Pros and cons to consider when partnering with any staffing firm to fill your company’s needs.

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With contract-to-hire, companies get the chance experience a candidate’s skills in action. Managers have the opportunity to justify the need for a specific role long term, while allowing time for budget approval to come through. The company pays an hourly rate for the contract employee and is not responsible for benefits until the individual is converted to full time status.

With Contract-to-Hire You Have the Opportunity to

Benefits of contract-to-hire:

  • Try out an employee. With contract-to-hire, you can see a potential hire in action before you commit.
  • Structure your investment over a longer period of time. Because you have less responsibility to the employee initially, this is often a more financially viable option than direct hire. During tough economic times this may be your best option.
  • Get someone in fast. Without a long-term commitment, you can spend less time in interviews and more time observing the individual at work.
  • Have a motivated employee. An employee hoping to be hired is likely to be highly motivated and productive.

Cases Where a Contract-to-Hire May Not Be Your Best Option

  • You might miss out on the best candidate. Many IT professionals are unwilling to leave full-time roles for contract-to-hire opportunities, or they are unable to take a position without the security of a full time offer.
  • They may be less invested. While contract-to-hire means less risk for the employer, it also makes employees feel less invested in the company.
  • It could limit your field. Most IT professionals fall into two categories: permanent and contract. With contract-to-hire, you eliminate candidates who need permanent employment and prefer the flexibility of consulting.
  • You could end up back at square one. As with any ‘try before you buy’ scenario, it might not work out. If you or your employee decides after the contract period that it is not a good fit, you’ll need to search for someone new to fill the role.

The Silver Lining

Contract-to-hires are here to stay.

Whatever your decision, it is clear contract-to-hire is an option that will be around for a while. If you’ve opted to employ an individual on a contract-to-hire basis, there are several things to keep in mind to get the most out of your decision.

  • While the employee may be ‘auditioning’ for the job—try not to make them feel like they are at an audition. The more you can make them feel part of the team, the more likely they are to feel committed to you.
  • Make sure your prospective employee is really open to a permanent role. At the same time, be aware that this is a trial period for both parties. The employee will make more money consulting. Unless you’re willing to pay a lot, you may lose him or her after the initial contract period.
  • If you can, be flexible in your hiring decision. The ideal candidate may only be available for permanent hire, or be a consultant who would only commit to an 18 month contract.

The best way to use contract-to-hire is to decide whether or not it works for you. Because the way we see it, the perfect fit doesn’t come along every day. Our IT staffing services can help you find the right contract-to-hire candidate.