• Wonolo

There are many benefits to hiring temporary workers, but there’s also a right way and a wrong way to go about it. From not doing due diligence during the screening process to treating temporary workers differently than your full-time staff, there are a number of mistakes that can lead to a less-than-ideal experience.

To gain some expert insights into the common mishaps that tend to happen, we reached out to a panel of HR pros and hiring managers and asked them to answer this question: 

“What’s the #1 mistake companies make when hiring temporary workers (and how can they avoid it)?”

Meet Our Panel of HR Pros and Hiring Managers:

Find out what our pros have to say and learn how to avoid the most common hiring mishaps by reading their responses below.

Stephanie Adams-NicolaiStephanie Adams-Nicolai


Stephanie Adams is the Founder of GODDESSY Organics, Partner of Wall Street Chiropractic and Wellness.

The #1 mistake companies make in hiring temporary workers is…

Not vetting them as if they will be there permanently.

Take it from a family medical practice who hired a part time independent contractor for just a few days a week for a small number of months who:

  • Lied about having a professional medical massage license.
  • Received repeat complaints from patients.
  • Never provided sufficient proof of citizenship.
  • Threatened us physical harm if we ever fired her.

So then we immediately fired her. And then she tried to sue us for money that she does not deserve, falsely claiming she was too cute to work for us.

So now we:

  • Do background checks for everyone, even if they work for only a week.
  • Require 2 forms of government ID (Drivers License and Social Security Card)- Have every staff member, both temporary and permanent), sign a professional contract.
  • Keep copies of all certified licenses, certifications, and professional certificates related to their work.- Reserve the right to hire and fire as we choose, for any reason written within our guidelines (especially threatening your boss.)

The one good thing that did come about as a result of the disgruntled, abruptly fired worker is the fact that my family is much stronger and unified.

Oh yes, thanks to an amazing team of lawyers, we also have our legal documents in better shape now. And hopefully you will too.


Mikaela KinerMikaela Kiner


Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at Seattle-based companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. In 2015 she founded uniquelyHR, no-nonsense HR for startups. Mikaela enjoys being creative and solving problems in a space leaders love to hate. She is an ICF credentialed coach working with executives and high potential women leaders.

I believe the biggest mistake companies make when hiring temporary employees is…

Not moving fast enough. The benefits of hiring a temp are countless. Temps are pre-screened, come from a trusted source, and are pre-qualified. When an employer needs a temp, it’s usually because they are growing quickly, under resourced, or have an unexpected vacancy to fill. Most teams are already at capacity, and when a team is short-handed, employees pay the price by working additional hours and risking burnout. 

When interviewing temps, companies should move quickly and reduce the size of their interview team. Make sure the temp meets the immediate qualifications and is a culture fit, but don’t feel they have to meet the same standards as a full-time hire. Limit the number of interviews and focus your debrief conversation on whether the temp will provide immediate relief. If the answer is yes, bring them on board.


Barbara McgarityBarbara Mcgarity


Barbara Mcgarity works in Human Resources for Paylesspower.com.

The biggest problem we see companies have when hiring temporary workers is…

The summer time is the most intensive part of the year for energy companies, with electricity usage skyrocketing, and we always hire seasonal employees to help with the overflow of customers. The #1 problem we have encountered is the lack of training.

Naturally, being only temporary, the amount that a seasonal employee can pick up is negligible. We’ve tried the same basic training we do for our regular employees and it was just too much for a few months worth of work.

What we’ve done instead is break down our jobs into smaller roles for the summer with simpler training. This has been far more effective and made our entire arrangement for efficient.


Jennette SeiblyJennette Seibly


Jennette Seibly is a Business Advisor and Executive Coach for SeibCo, LLC.

The biggest mistake companies make in hiring temporary workers is…

Often they fail to ensure the person has the qualities required to do the job.


  • Write up a short job description or job specs.
  • Use a qualified core value assessment (uncovers issues of theft, attendance, proprietary issues, etc. that a background check is not designed to uncover).
  • Run a background check (checks public records).
  • Run a drug screen.
  • Use a qualified job fit assessment (clarifies if the person will and can do the job).
  • Be clear, over and over, on your expectations (most people are poor listeners and are not used to doing things your way).


Lauren StaffordLauren Stafford


Lauren Stafford is the HR Publishing Specialist for HRMS World.

When hiring temporary workers, companies need to…

Be clear about the duration of seasonal employment. Seasonal jobs usually have to adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) meaning that short-term employees, unless they are contractors, have the same legal rights as the rest of the workforce. It’s common for temporary employees to work extra hours in the hope that a permanent position will open up, but this leads to complications around overtime. To prevent any compliance issues, emphasize that the position is temporary from the outset. If an organization is recruiting through a temporary staffing agency, they should provide them with accurate information via a written record. It’s key that companies keep a note of all relevant communication generally, as well as timesheets to ensure all employees are keeping the correct hours to maintain compliance.


