Why Candidates Work on Contract

Sep 6, 2013

One of the reasons recruiters shy away from contract job orders is they are afraid they won’t be able to find candidates. This fear is based on the outdated perception that candidates only take contract positions as a last resort when they can’t find a suitable full-time job.

But it is no longer unusual for candidates to choose contract assignments over traditional direct hire jobs. In fact, a recent survey found that 28 million Americans are considering independent/contract work, and 63% of those already working independently would continue to do so.

Contract staffing provides many benefits that make it an attractive alternative to traditional, full-time employment:

Flexibility – In an age where many households have two working parents sharing childcare duties (and possibly caring for elderly parents as well), flexibility isn’t just a nice perk, it is a necessity. Contract staffing allows workers to:

  • Work convenient hours – Companies often allow contractors a flexible schedule as long as the work gets done in a timely manner.
  • Not be tied to the office – Many companies don’t require contractors to be in the office from 9 to 5 if they have the tools they need to perform the tasks from home. Technological advances have dramatically increased the ability for people to work from home.
  • Take control of their time off – Employees typically only get a week or two of vacation. With contracting, they can take an extended time off by simply not taking assignments for a period of time. And some contractors view assignments taken away from home as a vacation of sorts because they can explore new areas, cultures, etc.

Job Satisfaction – Contract staffing is great for workers who long for a challenge and want to make a difference. Companies often use contractors to meet critical deadlines or complete projects, so contractors are able to see the impact of their work much faster than they would in a traditional job.

Financial Security – The illusion of job security was shattered by the mass layoffs of the recession. Many workers have decided to trust their own knowledge and skills to provide them with work through contract assignments rather than putting their livelihoods in the hands of a single employer. Plus, contractors are normally paid on an hourly basis, including overtime, so they have the ability to earn more money. And if they are employed through a contract staffing back-office, they have access to benefits such as healthcare, dental, vision, and life insurance and 401(k) plans.

Enhance resume – Hiring today is a very big commitment. Many employers will only hire workers with the perfect skill set. Contracting allows candidates to add skills to their resume they may not have been able to gain any other way, making them more attractive to potential employers.

So since more candidates are interested in contract assignments, the most important thing you can do to get contract candidates is simply ask existing direct-hire candidates if they would consider working on contract. You may be surprised how many say yes!

Here are some other methods that other recruiters have used to successfully get contract candidates:

  • Get referrals from other contract candidates.
  • Recruit from universities and trade schools.
  • Use networks and job boards.
  • Check your existing files of candidates you could not previously place.
  • Contact retired professionals. Many want to continue working but need a more flexible schedule.
  • Check unemployment offices and outplacement firms for downsized professionals.

As you can see, many of these are techniques you would use to find direct hire candidates, which goes to show that filling contract job orders does not take any different skills than you already possess. All you need to do is what you always do – provide the right candidate the right opportunity, whether that opportunity be a direct or contract position.

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