Understanding Contract-to-Hire

Do you have an immediate hiring need but are still deciding if you need another full-time employee? Do you need talent for a project or a need to cover an extended absence, but uncertain for how long? Or do you want to evaluate performance for a critical role before deciding if the person fits the job? Hiring a contract-to-hire resource can often be the best option in unpredictable situations.

Contract-to-Hire works in several different ways:

  • You have the budget and need for a full-time employee but want the option of evaluating a person’s ability to take on a tough job, to work well with the existing team, and want to make sure the role is a great long-term fit for the employee.

    Most staffing firms offer reduced or no-fee hiring conversions for contractors after they’ve worked for a period of time. You pay an hourly rate for the contractor until you decide to offer full-time employment with your company. A practical approach includes establishing the candidate’s full-time salary requirements on the front end to ensure they align with the range for the position when the decision to hire arrives.

  • Your team is spread thin, and you need help or have a project requiring skills or experience your current employees don’t yet have. Many job seekers are open to the unknown, willing to take on a rewarding project and earn the opportunity for a longer future with your company, or happy to move on to the next adventure if the role ends up being solely project based.

  • In these scenarios, there’s often more of a negotiation required at the time of conversion. Contracting rates paid to employees are typically higher for in-demand expertise and limited engagements, and they take on the role without committing to a salary range on the front end.

  • You have a person out on leave, and whether or not they return is still being determined. This is a common situation for family or medical leave situations. Life happens, and sometimes people decide not to return after a long absence. Many contract employees are open to full-time employment even if it’s not guaranteed.

  • Timing is critical in these arrangements. Establishing sooner than later if the contractor is interested in a full-time role and within your salary range will enable you to know in advance if you have a backup option already in the seat or if you should continue to consider additional candidates for the role should it need to be backfilled.

    Not every applicant is open to contract-to-hire arrangements, and finding someone already in a full-time position to take the risk can be more challenging. But applicants in the contracting world, or those who may want to work for your company, are often willing to prove themselves on the job!

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