Frances MorenoFrances Moreno


Frances Moreno founded Vaco Los Angeles in 2006. She earned her CPA license after completing her Bachelor’s degree in accounting with a Spanish minor at CSU, San Diego. Previously, Frances worked for Deloitte, the State of California, an ERP software company, and an S&P 500 staffing company. She’s a member of Vistage, Women’s Presidents Organization and FEI, and serves on the Kidsave and Girl Scouts boards of directors.

The #1 error is…

Trying to go inexpensively and be a do it yourself-er.

Strategic staffing doesn’t have to be expensive; however, you do need to pay market rates and rely on people who are highly skilled in providing this labor.

Companies that hire temporary workers should partner with a reputable service who works with long-term contractors, consultants, and temporary professionals. There is such a large population of talent who are highly qualified and work in that capacity for the diversity, experience, and flexibility of consulting and project work.


Corey BrayCorey Bray


Corey Bray is the Founder and CEO of LegalNature.

One of the biggest mistakes a hiring manager can make is…

Neglecting to have temporary employees sign a non-disclosure clause that prohibits the disclosure of confidential information to third parties, a non-compete clause that prohibits specific activities that compete with a business, and a non-solicitation clause that prohibits solicitation of a business’ customers, employees, or similar business relationships. Keep in mind, the clauses normally specify for how long and to which parties to the agreement they apply. Some state courts and legislatures have created laws that set limitations on these clauses, including how long, to whom, and even where (geographically) they may apply.


Tyler RiddellTyler Riddell


Tyler Riddell is the Director of Marketing for eSUB Construction Software with over 15 years of experience in Marketing, Product Management, Advertising, and Public Relations. He has a proven track record for successful go to market and corporate communication programs in multiple vertical tech markets.

One of the worst mistake a company can make in regards to hiring a temporary worker is…

To overload them with a bunch of training up front. Instead, provide about a half a day of training per month you plan to have them onboard. 



Dustin OlenslagerDustin Olenslager


Dustin Olenslager is the Chief Navigator for Lead Harbor.

Over the years, the number one problem I’ve found in hiring temporary workers only happens when…

I don’t set expectations correctly at the beginning of the engagement. It’s crucial that anyone hiring someone for a temporary (or gig-based) position clearly communicates the the expected timeframe for the project, pay rate, VERY specific information about the work that needs to be completed, and any expectations in regards to the contractor checking in and being held accountable. Overall, I’d say that the more communication, the better your contract will go.


Lisa ChuLisa Chu


Lisa Chu is the Hiring Manager for Black N Bianco.

Temporary workers are a great asset and resource for businesses when they are looking to expand or increase productivity…

They add value to the business, and too often companies make the mistakes of making them feel less valued than full-time employees. They also leave temp workers out of full-
time staff meetings because they don’t view them as part of the team. But that is a huge mistake. Making your temp workers feel valued and appreciated will increase their productivity and make them go beyond their job responsibilities. A lot of companies miss the opportunity to create real efficient temporary workers because they apply different standards to temp workers. Don’t adjust the workplace rules, and apply them equally to
all employees. Having an even playing field is great for morale because favoritism won’t exist. Remember to provide your temporary workers a positive experience because you may rely on them again in the future. You will save on time and energy in re-training new workers and they can potentially become full time employees.


Andrew ElliottAndrew Elliott


Andrew Elliott is the founder of GoDesignerGo, a remote-based company that provides unlimited graphic design services to businesses for a flat monthly fee.

The #1 mistake when hiring temporary workers is…

Not being clear about job expectations from the very beginning stages of the hiring process. It is all too easy to focus on your need to fill the position fast and overlook the
information a temporary worker needs in order to be successful at their position. When hiring someone for a temporary position it is extremely important to be clear and transparent regarding the length of their contract, the scope of their work and the potential (or lack thereof) of the position turning into a full-time gig. Keeping expectations transparent during the hiring process will make sure that both sides are happy with the hiring decision. Doing so will likely lead to a happier, more productive
employee and less friction when adding the temporary worker to your existing
business processes and teams.


Flynn ZaigerFlynn Zaiger


Flynn Zaigeris the Founder and CEO of Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency located in New Orleans that’s the youngest company on the city’s Best Places to Work list the past two years. 

The #1 mistake employers make when hiring temporary workers is…

Not being upfront with them from the beginning.

