If you find yourself in a position to consider or accept a contract-to-hire job, use this opportunity to evaluate the company, the job, and whether it is the right permanent fit.
Try before you buy
A contract-to-hire job is a great way for both a consultant and employer to try each other out before making a long-term commitment. During your contract period, you and your manager can assess whether the job and the company is the right fit for you. At the end of the contract, you can choose to continue the relationship or part ways, ending the contract period. For an employer, the end of a contract may not cause the ripple among employees that can occur when a permanent employee departs. And for you, it is easy out if you really don’t like the job or your co-workers.
Assess the company & its culture
Contract-to-hire jobs put you in a unique position to evaluate the company from the inside. From procedures and hierarchy to organizational stability and operational structures, this time gives you a snapshot of how you will interact with the organization on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, assess whether the company’s culture matches your values.
Find your fit
Knowing that a new job is the right fit can be tough to decode after a few interviews. Chances are, you haven’t had a chance to meet with everyone and see the team dynamic before starting your job. Figure out where you fit into the team and the organization through your contract. Decide whether it is the right structure and environment to meet your needs and goals.
Assess work-life balance
What kind of hours do permanent employees work? Are they expected to eat lunch at their desks? Are there flexible arrival and departure times? Are vacation days hard to come by – or does this vary by manager or department? Evaluate how a permanent position will affect your lifestyle and whether you would need to make changes.
Evaluate the perks & benefits
Since most contracting positions do not offer full benefits or perks, this is a great time to evaluate what other employees have through the organization. Get an insider’s look at their 401k plan, wellness benefits, company-sponsored insurance & more. Plus, there may be some non-advertised perks or incentives that help you in your decision-making process.
Build your skill set
Add new experience and skills to your resume. Whether you decide to stay with the position or not, take the opportunity to learn new systems, programming languages, or methodologies. These skills build on your existing experience and give you a leg up if your contract-to-hire job also has to be advertised outside of the organization before it is officially offered to you.
Answering: Why did you leave?
Explaining short stints on a resume can be tough. And it can make future employers weary that you won’t stick around if you’re hired permanently. In a contract-to-hire job, you can roll right into the position without needing to jump through the question hoops that outside candidates may face.
Or, if you decide to leave at the end of the contract, it’s easy to confirm that your contract finished without any further explanation needed.