As a kid growing up, I would watch Michael Parkinson on his television show interviewing sporting heroes like Muhammed Ali and George Best. I thought I would test myself by interviewing our very own team, Alice and Poppy who run The Temp Desk at OSA Recruitment. I won’t be giving up the day job any time soon!
Nick: Let’s start off with an easy question. How long have you worked together?
Alice: I think we started working together from 2010 – so about 7 years or so. I started at OSA doing permanent recruitment but changed to The Temp Desk about that time when Poppy came back from travelling.
Nick: You work as a team on The Temp Desk, like Morecambe and Wise or Ant and Dec, so how would you describe your strengths?
Poppy: Well, the work can be fast moving, and it is impossible for us to be in the office together every hour of every day, so I would say that our communication is good, the way we dovetail nicely, and the confidence we have in each other is a definite attribute.
Alice: I agree. We know each other so well and share the workload so even outside of office hours we may need to be in touch by email or text – so communication is a really important one.
Nick: What attributes do you admire most in each other?
Poppy (giggling and facing Alice): I love your enthusiasm and that you are “a tryer”! You are always so positive and try for the underdog! You are persistent!
Alice (giggling too): ...and those are my positives? What I like about Poppy is her honesty and friendliness. She is such a caring and warm person and that is a really genuine quality in her.
Nick: What are the qualities your favourite temps have, and who do you like working with the most?
Alice: I think the ones who we find easiest to help are those who reflect the qualities we offer them – in terms of being straight and honest, reliable, trustworthy – all those good things.
Poppy: I agree and think that when we can develop that rapport with a person which comes from those qualities then often the relationships we have are long ones.
Just because a person might contract with us for a couple of weeks or months doesn’t mean that they aren’t connected to us for years. We still have long-standing temps who have been with us for that 7-year period, for example.
Nick: That longevity might suggest that you are doing things right. If I was looking for temporary work why would I like working with you both?
Alice: Well, we do get a lot of referrals from satisfied people. I guess that people like our approach – that we know the market really well and are friendly.
Poppy will often say we are not in sales or “salesy people” because we really appreciate the relationships we have. We are trying to find the role that is a natural fit for the person so putting a person at ease is something we try hard to do, whatever the stage of the process.
Poppy: And I would add to that the comment that we don’t overpromise a person; experience tells us that being objective and open works in the long run.
A couple of years ago we worked out that 63% of people who came to see us at The Temp Desk were referrals and we were really chuffed with that figure.
Nick: So do you see trends developing in the temporary job market and if so what does 2018 hold?
Alice: I think we do see trends take shape and over the past 12–18 months Poppy and I have talked about how the temp market is shifting towards more being a lifestyle of choice.
Maybe a few years ago temp roles might have been perceived as lacking the certainty and security of permanent jobs, whereas there are clear lifestyle benefits of temporary contracts.
Poppy: Yes, and in 2018 choosing the life of a temp will continue to grow as committing to regular contracted hours without some of the pressures of a hectic permanent role can be attractive to certain people.
Less pressure, less stress and as people become more aware and open about mental health issues and well-being, then The Temp Desk can help find a person a role that is a match and offer the balance needed.
Alice: And as a result of this trend Poppy and I find ourselves more confident in asking clients whether reduced hours or specific hours are achievable for certain skill sets and clients are becoming more open to these ideas.
Nick: And my final question, what do you think people generally don’t know about Alice and Poppy and The Temp Desk?
Alice: I don’t think people will necessarily know the seniority levels or the age range of the temps and individuals we work with. Poppy and I help students at A level age group and graduates but also are finding jobs for older senior people who are retiring from their permanent jobs but still have a lot to offer and want to stay busy on their own terms and just keep active.
Poppy: Most people don’t know my name (Rosanna)!
I would also add that the range of jobs we have might be a surprise to some. The finance industry is still really important for us but we work outside of finance and commercial companies or smaller non-finance employers are more open to using a flexible resource that we can provide.
Nick: Thank you both for your time – now get back to work!