Everyone wants a stable job; it provides a steady income as well as an overall sense of security. But there are companies out there that like to test the waters by offering temporary employment to new workers (with the potential to hire them permanently later).
And while that seems like a great idea, it’s far from being the best solution. In fact, there are quite a few contract-to-hire pros and cons that laypeople don’t know about.
If you’re not sure about getting a temp job, I hope I can help you decide. This article will be going through a list of three contract-to-hire pros and cons that employees need to be aware of. In addition, I’ll address full-time employment and compare the two for a more comprehensive overview.
What Is a Contract-to-Hire Job?
Before delving into contract-to-hire pros and cons, it’s important to define the key terms. The name really speaks for itself here — an employer will hire a potential employee for a brief period of time (usually 3–6 months). Then, based on the worker’s performance, the employer can either hire them full-time or let them go.
Right now, an increasing number of companies are using this hiring approach. In fact, there are about 17 million independent contractors in the USA alone on a yearly basis. This approach allows them to screen workers in real-time without making an actual commitment.
More importantly, even if it hires nothing but temporary workers throughout the year, the company still benefits. After all, there was no break in continuity, and all the work was done.
But such an arrangement is more than just a testing ground for the business owner. Potential workers can also “screen” multiple employers by doing temp work. Technically, they aren’t legally bound to the company for more than a few months. If they want to, they can simply quit after the trial period and look for other work opportunities.
In short, it looks like a win-win situation. But this article does cover both contract-to-hire pros AND cons. There are clearly two sides to this coin, so let’s cover them both.
List of Contract-to-Hire Pros and Cons
Before moving on, I should stress that the following list concerns employees, not employers. If you’re a business owner and you’re looking into hiring temporary contractors, we suggest you give this excellent article a read.
Pros of Contractor Work
1. Demonstrate and Increase Your Worth
While on a temp contract, you have a limited time window to convince the employer that you’re a team player who can get the job done. Right off the bat, that’s not nearly enough time to impress your new boss with any extraordinarily savvy business moves.
Nevertheless, you can use those three months to work diligently and show just how committed you are to your job.
In fact, you should even try working twice as hard; if the employer sees how much effort and energy you’ve invested in working in a temp position, they’ll recognize your worth and hire you full-time. You might even get a paid bonus or a higher position simply because of how hard you’re working.
Another important benefit of contractor work is the fact that you can increase your own value and acquire new skills and resources simply by working short-term contractor jobs. For instance, you will be working hard in one particular field and learn all there is to know about it.
So, when you go to a different job interview, that new skillset might just nudge you toward permanent employment.
2. Expand Your Professional Network
While working as a part-time employee, you will have access to everyone, including full-time workers who are experts in your particular trade. That is a golden opportunity to start meeting new people and collect as many industry-related contacts as possible.
In the short-term, a worker with experience in the company can put in a good word for you with the employer, and you might end up getting a full-time job sooner. But in the long-term, you will connect with industry insiders who will help you hone your skills and become a highly-paid expert.
3. Flexible Working Hours
As a part-time worker, you will not be treated the same as a full-time employee. That includes having a set schedule throughout the year. Instead of grinding 8 hours every weekday, you will be working (or not working) during the hours that suit you. You will not only have more time for yourself but also be able to remain sharp and well-rested when you start work.
In the late 2010s, most millennial workers reported that they preferred having a temporary job. Older generations also seem to enjoy the benefits of part-time work, though over half of the employees still value full-time work. It’s partially thanks to these statistics that companies are starting to offer more and more short-term positions.
Cons of Contractor Work
1. Lack of Employment Benefits
Since you will be working as a freelancer or a temp, you technically don’t count as a permanent worker. As a result, the companies will not provide you with the same benefits that their full-time employees get.
For instance, if you get sick during work, you don’t get a paid sick day like your full-time colleagues. Moreover, you will have no health insurance coverage, so you’ll have to pay for your own medication and treatments, and those tend to be pricey.
In addition to unpaid sick days, you don’t get any bonuses or paid leave during major holidays. In fact, even if you want to do something to improve your professional skills, you pretty much have to finance yourself.
For instance, if you want to go to a seminar as a short-term worker, you’ll have to cover all of the expenses. In addition, the company won’t pay for any professional association membership fees, and you will definitely need those if you want to progress in the business world.
2. Lack of Secure Employment
When you land a temp job, you’re going to work for a few months with several risks hanging above your head. For instance, if the company that hired you is going through financial troubles, they might decide to downsize their workforce; if that happens, short-term contractors are the first to go.
But even if the company is stable financially, you can still get booted off your new job before the contract expires. Sometimes, an employer will put additional strain on the temporary worker to test their patience and find their breaking point. Of course, that’s a completely unfair practice, but it’s a situation you’re bound to face at some point.
3. You Might Not Get Hired at All
By far, the biggest drawback of temp work is the very real possibility of not getting hired full-time, even after you’ve worked diligently during your short-term employment. After all, temp work is meant to show your employer how well you fit within the company.
So, for instance, they might think you’re a hard worker, but not a team player, or that the environment simply doesn’t suit you. But more often than not, they will have other part-time workers in their ranks; at the end of the day, maybe someone else fits the position better than you do.
There’s also a lot of stress that comes with jumping between temporary jobs. If you spend three months building a working relationship only to lose the job, you’ll have to exert all of that effort again and again at different temporary positions.
Moreover, you will once again be working without the extra benefits of a full-time employee. Even the most ardent hard workers can get fed up with that cycle.
How Does Full-Time Work Compare to Temporary Employment?
Now that you’ve learned about some contract-to-hire pros and cons, you might be wondering if full-time employment is the goal you should be after instead. Let’s quickly compare and contrast full-time work and temporary employment.
The Good: Routine, Benefits, Security
As a permanent employee, you get every benefit that all of your colleagues are entitled to. These include paid and unpaid sick leave, paid vacations, health insurance, and complete professional coverage. In addition, if you’re aiming for professional development, your company will finance every seminar, and you can advance according to how well you improve.
But there is another, less obvious benefit to working full-time. When you’re in a company full-time, you work on a fixed schedule. As such, you start to develop a professional routine, which provides you with a sense of security and allows you to establish a clear work/life balance.
In addition, you can plan around your schedule and spend your free time devoted to a hobby or to your family and friends.
And speaking of friends, with full-time work, you’re more likely to establish long-term professional relationships. These can come in handy if you decide to climb the corporate ladder or improve at your current position. The more colleagues you get along with, the easier your job will become over time.
The Bad: Routine and Lack of Freedom
Naturally, full-time employment is far from perfect, and it definitely has some drawbacks when you compare it to temp work. As stated earlier, routine works for a lot of people, but not for everyone.
Some employees work better with flexible working hours, and you can’t really have that as a permanent worker. In that sense, full-time work stifles creativity and regresses the potential of some talented employees.
Another major drawback of full-time employment is the number of limitations. For example, while you can earn more money if you advance to a higher position, it’s pretty predictable, and the earnings don’t “fluctuate.” In addition, your career evolution paths are just as easy to predict; you won’t have room to develop organically and advance in different fields.
Contract-to-Hire Pros and Cons — Final Thoughts
Deciding on your career is difficult, especially in the current job climate. And as you can see, there are some interesting contract-to-hire pros and cons that you need to take into consideration before applying for a position. At the end of the day, that temp job might end up being a good career-building opportunity that you can’t miss.
Hopefully, this article has helped you gain some perspective on the topic.