Job Interview : Transition from temporary to full time interviews

This section is about a complex change of employment conditions. We've had to get a bit technical to explain the issues for job hunters.

The basic issue is will the employer hire you as a full timer?

Rule 1. Getting the job in a place where you've been working as an intern or temp isn't a foregone conclusion.

Do not, ever, make that mistake. You can walk in to the interview with a job and walk out without it.

It does happen.

Interviews are held for a reason when you're changing your job's status.

This is a formal legal process. The employer has real legal obligations, and they aren't negotiable. You may be surprised to hear that your former status as a temp or intern isn't necessarily even relevant under these circumstances. You're now an applicant, and although your work record will help, you have to pass through the interview process.

There will, usually, be other applicants, for any job interview, with occasional exceptions.

The move from temp or intern positions to full time can be a lot more complex than it might look. It may be expedient to hire someone who's already doing a job, but that's not necessarily how the employer will want to play it.

There are other issues, and they can affect the job drastically.

The most important thing to understand is that the employer has a lot more rights and control with full time jobs than with internships and temporary contracts.

(Note: When a job or an employee's status is reclassified, that's it. There aren't really too many legal avenues available to staff.)

A secondary, but still very relevant consideration is that organizationally, the employer is doing a shakeout of positions. The reclassification of these types of jobs means the changes are significant. For the people doing those jobs, there are immediate, and potentially serious considerations, some of which are good, and some aren't.

First the negatives:

We'll have to start with the negatives to explain the situations which might apply to temps and interns when going for a job, (either their own or another) with the same employer. It's advisable to be wide awake in this situation, because if you get things wrong it can cost you the job.

These are basic things which can affect an application with a current employer:

  • Performance
  • Issues with individuals
  • Work record


If you've had any performance related issues with the employer, there may be problems. Now is the time to consider your options about going for the job.

For interns, the internship is an agreement between the intern and the employer, and it's ultimately performance based.

Others are legally employed under temporary conditions, often under contract.

That often means that to replace these people the position has to be formally re-categorized to be filled, in order to discharge the legal obligations to those staff.

Issues with individuals

Some people have natural problems in the workplace, because they're a bad fit, and there may have been clashes or problems with other staff. If you've had difficulties in the workplace, think about whether you really want this job.

Work record

This is the real potential killer. Performance monitoring, in the form of the work record, goes up the food chain to management, and if the work record is inadequate, the job, and the person, will be reviewed.

(Note: Another thing to look out for- Some people really don't get interviews for jobs they're actually doing because their applications aren't good enough. If you're worried about that, check out our Job Application info, or ask on our Forum. Advice is free, and you can come back anytime with further questions.)

All three of these factors can affect your application. You need to make a realistic assessment of where you stand with your employer.

Now the positives:

You've got the interview. So far so good.

If this seems like a lot of work to fill a job with someone already in it, it is. That's why you can assume it's important to the employer. You may in effect be getting a promotion, in terms of work conditions and remuneration.

Before the interview

  • Freshen up on any standard guidelines, procedures, etc.
  • Use the essentials of the job and your performance review criteria as guidelines for the most important elements of the job.
  • Check all the standard interview questions, particularly those related to the essentials, so you're not unprepared. This is a must. (It's always advisable to run through each question before the interview, and you can do a rehearsal of your basic answer.)
  • You will get a lot of questions about the job, but you can expect things like Teamwork and Relationship questions, too. Give these a bit of extra attention, on principle, because they're likely to be weak points.

The interview

Treat this as a normal job interview, even if you been working there for years.

  • You will get a slightly different version of the job interview, because you've been there, but it's still going to require a formal recommendation process.
  • You can expect a lot of direct, job specific questions, because of your experience. You will know the answers, but these questions have to be answered effectively. A simple direct answer is definitely the best option. You can add more if you need, and you stick to the topic better.
  • This will be a competitive interview. You need to perform well, and you need to be able to show your knowledge and skills well.
  • You'll get a bit of both worlds here, being an applicant and a person who's been doing the actual job. Be prepared to be answering both job related, and much broader, skills and behavioral questions.

For each question:

  • Show your knowledge and skills in your answer.
  • Behavioral work skills like communication, problem solving, dealing with conflict, showing creativity in the workplace, and others are very important.
  • You can refer to your experience on the job where it's relevant, using examples from work when required as part of the questions.)

So, you're asked How do you manage relationships in the workplace, for a basic example.

They're not actually asking you how you get on with the people in the workplace. They want to know if you know the right way to conduct yourself in the workplace. Our piece on the subject will help, if you haven't done this type of question before.

You could easily, in the next question be asked to give an example from personal experience of Problem solving.

This is where you need to give a work related example, and you can use the job experiences for that. Since you're talking to your employer, make it an example where you achieved something personally, and got good feedback from management. See our Problem Solving piece for more information and a good look at this question, which is standard but important.

With each question you are in fact showing specific skills, all of which are related to the essential criteria of the job, the statement of duties, and workplace guidelines and rules.

All job interviews are systematic. You'll find you do understand why these specific questions are being asked.

Do yourself a favor: Be prepared. The rest is easy.