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As everyone knows, these are challenging and uncertain economic times. Consequently, they require creative and innovative hiring and staffing solutions.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine who devised a particular solution in the first place—the members of the workforce or the companies that endeavor to hire them. Such is the case with high-level executive temping.

As with all contract work, there are advantages and benefits for both the company and worker in the realm of executive temping. That’s one of the main reasons it’s caught on and become so popular. And one of the more intriguing aspects of executive temping is that it appears to fall perfectly in line with the trend of retiree re-staffing. In other words, companies are utilizing the skills and knowledge of executives who have already retired in the traditional sense and have chosen to re-enter the workforce on a temporary (contract) basis.

Why is high-level executive temping so popular? There are many specific reasons, but they all boil down to one: change. Perhaps more than at any time in our country’s economic history, change is the rule rather than the exception. And it’s the speed with which things change that can wreak havoc on a company’s productivity (and profitability), as well as a person’s career. Temping is an excellent way to combat that change in a pro-active fashion, effectively turning what could be a negative situation into a positive one, a springboard for success, so to speak.

The company side
Let’s look at the company side of the equation first. Companies are facing a multitude of challenges in today’s market, and they have a shortage of viable solutions. Executive temping provides them with leverage and resources in what could otherwise be a difficult situation. Below are some of the challenges they’re facing, along with the solution that executive temping provides.

1. The Baby Boomer Generation is beginning to retire. By hiring executives on a temporary basis, companies can buy time until they find a direct-hire replacement.

2. In some cases, the company is not given adequate notice that an employee is going to leave, either because of retirement, health issues, a new opportunity, or other reasons. With the executive position vacant and company officials looking at what might be a lengthy recruiting and interviewing process, an executive temp can provide a lot of value.

3. Every recruiter is familiar with the effect that the housing market is having on the employment landscape. Companies are hiring executives from across the country, only to wait as those new employees struggle to sell their house, pushing their relocation back, possibly by as much as months. Consider an executive temp, who can hold down the fort and help to ensure higher productivity levels in the interim and a smoother transition when the direct hire finally arrives.

There’s another important reason why companies find the idea of executive temps appealing, and it deals with the scope of their work while they’re under contract. Since there’s such a short amount of time involved, the contractor is working under a deadline, so to speak. As a result, there’s a shift in focus away from planning to execution.

Sure, planning and evaluation are important aspects of any high-level executive position, and companies still want their contractors to do both of those things. However, they also want—and need—action, specifically action based upon the results of their analysis. You might even say that these temp positions are results-oriented in nature. The company needs something to get done, and they need the executive temp to do it.

As such, the executive temp is fully immersed into the company’s culture. Instead of sitting at the top of some hierarchical structure, the contractor is instead “in the trenches” with the other members of management, tackling the company’s problems together. As you might imagine, that type of cohesion and teamwork leads to a much more expedient solution to those problems. Achieving results is the name of the game, and results are what companies want quickly when they hire executives on a contract basis.

The candidate side
There are many benefits for candidates, as well. First and foremost is flexibility. Simply put, they have more control over their schedules. If they want to work for three months or six months and then take time off, they can. In addition, some executive temps aren’t required to work a full workweek, and in some instances, they’re not even required to work on-site. In other cases, they might have to work on-site a couple days a week. Once again, the key is flexibility, and how much the contractor enjoys depends upon the company and the arrangement between the contractor and that company.

As far as compensation is concerned, the money that an executive temp earns is usually as much as they would make in a full-time position, and sometimes it’s more because they get paid for every hour that they work. There is a downside, though, since benefits aren’t available through the company. (However, if the candidate is placed by a recruiter who uses a full-service back-office provider like FoxHire, the back-office will offer benefits to the contract worker. As a result, a potential negative is eliminated, making contract work all the more attractive to the candidate.)

Candidates often prefer a contract assignment for the challenge it brings. Plus, contracting provides an opportunity for a candidate to continually build their portfolio of skills. Executive temps may also have the chance to travel. However, this can be perceived as both a positive and a negative. A person with a free spirit who has no family ties might jump at the chance to work at a company in a different state. However, a homebody with an ailing spouse or small children might consider that much travel to be a hardship.

As you can see, the pros of working as an executive temp far outweigh the cons.

Build loyalty with executive temping
So—what industries are taking advantage of the executing temping trend? Healthcare, for one. But Healthcare agencies and hospitals were just the first ones to jump onto the temping bandwagon. Companies in other industries are following suit, especially in Finance and Banking, and it won’t be long before the trend spreads to other industries and niches, as well.

The good news is that you can take advantage of this new trend. There are two things you must do if you’d like to start placing high-level executives (or any candidates, for that matter) on a contract basis.

1. Ask your current base of client companies if they utilize contractors at the executive level or if they have any critical staff approaching retirement. It’s crucial that you make them aware that you can provide them with contract staffing. And if they’re currently facing a challenge similar to the ones described in this article, you can suggest an alternative staffing solution to meet that challenge.

2. Ask every candidate you communicate with, either over the phone or via email, if they would be open to working on a contract basis. Don’t let the caliber of the candidate dissuade you from asking. Companies are hiring CEO-level candidates on a contract basis these days, and the next one they hire could be yours.

As far as the back-office duties are concerned, as I mentioned earlier, you can out-source those to a contract staffing service provider like FoxHire. FH has been the recruiter’s full-service back-office solution since 1992, and during that time, it’s been critical to stay abreast of staffing trends like executive temping.

And executive temping is a trend that’s here to stay. It’s an innovative and creative hiring solution to a multitude of staffing problems. By offering that solution to your clients, you can ensure that they’ll continue turning to you in the future—no matter what their needs might be.

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