All employees, including temporary ones, want to know what they are getting into when they are hired for a job. They need to know both what to expect from a job and what they will take away after their experience is over.

Expectations It’s important, when hiring seasonal or temporary workers, to be upfront
about the needs and expectations. Temporary workers are aware that this is short-term, so providing them with exact dates for starting and finishing, as well as information on any hours or potential overtime, will ensure that you get candidates that fit your requirements and don’t waste their time (or the hiring manager’s own).

Takeaways: We’ve found that emphasizing what workers can do with their temporary
experience after the gig is up, helps get the cream of the crop of those looking for seasonable jobs afterwards. Will you provide references? Will you put together a recommendation letter? How can you help them translate something seasonal into something more permanent (even if it’s not at your organization). Those kinds of emphasizes in your job description will lead to great applicants, and eventually seasonal workers!


Marilyn WeinsteinMarilyn Weinstein


Marilyn Weinstein is Vivo’s founder and CEO, responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Her background also includes advisement and counsel service to mid and enterprise-level organizations. As an employment law expert, Marilyn focused her pre-IT experience in the areas of organizational development and corporate compliance. 

The biggest mistake people make when hiring temporary workers is…

Going overboard in their attempt to comply with their understanding of the laws surrounding contractors. In their effort to avoid joint employer liability, many companies treat temporary employees horribly. One of our consultants told us stories of not being allowed to eat birthday cake during when it’s a team member’s birthday. HR at that company makes them stay at their desks, while the rest of the team gathers to celebrate. “This would be a blurring of the lines,” their HR tells them.

So, let them eat cake! In all seriousness, think! If your contingent workforce program is otherwise well run, there’s no reason to believe that lines are crossed by including everyone in a quick social gathering. Ten minutes of fun will pay out in spades, while ten minutes of being snubbed can lead to fairly disastrous results.


Jana TullochJana Tulloch


Jana Tulloch, CPHR is a Human Resources Professional at DevelopIntelligence.

The biggest mistake employers make when hiring temporary workers, I think, is…

Treating them differently than permanent employees. Temporary employees in many cases bring just as much, if not more, to the table in their short tenure, and can help bolster your reputation as a great employer if treated well. Onboard them as you would
a regular employee, and touch base with them often. Give them the same perks and rewards as other staff, and be sure to give kudos regularly, particularly if their tenure is very short.

They are also a great pipeline to keep tabs on for future permanent vacancies, so keeping in touch post-temporary job is something employers should consider.


Eric AnthonyEric Anthony


Eric Anthony is the Founder of StreamingObserver.com, a site that reports on streaming news and offer tips for streaming and cord-cutting. 

Often, when business owners are hiring for temporary positions…

They don’t bother really thoroughly interviewing them. Even if they’re only working for you for a few months, you should still do a background check and a simple social media search. You still want your company to be well represented by people you trust.


William SwiftWilliam Swift

William Swift is a manager of marketing department in a mattress company. He shared several useful sleeping tips and knowledge about mattress on his blog.

The No.1 mistake HR managers tend to make is…

Lowering standards for temporary workers. They used to think of temporary workers as simple placeholders. The misconception makes your employee feel less valued and important. They will have a negative attitude at work and underperform in all their jobs. That affects morale and performance of the whole team. To avoid this, you should use the same standard for all employees and include them in all meetings and activities with full time staff.


Eric BowenEric Bowen


Eric Bowen is the Digital Marketing Manager for BroadbandSearch.Net.

We have used temporary workers in the past to help alleviate workloads during heavy times…

There have definitely been some ups and downs, with the biggest mistake being not keeping high hiring standards. It is easy when you are hiring a temporary worker to just hire anyone for the job. However, it is important to keep the same high standards that you would for any other full-time position so that the temporary worker does not turn into a headache. 


Dave LopesDave Lopes


Dave Lopes is the Director of Recruiting at Badger Maps, the #1 Sales App in the Apple App Store, which helps Field Sales People be more successful.

Hiring for temporary employees can be a difficult task…

As a temp, a lot of employees may or may not put forth the effort to really shine in the
office. If your company is looking for growth, temporary employees are a great resource to provide that potential new teammate with insight into operations. You may, however, run into some temporary employees who have been bouncing around at jobs because they can’t find something that suits them. To avoid that, make sure that you give that person an environment similar to the environment that they’ll be involved in every day.

Arguably the biggest mistake a hiring manager can make when bringing on temporary employees is bringing that person on with the mind set of, this person will only be here for a little while, lets just bring them on board. You’ll want to treat this interview and screening process as you would with someone who you would want to fill a full time role. Anything less is a disservice to your HR team and the temporary employee.


