Should I Consider Contract-to-hire?

Exploring a consultant/contract role is always a hot topic as both candidates and clients want to know if consulting is the right fit for them. There are a number of pros and cons regardless if you are a client or candidate—a number are outlined below:

Client Side

Client Pros

  • Try Before You Buy—A contract-to-hire position gives you the ability to see how someone performs at not only their role but within the culture of your organization. Think of it like dating—you can try them out for a bit and if they are polite, professional and talented, you can take them home to meet the folks and eventually tie the knot!
  • Save On Benefits, etc. —The Try Before You Buy method helps alleviate the cost of benefits, unemployment, and general turnover. All this can add up if you strike out a few times when hiring a full-time employee.
  • Start Right Away—Contractors are good at what they do. They (should) have been vetted to ensure they have the skills necessary to get up to speed quickly without a ton of hand-holding and training. They can typically start right away with little-to-no onboarding. This saves a tremendous amount of time and energy from you and your team.
  • Your Team—Bringing a contractor on can actually speak volumes to your current team. It conveys, “We see you as valuable, and don’t want you to have to pick up the extra hours and workload on top of the position you already have!” In addition, it demonstrates to any new interviewees that the role they would be filling is an important one to the company.

Client Cons 

  • Cost —Contractors can be expensive, especially if they are experienced and are needed right away. However, don’t forget to calculate the time, energy, benefits and limited productivity your business must expend to find, hire and train a new employee.
  • Not An Employee —Remember they are not a salaried employee, so different rules do apply as contractors typically get paid by the hour. If you have a company-wide, off-site party, you may have to decide whether to invite them and pay for that time, have them head home, or to make them stay behind and complete their work. It can be an awkward situation and is best decided in advance.
  • Extended Search—You sometimes have to try a couple of different candidates to find the right one, depending on the difficulty level of the work. This can be frustrating and is why you have to spend the time to find a recruiter you trust.

Candidate Side

Candidate Pros

  • Try Before You Buy—Similar to the employer, this can give you a chance to see if the company and role are good fits. Maybe you love the job but are not excited about workplace culture. A contractor role gives you great insight into what a career at the company would look like.
  • Additional Opportunities—It happens all the time: contractor roles lead to other opportunities within the company. If you excel, it won’t take long to be noticed, and that can lead to a different position you didn’t know existed that may even be a better fit.
  • Experience—Working as a contractor can provide exposure to new software or skills, ultimately making you a more “in demand” candidate for future roles.
  • Networking—This one is a no-brainer, but as a contractor, you can increase your network exponentially not only through company leadership but with everyone within the company as well. Don’t ever sleep on meeting new people!

Candidate Cons 

  • Not Hired—There is always a chance you will love the role, but not get offered a permanent position. This may be due to a loss of budget, reorgs within the company or any myriad of things outside of your control! It can be disheartening—especially if you do a good job—but if you have a good recruiter, they should be keeping you informed and talking you through the process.
  • Culture Fit —Contractors can move from business to business, which can make it hard to fit in perfectly in such a short amount of time. While this is rare, it does happen.
  • Short-Term—That is the job. Sometimes you know when the term of the position is expiring and other times you don’t. You have to be adaptable to change and keep an “it’s not personal” mindset to succeed in the world of contract!


There is a lot to consider when deciding on a contract-to-hire role. The best piece of advice is to weigh your specific pros and cons and then talk to your recruiter. They can help you walk through the next steps and determine if it is the right fit for you.

If you have any further questions about working with recruiters or anything about the recruiting process, give us a call at (713)-357-9565. We want to give unbiased answers to your questions, whether you choose to engage our help or not.

Happy Hunting!