who called you to hold and then carry on a discussion with someone else. In addition, eating or smoking while having a phone conversation or interview is never a good idea.

Audition #2: You Got the Part
Congratulations! Your previous experience, knowledge, and interview skills have landed you a temporary job assignment! The audition doesn’t end here though. Temporary assignments can sometimes turn into full-time jobs and the managers you meet on a temporary assignment can turn into a valuable reference down the road. It’s time now to keep cool and collected while trying out for the part.

While we understand and respect that you offer an impressive background, or previously may have held higher level responsibilities, when it comes to temp work, those skills may not be required to perform the job you are working.

In the world of temporary assignments, act like you have a million dollars and work like you owe a million dollars. In other words, don’t show desperation, show your work ethic (we all understand the paycheck is important).

When starting your assignment, before you make any quick assumptions or decisions, be fair to yourself. Get a feel for the company, the culture, the people, the personalities and guide yourself with your intuitive skills.

Beyond skills and experience level, employers consider personality, attitude, and ability of a temporary employee to fit in. Be pleasant, courteous, ask questions for clarity if needed, dress the part, and arrive 5 minutes early to be at the top of your game.

Personal situations and private information should be left at the door when you go to your assignment. Refrain from using social media and making excessive personal calls while at work. Taking extended lunches and breaks are sure ways to be defeated in your temp audition.

Until you are familiar with the organization, a good rule of thumb is to stay within boundaries, follow instructions, and keep opinions to yourself. Offer your ideas if requested to do so, otherwise focus on doing good work and showcasing your abilities and professionalism.

Any performer, dancer or otherwise, will tell you that to land a big audition you have to keep smiling, be prepared, and give ‘em what they are looking for. To land your big job audition, the same rules apply. Follow the tips mentioned above and you’re sure to “break a leg”.


tips for job seekers, A Practical Guide to Landing a Job ‘Audition’
Angie Smathers, Celebrity Staff Senior Account Manager

About Angie Smathers

Angie Smathers joined Celebrity Staff in 1998 and has been in her current role as a senior account manager for the Lincoln branch since 2005. Angie has had great success cultivating and maintaing lasting business relationships with clients across all industries. She has worked with hundreds of businesses and made successful candidate placements that have resulted in long-term commitments and career paths. She enjoys identifying top talent and assisting clients to help make smart hiring decisions that meet business goals. In 2007 and 2008 Angie earned President Club, Celebrity Staff’s top sales award. She is a member of Lincoln Human Resource Management Association (LHRMA) and has served on the planning committee for the Nebraska Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference. She is currently studying to complete her Certified Staffing Professional designation and in her free time she enjoys time with her family and friends, traveling, exercising and looks forward to taking up a new hobby — golf!

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