Your temp can be valuable, not just a 'bum on a seat'.
Many SMEs are choosing temporary staff to cover additional workloads required due to seasonal demands or special projects, for example. This can be costly so ask yourself whether you need a temp or more full-time or contract staff.
Think creatively and consider the ideal outcome. When and for how long do you need extra hands? Look at the skills needed to achieve your objectives and the resources already available internally. Then ask the professionals for advice before making your decision. If a temp is the best option, choose your agency carefully to ensure you get someone who will make a valuable contribution rather than just being a 'bum on a seat'.
The relationship between you and your agency is essential - find an agency that mirrors your business philosophy, values and standards. Visit them to see the business and meet its people. Don't view the consultant as someone who just fills gaps in emergencies but work in partnership, planning ahead. Let them help you with your longer-term recruitment needs too.
Don't be slapdash because you 'only need a temp'. Brief the consultant thoroughly on the skills and personality that you would like. Detail the structure and culture of the department/team/person with whom the temp will work. The fuller the brief, the better the match and the temp will be.
You need to give honest feedback on how good (or bad) the temp was to help the agency improve its service and understanding of your needs. It can then build a database of temps that have been successful at your company.
Use the consultant and database to help you to manage the peaks and troughs of your demand.
Remember that the relationship is two-way - the temps and the agency need to like you too. Prepare a brief for the temp showing the structure of the business, tell him or her who they report to, what happens at lunchtime and any other office procedures, and give open and honest feedback.