In this uncertain economy, it can be challenging to decide on the best hiring plan moving forward. After all, recruiting, onboarding and hiring is a big-time commitment and expense, and if you don’t get it right, it’s back to square one. That’s why many companies are choosing to bring on contract or contract-to-hire talent.
If that’s a route you haven’t explored before, you may have some preconceived notions about how it works, but there’s more to the story. Read on as we tackle your most common concerns regarding contract and contract-to-hire workers, and whether they would be a good fit for your organization.
Don’t all the best candidates go for direct hire positions over contract roles?
The short answer: No
A staffing agency is tasked with finding the best talent. While oftentimes that talent is currently employed, they’re not necessarily happy in that role. We hear from plenty of engineering and construction professionals that feel stuck when projects aren’t moving forward, there are conflicts within the company, or sometimes they simply want to try something new and see what else is available.
So, if a staffing agency recruiter has an ongoing relationship with them, or is able to reach out, build a relationship and sell them on a better opportunity: they may be open to considering a contract or contract-to-hire position that allows them to try something new without long-term commitment. And if the candidate cannot be convinced to work on contract, going back to the default of direct-hire is still always an option.
The main difference between contract and contract-to-hire
With contract-to-hire, the expectation is set upfront that the company intends to convert the candidate to a fulltime employee at the end of a successful initial contract period.
On the other hand, a standard contract worker has more possibilities as to what happens at the end of the contract. Sometimes a person is brought on temporarily to complete a particular project, or to cover for someone who is out for a set period and will not be needed beyond that. In other cases, a contract may be extended indefinitely, or the person might even be brought on as a fulltime employee.
Is hiring contract workers a big financial commitment?
While some assume outsourcing their talent search will cost big bucks, hiring a contract worker has a lower up-front cost. Think about it: When you bring on a new fulltime hire, you’re not only paying them a competitive salary, but you’re giving them a full benefits package, PTO/sick days and potentially a bonus as well. Then there’s the recruiting cost, the interviewing and onboarding process, and all of the manpower involved in that.
On the other hand, working with a staffing agency to hire a contract or contract-to-hire worker breaks down to a lower cost over time. There’s a much shorter process to onboard them since the heavy lifting is handled by the staffing firm. And you have a built-in trial period of 6 or 12 months to test them out and see if they are a good fit for your organization before bringing them on fulltime. That’s a big advantage in this type of job market in which people have been hopping from job to job.
Why do certain industries like engineering or construction have a lot of contract opportunities?
The project-based nature of these fields and the fact that professionals tend to move based on those projects makes contract a good fit. Whether it’s a short-term project or travelling field work, bringing in contract or contract-to-hire workers can help fill skilled roles more quickly, and provide companies with a chance to preview talent before bringing them on long-term.
In a complex job market or scaling workforce, don’t overlook contract or contract-to-hire workers. With a smaller up-front financial commitment and the ability to outsource most of the hiring and onboarding, it’s a great way to source talent and see how they perform before converting them to a direct hire.
How will we know if the candidate is a good fit if we’re not doing the recruiting ourselves?
A good agency will involve you in a collaborative process that gives you the chance to interview and vet potential candidates. You can be as hands on (or off) as you want. We screen each candidate to ensure they meet the job and logistical requirements, are interested in the role, are motivated to change companies, and we find out what else is going on in their job search.
In the meantime, you can rely on the agency’s pipeline to uncover hard-to-find people for your specialized roles. Instead of searching for that needle in the haystack on LinkedIn or having an HR Team with limited resources handle it, you can let a staffing agency find and deliver talent straight to you.
What will the candidate’s experience be like?
A quality agency puts care in ensuring a positive experience for both their candidates and their clients – from onboarding through the end of a contract and beyond. A bad candidate experience reflects poorly on both the client company and the staffing agency itself.
We have a dedicated recruiter for every candidate who manages them throughout the hiring process. That recruiter is constantly checking in and sending along reminders to streamline all of the paperwork and answer any questions they have along the way.
Do contractors get medical benefits?
This varies between agencies. At Planet Forward, we provide contract workers all the key benefits that they would get from a fulltime position including medical, dental, vision, 401k, and disability insurance. We also handle HR matters, so you don’t have to.
Got more questions? We’re happy to answer them in person. Reach out to us at Planet Forward today!
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