Consider for a moment the word temp. More than likely, you are envisioning a secretary or bookkeeper. Perhaps you may be thinking of a temp agency like Kelly Services or Manpower, Inc., which have serviced corporate America by placing office personnel on a short-term basis to complete tasks that permanent employees can't seem to get around to.

In Executive Temping, Saralee Terry Woods transforms our attitudes about temps and gives us a picture of the temporary employee of the 1990s. Many companies use staffing services, as they are now called, to fill their professional personnel needs including computer programmers, accountants, and engineers. In fact, even doctors and lawyers are now being placed in temporary assignments. Executive Temping is a career guide for this new breed of temporary employee.

Woods explains why companies are now using professional temps to fill their highly skilled personnel needs. Clearly, the current environment of corporate downsizing has made professional temping more common. Companies can fill vital roles in their structure without the liability of paying for benefits as they would with permanent employees. Many staffing agencies now provide benefits to their professional temps as a means of attracting and retaining the best professional temps.

Woods enumerates the many points a potential professional temp should consider before joining a staffing agency. What amount of pay should you expect? What are the differences between an independent contractor and a professional temp? Why do some agencies charge the temp for finding them an assignment? These questions are answered with detail and obvious knowledge of the pros and cons.

Woods evaluates expectations for each industry from information systems opportunities to health care, addressing current market demand and compensation packages. Her underlying theme is the need for all professional temps to stay current on skills necessary to compete in their industry. Many staffing agencies supply their employees with training programs to meet this need. The bottom line is that if the temporary employee is successful, so is the staffing agency.

Finally, Woods offers advice on selecting an agency and how to get the assignment the temp wants. She discusses interviewing skills, communication, reliability, appearance , and how to turn a temporary job into a permanent one.

Executive Temping is a roadmap of the current business climate and an asset for the expanding pool of professionals looking for variety and an escape from the downsizing of corporate America.

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