Merito Group provides a range of placing needs, from temporary positions to long term careers. One of the questions we are often asked is, ‘can this position become a permanent one? Today, we look into how it can become possible to go from temp to perm worker in a few simple steps.

When companies need short-term workers, (or if they just want to “try before they buy,”) they’ll hire temporary employees—also known as “temps,” consultants, freelancers or contractual workers. There’s no guarantee those positions will parlay into permanent ones, but it is possible if you play your cards right.

“If you are looking for work, a contract position is probably the best way to get employed,” says Melanie Holmes, a vice president at ManpowerGroup. “Working as a temporary employee gives you the opportunity to be on the inside and ultimately gives you an advantage over external candidates when applying for permanent jobs.”

Of course there are people who deliberately seek out temp work because of uncertainty in their own lives, because they need some extra cash, or because they simply want to try on a job for size, says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work. “[But] the vast majority of temp workers I know are desperately hoping to parlay that experience into something full-time, either with that company or by taking the experience they gain and moving on elsewhere.”

James Essey, the president and chief executive of The TemPositions Group of Companies, a large New York- based regional staffing firm, says he has noticed an increase in the size of TemPositions’ applicant pool over the last few years, as well as an improvement in “the quality of those applicants.”

Kerr says the trend everywhere points to a substantial increase in temporary workers, due largely to the volatility and uncertainty in the economy. “Temp jobs can offer more flexibility to employers, especially in times of great uncertainty, he says.

Holmes adds that because employers are more specific than ever about finding the exact right person for a job (i.e. someone who is a perfect match in both skills and cultural fit), many are taking the approach of hiring a potential employee on a temporary basis in order to evaluate the individual on the job. “This period serves as an extended job interview,” she says.

And the good news is, more and more of these opportunities are expected to pop up.

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute jobs survey, 58% of employers expect to hire more part-time, temporary or contract workers over the next five years. “In a down economy, temporary workers are especially appealing to employers from a financial perspective, given the costs associated with hiring full-time employees,” says Teri Hockett, chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women.

It turns out employers aren’t the only ones benefitting from temp jobs.

Working in a temporary job can be a great way to dip your toes in the water and find out what it would be like to work in that organization, what its culture is like, the type of work you’d be doing and the people you’d be working with, says David Shindler, an employability specialist and author of Learning to Leap. “It’s a two-way street, as employers can see how you perform and how you fit in. I know of people who have had jobs created for them as a result of the impact they have made while working in a temp job.”

In addition to Holmes, Kerr, Essey, Hockett and Shindler, the other career coaches and staffing firm execs who offered insights were Maggie Mistal, a career consultant, radio host and speaker, Joyce Russell, the president of Adecco Staffing US, Debra Benton, an executive coach and author of The Virtual Executive: How to Act Like a CEO Online and Offline, Rebecca Cenni, founder and chief executive of Atrium Staffing, and Marsha Egan, PCC, a professional certified coach and workplace productivity expert.

Joyce Russell says now is a great time to take on a temporary position. “At Adecco, we’re seeing more temporary jobs turn into permanent positions at a rate higher than we’ve seen in years. Employers are ready and willing to hire, and we’re seeing a majority of them opt to hire this way to make sure they’re making the best choice possible.”

Essey is noticing the same. He says that his firm has found that roughly 70% of people in temporary positions ultimately get a permanent job at that company, proving that “it is indeed an effective backdoor way to get hired.”

So, what can you do as a temp to improve your chances of becoming a permanent staffer?

Marsha Egan says the very best way to turn a temporary position into a full-time job is to simply “perform excellently and to fit in with the company and its culture.”

To read more tips from Jacquelyn Smith on how to turn your temp position into a permanent career from Forbes Magazine, click here.

Merito Group is a small women-owned business providing excellence in outsourced talent acquisition solutions including retained executive search, RPO, and consulting services. Looking to hire exceptional talent? Contact us by email or 703-734-6340. To view our current career opportunities, click here.