Leaving a Full-Time Job for a Contract Position

The old stigma attached to contract work is that it is a last resort, or the job you take when you can’t find full-time work. But, that is not the case in today’s job market. Many candidates leave full-time work for contracting because it provides opportunities they can’t find in regular, full-time jobs.

As a recruiter, your role is to show candidates the advantages of contract work. Contract work is preferred more and more by job seekers in recent years. Annually, staffing agencies hire nearly 15 million temporary and contract workers. Employees are exposed to new work and training opportunities by accepting contract positions.

Contract work isn’t right for every job seeker. But, it offers advantages to many people looking for a change of pace. Being able to show candidates these benefits will help you make more contract placements.

What is a contract position?

A contract position fills holes in a client’s workforce, and is an increasingly popular element of staffing management plans for employers. Usually, a contract worker does work for a company and is employed by a staffing agency. The employee works at your client’s business, but you or a third party are the employer of record.

Though they sound similar, an employee working on a contract basis is different from an independent contractor. Independent contractors are self-employed, meaning they must pay both the employer and employee portions of payroll taxes.

Contract workers are W-2 employees. Only the employee portion of FICA taxes comes out of a contractor’s wages. The contract employee is usually hired for a predetermined amount of time to do a specific project. A staffing agency handles the contract employee’s payroll taxes.

Job seekers leave a permanent job for a contract position for many reasons. Some feel bogged down in their current work and need a change of scenery. Others look to gain experience in a certain field or industry. Some candidates want to check out new professional opportunities without committing full time. All these factors will play a part in sourcing contract workers.

Questions to ask about a contract position

If your candidate has never been a contract worker, they will likely ask questions. You need to be able to answer them clearly and accurately. Here are eight questions you should be ready to answer about contract work:

  1. How long is the contract?
  2. What are the company and position like?
  3. What are the typical hours?
  4. Is this a temp-to-hire position?
  5. How much is the contract pay rate?
  6. Are there benefits available?
  7. How will this position help me professionally?
  8. What happens when the contract is over?

To secure contract workers, you need to understand your candidate parameters for each job order. The confidence you have answering contract work questions will transfer to your candidates. Before signing on a new contract worker, make sure all parties are on the same page.

Is leaving a full-time job for a contract position a good idea?

It’s tough for candidates to decide whether leaving a full-time job for a contract position is right for them. Many job seekers fear the temporary nature of contract work. And, candidates might think contract work is only for low-paying, entry-level positions.

As a recruiter, you need to give reasons why leaving a full-time job for a contract position can be worth the risk. Here are a few points that you may want to use when talking to your candidates about contract positions:

  • If your candidates feel that contract work is just a dead-end, give examples of how contract jobs have evolved. They are no longer exclusive to low-paying, entry-level positions. Nearly every industry is hiring contractors in positions up to and including C-suite level executives.
  • Contract positions leave room for professional growth. Contracting not only provides great experiences to include on a resume. It can also help expand a candidate’s network to find future opportunities. Candidates can get in touch with more people doing the work they are interested in.
  • Contractors who are employed through recruitment back-office services, such as Top Echelon Contracting, usually do not need to buy their own health insurance. The back-office offers contractor benefits to them.
  • In most cases, contractors are eligible for unemployment after their contract assignment ends. That takes some risk out of giving up full-time work for a more fulfilling contract position.

Before leaving a full-time job for a contract position, a candidate considers their risk. In some cases, the good qualities of contract work outweigh the bad. Many job seekers find that the advantages of contract work are worth the risk.

Introduce candidates who are unsatisfied with their current full-time positions to contract work. Chances are, the candidate doesn’t know the flexibility contract positions can offer. If they look at contract staffing with an open mind, candidates may be surprised at the opportunities available.

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