One of the most frequent objections we hear when we present a contract opportunity to a top- performing candidate is that he or she is only interested in a “permanent” position. The cold, hard truth is that in the United States the “permanent” position is all but phased out. 49 states plus the District of Columbia recognize At-Will Employment, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason or for no reason. Based on this, almost no employment is “permanent.”

That being said, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average time it takes to fill a position for companies of 1,000 employees or more is 43 days. I have anecdotal stories of significantly longer, and if you have applied to a large company you most likely can relate. This is where a staffing agency can provide tremendous value to a strong candidate.

Staffing agencies frequently receive requests for positions that need to be filled immediately. The agency is trusted with screening candidates and sending only the most qualified applicants directly to the hiring manager. The large company is able to circumvent their standard hiring process by bringing the agency employee in on a contract basis, with that contract lasting from 3 to 12 months on average. In addition, the recruiter will generally have useful advice when it comes to resume structure or else interview questions to be prepared for when meeting with the hiring manager.

A VP at one of our large private clients told us that if a contractor makes themselves highly valuable, that his managers will find a way to keep that person. This is a very simple concept that we see occur regularly. If a contractor treats the position as a “temp job” and puts in minimum effort, they might be able to finish the contract, but definitely will not see an extension or a direct offer as a result. If, however, a contractor treats their assignment as a 3, 6 or 12 month interview and with a great attitude provides significant value to their team and their boss, we consistently see either an extension or else a conversion to hire.

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder and Inavero, temporary employment was the second most recommended method to get hired, behind networking with existing employees. If you want to get your foot in the door, don’t slam that door when a recruiter calls you. That recruiter’s call could be your opportunity to have a shot at that large company you have been pushing for. Good luck- you can do this

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