Becky GriswoldBecky Griswold

Becky Griswold works as a senior safety management consultant at SAIF, providing safety and health consultative services to a variety of businesses throughout Oregon. She has over seven years of safety and health consultative experience.

The primary mistake I have seen employers make is…

Forgetting to consider their temporary workforce within their safety and health programs.

Here in Oregon, the rate of injury for temporary workers is 66 percent higher than for permanent employees-and the data is similar on the national level. There are a number of factors contributing to this-employers may not provide on-site training or they may make assumptions about a worker’s previous knowledge or training. Conversely, workers may be eager to prove themselves so may work too quickly, or take on tasks they aren’t prepared for. They may also be hesitant to speak up if they have concerns or questions.

To reduce these injuries, we recommend employers closely communicate with their staffing agencies to determine what safety training is needed before starting the job and who will be best equipped to deliver it. I would say, in most cases, it is the host employer that will have the necessary resources to train on job tasks and equipment specific to their own company. Also consider how differential treatment in providing safety training could destabilize your organization’s efforts to build a strong safety culture. For example, if you require safety glasses for your full-time workers and not for your temporary workers, what kind of message does that send? Including seasonal workers in safety training and regular safety meetings will go a long way in building a strong safety culture that is supported by other full-time employees and management.


Sean FitzpatrickSean Fitzpatrick


Sean Fitzpatrick is the President of TalentMap.

One big mistake companies make with temporary workers is…

Keeping them separate from full-time staff.

Taking on temporary employees offers an opportunity to ingrain new professionals in your work and your company culture. The experience these team members have with your company is just as important as your full-time staff and with the right coaching, these temporary team members could be well-poised to become some of your best and
most qualified full-time employees down the road when you are ready to expand. Embracing your temporary employees as part of your team is the best way to foster a positive, consistent company culture.


 Jacob WhitleyJacob Whitley


Completing his first feature length film at the age of 19, Jacob came sprinting out of the gates into the film industry the moment he was released from high-school. Continuing to work on several projects over the years, Jacob continued his education by getting his Project Management Certification. He now runs his own company producing horror films.

The number one mistake a comapny can make in the film industry when hiring 
a temporary worker is…

Hiring strictly based on an individuals resume or amount of experience and ignoring the interview process of discovering the individuals personality and ability to work with others. I’ve written a project management article on this subject and I talk about the archetypes of skilled individuals. If you hire two workers who are both very talented and have dominate personalities, then they will not work well together and constantly cause conflict in the work place because of conflicting views. It’s the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. The important thing when hiring a temporary worker is focusing on personality and going into a project confident that the individual will get
along with your team well, even if it means you are not selecting the most skilled candidate. This will ensure efficiency in the project.


Deborah SweeneyDeborah Sweeney


Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com.

If you’re looking to attract talent for seasonal positions…

Do your homework during interviews. Look for résumés that include actionable tips that meet the needs of the job listing and illustrate skills used to keep calm when surrounded by holiday pandemonium. Proof of behavior where applicants go out of their way to help while remaining cheerful, patient, and understanding can edge out career highlights because anything can happen during the holidays – and you want to hire a team that is prepared to take it on.


Amber HunterAmber Hunter


Amber Hunter is the Director of Employee Performance at A Plus Benefits. Amber has over 10 years of experience in HR for various industries including mining and airlines. At A Plus Benefits, she provided human resources strategy and compliance support for hundreds of small businesses with employees located all over the country.

The biggest mistake employers make when hiring temporary workers is…

Treating them as if they are temporary. Sure, they aren’t going to be with your organization long-term, but that doesn’t mean you can’t onboard them in such a way that they at least have a high-level understanding of your culture. Take the time to put them through then full onboarding process. Ensure they know your cultural and operational values. Give them a crash course on how to speak up and escalate an issue if need be, and by all means, find them a buddy they can go to with any questions. Include them in company functions and communications. 

Whether they are onsite for a few days, weeks or months, this is your opportunity to showcase how great your company is. In the process, you may even find the long-term talent you need to fulfill your organizational goals and priorities. Even if they never become a permanent employee, you have to opportunity to create raving fan.


Eyal KatzEyal Katz


Eyal Katz is the Marketing Director for Connecteam.

The number one mistake when hiring temporary employees is…

Not having a plan on how to onboard, quickly train, and also let go of temps. This is
particularly true when your temps are younger employees who are used to, and expect, a very fast-paced work environment.

For the younger workforce, companies must take advantage of mobile training platforms and create onboarding and training modules that allow to quickly, effectively, and affordably onboard new temps and get them up to speed very quickly using the mobile devices they know and love.