When to Consider Contract-to-Hire Jobs

by placers on June 23, 2015 in Job Search Tips, Workforce


By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde

Struggling to find your next big permanent career opportunity? Below I have shared some advice for when to go for a contract-to-hire and when not to.

I’m guessing you’ve heard the good and the bad on contract-to-hires roles (I’ll refer to this as C2H below). You’ve probably heard from friends who have taken C2H positions and were later “hired” or “converted” and worked happily ever after at that company. You’ve also probably heard horror stories about people who left their permanent position for a C2H and got the short end of the stick. Or who took a job because a recruiter promised them that it was “definitely” going to convert to perm, but didn’t. If you have been on the job market for a while, or if you urgently need a new position, you may be doing yourself a disservice by not at least considering a good C2H role. You may be surprised about how many Fortune 500 companies or other companies with really good opportunities are using contract or temp-to-hire as part of their staffing model. Let’s take a look at some things to think about when contemplating whether a contract-to hire job is a good option for you… when to consider it and when to run for the hills!

When to consider contract-to-hire

When you aren’t working. What’s the worst that can happen? Even if you don’t convert, at least you’ll have some work and more importantly add value to your resume.

If it is a “true” C2H model. There is a HUGE difference between a company that uses C2H as model for hiring because they like the try-before-you-buy model and has budget and headcount approved, and between a contract position that has “the possibility of conversion”. Play close attention to the verbiage and really push (respectfully please) your recruiter or hiring manager by asking them about the model. Ask them if budget and headcount are approved or if this is a position where they start out contracting and “figure out the rest” later.

When you can establish some reliability or validity to the situation. Are you working through a recruitment agency whom you trust? Do you know someone at the organization? Can you find reviews on Glassdoor or other sites where people are confirming they took a C2H with the company and converted?

When to run for the hills

If you are working a permanent position. NEVER leave a permanent position for a C2H! I would only condone this in an extreme Win Win Win Win scenario – for example, you are expecting impending layoffs and you have a contract-to-hire opportunity that is closer to home, more money, with a better company etc.

It is not a “true” C2H model. See the second reason above. I’d still consider it if I wasn’t working, but I’d be much more hesitant.

If a recruiter or hiring manager tells you the position will definitely convert. This can never be guaranteed. They are unethical or uneducated at best. Run run run run run run run run run run run run run.

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