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Recruiters often assume that candidates prefer direct hire positions because they believe them to be more secure than contract staffing assignments. However, candidates are increasingly choosing contracting as a lifestyle because they have found that contract staffing can actually be more secure than direct hire.

How can work that is temporary by its very nature be more secure than a “perm” position? First, let’s make one thing clear: There is no such thing as a permanent job anymore. You will notice on this blog that we don’t refer to traditional employment as “perm” but as “direct hire” as is the practice of many recruiters in the industry. Few workers today will spend their entire careers with one company like they did in the past. As we learned during the last recession, their jobs could end with little or no notice. Shellshocked, laid off workers scramble to update their resumes and figure out where to start their job search.

Now let’s look at a worker who chooses the contract path.  Many people would think they are taking a huge risk by accepting positions that will most likely end.  How do they know that they will be able to find work when an assignment is over? Well, you know that saying that knowledge is power? That can be applied here.  By knowing that their assignment will end, they can be prepared for it.  They keep their resumes up-to-date. They line up future assignments ahead of time.  Rather than depending on a single employer who has no vested interest in their future, they depend on their own skills and experience to secure their ongoing livelihood.

This is even easier when they work with a recruiter such as yourself.  Usually, there is a tentative end date tied to a contract assignment. This gives you a reason to contact your client when that end date nears to check on the status of the assignment and get something else lined up for the contractor if the assignment is indeed about to end. These conversations can give you the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your clients and see if they have other staffing needs. Sometimes, clients will reach out to you first to give you a heads up that the assignment is about to end, giving you enough advance notice to line up another “gig” for the contractor before the current assignment officially ends. The beauty of this for recruiters is that, rather than placing a candidate only once and earning one placement fee, you can earn that fee over and over by placing the same great candidate.

Adding to the security of contracting is the fact that a contracts are often extended, lasting much longer than expected. Sometimes they even turn into  a direct hire position. When that happens, you as the recruiter can earn a conversion fee over and above what you earn while the contractor is working.

Beyond the unexpected security, workers are choosing contract staffing for a variety of other reasons:

  • Flexibility – The project-based nature of contract positions allows contractors to stray from the typical 9-to-5 schedule and enhance work-life balance.
  • Earning potential – Contractors are typically paid on an hourly basis, so they are compensated for every hour worked, including overtime hours.
  • Enhance resume – Contractors pick up knowledge and skills that can help them secure more work in the future.
  • Variety – Contract staffing allows workers to try different types of work, projects, companies, and even geographic locations.

As more candidates gravitate toward contract staffing, you will want to be sure that you are adding contract staffing job orders from clients to your recruiting software so you have options for those candidates. Having positions that meet their needs is the best way to attract the highest quality candidates.

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