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Some employers may hire candidates on a contract-to-hire basis to gauge their qualifications and cultural fit before bringing them aboard full time. Still, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to accept a contract-to-hire role. In this blog, we examine contract-to-hire, review some pros and cons, and provide sample questions you can ask during a contract-to-hire interview to confirm it’s the right opportunity for you.
Contract-to-hire is a short-term role allowing both parties to try each other out before committing to full-time employment. Also known as “temp-to-hire,” contract-to-hire agreements specify the length of time the contractor will work for the employer. At the end of this trial period, the employer can decide whether to hire the contractor as a full-time employee with benefits.
Below are the types of contract-to-hire roles available:
Contract-to-hire has built-in flexibility that is valuable, whether you’re looking for a short-term position, a more long-term position, or a freelance opportunity. Below are some of the pros of contract-to-hire positions:
Contract-to-hire roles allow you time to prove your value to a company and demonstrate to your employer why you would be a good long-term fit for the role. In this type of position, you can use your skills and knowledge to positively impact the function, team, and company during your short time there. When you have apparent quantifiable contributions, you can use them to secure permanent employment.
Employers often use contract-to-hire to do a “working interview” or test out how a potential employee fits with the company, which can result in higher-quality hires. Consider accepting a contract-to-hire job after receiving a formal offer, but still in the salary negotiating stage. In this situation, you would act as part of the team in that capacity to showcase just how valuable an asset you are and why they should consider paying you more.
Temporary positions can offer a valuable purpose on your resume, mainly if they help to fill the time between two permanent jobs. In addition, they can be an effective option as you search for a more long-term role, especially if you are not hearing back from potential full-time employers.
Contract-to-hire jobs can also help you become an expert in your field or on a particular task. You may receive several specialized tasks to learn and excel in these roles quickly. This experience can help you enhance your skills and focus on your profession before applying for expert status in a full-time position. In addition, taking on a few roles at different companies can build your reputation as a fast-learning expert.
Contract-to-hire allows you to test your suitability for a company and the position. It’s a more in-depth way of researching a company during the job search process. The experience can help you determine whether the organization’s work environment, goals and values are a good fit for your future. If you are testing out career options or roles in your field, a contract-to-hire role will allow you to do so without committing to a full-time job before you’re confident in your decision.
A contract-to-hire job can also help you build your professional network. For example, your connections at a company might lead you to a job offer at the same company in the future, at a client’s company or a different company with mutual connections. Additionally, having the opportunity to make a good impression on an employer, even if they do not offer you a long-term position, allows you to ask for a positive recommendation or referral during your next job search.
Suppose you use a contract-to-hire position to test potential career paths. In that case, the opportunity can also introduce you to people in your industry who you can ask about their professional backgrounds and experiences. They may be able to provide you with further insight and guidance as you decide on a career.
Along with the considerable benefits, there are other considerations to be aware of during your search for contract-to-hire positions.
Even if you love the job and flourish in your role, you may not be hired for permanent work at the end of your contract. Often, employers use the contract-to-hire to help during busy seasons or to temporarily replace a full-time, permanent employee on leave.
Though work may be temporary, employers may keep you in mind for future openings, particularly if you exceed expectations and quantifiably contribute to the company’s success. In addition, in some circumstances, employers may have other temporary work they may consider you for, either by extending your current contract or a future agreement.
Contract employees don’t usually receive benefits like health insurance coverage, paid leave, or pension options. When you’re hired in a contract-to-hire role through an agency but are then converted by the client company to full-time employment, your time as a contract-to-hire employee may not count toward the total accruement of benefits.
If you are considering finding a contract-to-hire job, get in touch with our team of experts at ALIGN and we will help you find what you are looking for.