Mason Talent Temps program addresses staffing needs, creates career paths

George Mason University has developed Mason Talent Temps, an internal staffing program designed to efficiently and effectively meet temporary staffing needs and fill open positions across the university.

The payroll program realizes a long-time dream for Linda Harber, vice president of Human Resources and Payroll.

When it began in February, the university was using three outside staffing agencies but had less than a handful of temporary employees on campus, according to talent acquisition manager April De La Rosa. Such staffing agencies can charge up to a 40-percent markup per hour.

Mason Talent Temps can provide a higher level of service to the university community, do it for less money—15 percent less than third-party vendors—and retain the initial investment, knowledge and talent within the university, she said.

"Mason Talent Temps is a perfect win/win/win—departments win strong short-term or possibly long-term staff. Talented applicants win a great chance to find that perfect Mason job [and] the university wins by having a diverse new applicant pipeline,” Harber said.

Temps can apply for the position for which they are temping and get the job if they are the most qualified. In fact, four temporary employees have been hired for full-time positions since February.

“It’s really become a pipeline to getting your foot in the door at Mason and ultimately getting a full-time position,” De La Rosa said.

Wenonah Erickson used that pipeline to land her current position as an undergraduate domicile coordinator for Mason Admissions after serving as a temp for a few months. Erickson said she’d been working as a translator for a Washington, D.C., law firm and was ready for a career change.

“I think it’s very beneficial,” Erickson said of the program. “The HR team will see your skillset and background and guide you in the right direction.”

Ten university departments have used the program so far. Formal marketing started in July and now the program is up to 18 temporary employees with about 15 temps working at any given time. Mason Talent staff coordinate with the temporary employees to try to line up new assignments as their existing assignments come to an end, De La Rosa said.

Annamaria Nields, associate dean for Administration and Student Affairs at the Scalia Law School, said four Mason Temps have come to work in her department.

“Our temporary staffing needs can arise quickly, but having a vetted pool of qualified employees at the ready means we more easily get the help we need,” Nields said. “The temporary employees we've worked with have been fantastic.” 

Temps can be hired for just a few days or as many as 40 hours a week for the standard wage threshold of up to 1,450 hours, or nine months of full-time work.

De La Rosa considers the diversity of the temps in the program one of the program’s biggest achievements and selling points. At 56 percent non-white, currently working Mason Talent Temps are more diverse than the general applicant pool.

“This is what Mason is about: providing pathways to life-changing opportunities for underrepresented populations. And it’s a win for us too,” De La Rosa said.

Mason Temp opportunities are listed at under the job type “Temp01,” “Temp02,” etc.

Anyone can apply for a temporary position with Mason Talent. Department heads are encouraged to use the program to meet their staffing needs. For more information, visit or email