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Securing direct-hire job orders isn’t what it used to be. A few years ago, they were everywhere, and a recruiter’s biggest problem was finding the right candidates. So if direct-hire job orders have pulled a disappearing act… what about contract job orders?

It might surprise you to know that there are still plenty of contracting job orders in the marketplace. Hiring officials are creating them and then contacting recruiters for help filling them.

We’re going to share with you where and how recruiters are getting contract job orders, regardless of current economic conditions.

Where can you get job orders?
Recruiters who have only worked a direct-hire desk might be inclined to believe that securing contract job orders is a drastically different process than they’re used to. That simply is not the case; the two are quite similar. In fact, you might find—especially in today’s economy—that the process for contracting is easier.

Let’s begin with where you can get contracting job orders before we move to how you can secure them.

Below are five common places to start.

Current direct-hire clients. Let your current clients know that you have the ability to do contract and temp-to-perm placements, in addition to your direct-hire services. FoxHire periodically conducts surveys of the recruiters who are making contract placements, and 90% of their feedback indicates that direct-hire clients are the main source of contracting assignments. This is also an opportunity to find out what your clients’ staffing problems are and how you can help solve them, regardless of the situation.

Former direct-hire clients. This is a good opportunity to re-establish connections with previous clients. If you’ve provided direct-hire services in the past, they need to know that you have expanded your business model and that you can help them with contract or temp-to-perm placements. You can even take it a step further and let them know that you can do payrolling for former employees that they may need to bring back for a specific period of time.

Companies tied to projects or deadlines. Many companies are forced to meet deadlines because of the nature of their product or service, and contract staffing brings flexibility and cost savings to the table. If you target companies you know have projects that need to be completed, more than likely they have the budget in place to hire contractors. Another example of deadlines that the companies face often deal with state or federal requirements.

Small to medium-sized companies. Their staffing needs are often more urgent to key decision makers who have the authority to quickly make hiring decisions to achieve results. Larger companies often have a formal process and that slows down the decision making and ultimately, the hiring. In addition, large companies often use a vendor management system for contract staffing, and they are forced to work with a specific group of recruiters at smaller markups… so keep your eye on the smaller to medium-sized companies.

Local companies. Because of their proximity, you can build relationships with local companies more readily. Since you have the opportunity to meet in person, you can also assess their needs and problems with a greater degree of accuracy. Face-to-face meetings, facility tours, and an occasional lunch bring more to a business relationship than email and phone conversations ever can.

How can you get job orders?

Now that we’ve identified some of the places where you can secure contracting job orders, we’ll now explore how you can do it, or most importantly, who do you talk to? The biggest difference between a contract and direct hire-job order lies here.

You might be asking, “Do I call Human Resources (HR)? How about the hiring manager? Somebody in purchasing, perhaps?” An easy answer if you already have a contact with a company is to simply start with your contact person. If you don’t have a contact, it may require a little digging.

More than likely, HR is not the department that will handle a contract job order or contract placement situation. However, you might find yourself speaking with an HR representative during initial conversations.

The difference with contract staffing is that HR is not in charge of the budget with which contractors are affiliated. In many cases, the company will issue a purchase order tied to the project budget and not to the capital budget. As a result, neither HR nor the purchasing department control the recruiting efforts associated with that order.

Depending upon the company, contract recruiting might be handled separately from direct-hire recruiting. The key, of course, is to connect with the person who has the staffing need, the decision maker, the person who has the authority to issue a contracting job order, or the person who is motivated to fill that position in a timely fashion.

Those people could hold a variety of different titles (once again, depending on the company), including the following:

Department Manager

Project Manager

Line Manager

Operations Manager

IT or Engineering Director

Vice President (of specific programs)

In short, contractors are often considered an expense item, and managers are willing to incur that expense to get the job done. That’s why it makes more sense to contact the individuals listed above instead of HR. Not only do they have the authority to issue the job order, but they also have a sense of urgency about filling it.

What makes contracting attractive?

So… what makes contracting attractive to companies, especially to their project managers? In these recessionary times, what makes it more attractive than hiring full-time employees? As you might expect, the majority of the reasons boil down to one thing: cost. But flexibility is also an important component.

Reduction in employment costs is always crucial, but the challenges posed by the recession make it a priority for many companies. There are numerous ways in which the utilization of contractors can reduce these costs. The major ones are identified below:

  • No employee benefit costs for medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and 401(k)
  • No added expense for holidays, vacations, sick time, etc.
  • No workers’ compensation claims or premium increases
  • No unemployment claims and associated costs when employees are terminated
  • No administrative costs for hiring and processing new paperwork

Staffing flexibility is crucial for any company seeking to maximize its resources and productivity. Below are areas in which contracting can provide valuable flexibility in the face of an inflexible economy:

  • Match staffing levels to workload and project goals.
  • Quick hiring process vs. lengthy direct-hire placement cycle.
  • Acquire needed resources through a standard purchase order versus a capital budget.
  • Candidates can be brought on board until the budget opens up and they can be hired permanently.

There is also a hidden benefit tied to contracting that many companies don’t recognize. That is the ability to avoid the bad press associated with layoffs. In a world where employees blog and “twitter” about their employment experiences, it’s almost impossible to run damage control and keep negative information out of the media.

We can HELP YOU make contract placements!

While there’s a great deal of uncertainty about the economy and what will happen during the rest of this year, contract staffing can help eliminate some of that uncertainty. Of all the things that make contracting attractive, what makes it even more alluring is this fact: any recruiter can make contract placements.

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