For Joe Lethert Sr., the use of temporary employees yields permanent recruiting results. Lethert, the president of Performark,a relationship-marketing agency in Bloomington, Minn., estimates that two-thirds of Performark's full-time employees beganas temps.

"It has been the best source of new people we have," he says. Performark, which had 1998 sales of $12 million, has 150employees, about 25% of them temporary. Using temps regularly, Lethert says, helps his company manage a fluctuatingworkload without laying off permanent employees. And by recruiting from its base of temporary workers, Lethert notes,Performark can make permanent hiring decisions after seeing how a person performs.

To get the most benefits from its temporary workforce, Performark takes its temps seriously. Temporary workers arescreened as thoroughly as prospective permanent employees, and once on board, temps go through the same training andorientation as other employees.

Temps at Performark are also eligible for incentives and bonuses. For instance, everyone atthe company's 85-person call center competes for daily prizes, such as movie tickets and pizza lunches. Temporary workersattend the six annual company outings, including the annual awards dinner and dance.

"You can't expect the same performance from temporary employees that you get from full-time workers if you don't treat themthe same way," Lethert observes. "The key is to have the mindset that these are employees."