How these unique opportunities can help you advance your IT career.
In today’s continuously changing IT workforce, the option to accept a contract or contract-to-hire position is becoming much more common – especially in IT. In the past, many IT pros held one role or the other – as an employee or contractor. Today, these roles are changing, and the opportunity to initially hire a full time employee as a contractor can make sense for both the employee and the employer.
When we are speaking to candidates about potential opportunities, the words contract-to-hire can sometimes be misinterpreted as a negative. I believe that phrase has a certain stigma of instability attached. This can be true to contract roles; however, contract-to-hire is a completely different ballgame. Since this is new territory for a lot of traditional full-time employees, I want to explain four reasons why contract-to-hire opportunities may be excellent for your career:
1. “Try before you buy” works both ways – Contract-to-hire gives both parties the opportunity to ensure a solid fit. If you are unsure about the corporate culture, work environment and company expectations, accepting a contract option is the best way for you to learn if this company is a good long-term fit for you.
2. It can be a quick resume builder – Working in a contract-to-hire position is a great way to get your feet wet with a new technology or skill set. You may have dabbled in a new language, but haven’t yet worked in it on a daily basis. Not only can you gain some immediate experience to put on your resume, but it also gives you the opportunity to see if you would enjoy working with new tools.
3. You can often make a better hourly rate – While this isn’t always the case, contractors usually make a better hourly rate than if they were salaried. There are two reasons for this: First, employees know that contracting can be riskier, so an increased hourly rate can offset the risk. Also, a better rate can also offset the lack of some fringe benefits for contractors (like PTO or personal time off). How much more should you ask for during the contract period? This can vary; however, on average, we believe that 20% above equivalent hourly rate to your annual salary request is reasonable and customary. Usually if a candidate requests much more than this, the employer may be concerned that you will not actually go full time when it is time to make the conversion. Second, you are paid for every hour you work in a contract role, versus salaried. That can often turn into more than 50 hours a week. While your coworker gets paid the same amount regardless of hours worked, you have the advantage of billing hourly.
4. Working in the environment for 3 to 6 months may set you up to be a much better negotiator when it comes time to discuss a full-time offer – Let’s face it, when you are at the offer stage, you are negotiating your income based on perceived worth. But, put yourself in their office for a few months and do the job you are considering for the long-term, and you will be in a much better place to negotiate. You know what it takes to get the job done, and you are able to decide a realistic income that will set you up to be successful at this company.
When you consider these four advantages to contract-to-hire roles, that initial hesitation should hopefully fall by the wayside. These unique opportunities can provide an excellent way to advance your career.
Have you had a positive experience working in a contract-to-hire role? We’d love to hear your stories and feedback. Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Image provided courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
To learn more about Thompson Technologies, please call us at 770-794-8380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org