What is a contract to hire

What kind of job are you looking for? A full-time job, a part-time position, or perhaps even a freelance gig? Before you settle down and start looking at the same job types, you should consider contract-to-hire jobs as part of your job search strategy. Save

What You Need to Know About Contract-to-Hire Jobs

What kind of job are you looking for? Do you want a full-time job, a part-time position, or perhaps even a freelance gig? Before you settle down and start looking at the same job types, you should consider contract-to-hire jobs as part of your job search strategy.

A contract-to-hire job can be a win-win for both the employer and employee. These are short-term positions that typically vary for anywhere from three months up to a year, with the opportunity to become full-time, permanent jobs at the end of the contract. Also known as “temp to hire,” this type of job is becoming more popular as companies look to try before they buy.

What you need to know about contract-to-hire jobs:

They’re not as scary as you might think.

Some job seekers might be scared off by the idea of a contract-to-hire job. They might assume that at the end of their contract, they’ll probably lose their position and have to start their job hunt up all over again. Not so. According to a Talentcor article, almost 85% of companies are adding contract workers to their teams (30% have already done so). And the chances are fairly good that contract-to-hire workers can actually be hired permanently once their contract ends.

Employers have their reasons for employing contract-to-hire workers.

“Contract-to-hire jobs provide the employer the opportunity to assess an employee’s technical skills, soft skills, and cultural fit within the organization prior to committing to a full-time arrangement where benefits become an added expense on top of pay,” says Lisa Frame-Jacobson, founder and president of Feature Talent Builders, a national business coaching, search, staffing, and training firm.

Marisa Vrona, talent engagement manager of the Chicago branch of WunderLand Group, a creative staffing solutions firm, agrees. “Interviews are not enough to truly understand a candidate’s personality or capabilities,” says Vrona. “The contract portion is a trial run to ensure that the candidate lives up to their resume.”

Contract-to-hire jobs can be budget-dependent.

Budget can be another factor in hiring contract-to-hire workers. Employers want to ensure that the allocated financials for projects are secured before bringing someone on full-time and providing salary plus benefits. Contract-to-hire workers can give companies the time that they need to be able to budget in a new employee in a few weeks or months while still maintaining productivity.

Contract-to-hire benefits workers, too.

If you thought that contract-to-hire jobs are only in the employer’s best interest, think again. The vast majority of today’s job seekers want flexibility in their work life. They don’t want to be stuck in a job or culture where they are not a fit. That’s where a contract-to-hire job can be a blessing. This short-term job can provide an employee with a way to test-drive a job (and a company, too) without worrying about being stuck in a job that they don’t like or want.

Contract-to-hire jobs are available in almost every industry.

Contract-to-hire roles are prevalent within many industries in today’s workplace, such as accounting, marketing, sales, information technology, management, administrative, project management, and more. Vrona currently specializes in hiring professionals with expertise in graphic design, digital, and UX, with the majority of roles being contract-to-hire. In recent months she has seen more jobs in project management, account management, and marketing communications transition into contract-to-hire roles.

Contract-to-hire jobs can have benefits.

Many job seekers overlook contract-to-hire opportunities because they are searching for that permanent, full-time position with health and retirement benefits. But for many individuals working with a staffing firm or recruiting agency, contractors are provided benefits through the agency if working as a W-2 employee. (It’s advisable for job seekers to find out during the interview process if benefits are available during the term of the contract.)

Contract-to-hire jobs can be good for employment gaps.

If you’re worried that a contract-to-hire job could leave you with an employment gap on your resume, look at it from this perspective: if you’ve been out of work for a while, the contract-to-hire job can actually fill a gap for you. And if there is a gap on your resume after your contract is up, “It’s much easier for an employee to explain to a hiring manager why they left a contract job, versus a full-time employed job after just a few months,” says Vrona.

Contract-to-hire jobs can give you fresh contacts.

Contract-to-hire jobs also help individuals expand their professional network. “The connections you make internally while on a contract could result in a job offer in another area or at a future date,” says Frame-Jacobson. Plus, if you make a good impression upon your employer (but they’re unable to offer you a full-time role), you can always ask for a recommendation or referral for another job.

Contract-to-hire jobs can give you expert status.

The most successful contractors are able to deal with a high degree of ambiguity and less structure, says Frame-Jacobson. They are often looked upon as experts due to their ability to hit the ground running at warp speed. Because of this unusual way of working, contract-to-hire workers are often considered experts in their field.

Don’t forget that contract-to-hire jobs can be a great alternative and even lead to that coveted full-time position. Use FlexJobs to being your search for a contract-to-hire job in a variety of locations!


Rachel Jay contributed to this post. 

This is a version of a post that was originally published May 29, 2015. 

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

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Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer

Jennifer comes from corporate America… and a four-hour daily commute! Now, as a Career Writer for FlexJobs , she commutes to the corner office (in her house, that is) in under 60 seconds! Says Jennifer: “I’ve always been a writer,…Read More >

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