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The federal government has all but declared that the recession is officially over. But when will companies start hiring again? The answer to this question is twofold. When they start hiring on a full-time basis is anybody’s guess, but historical data and current trends show that companies are already hiring contractors. By hiring contractors, companies can bridge the gap between their current needs and anticipated future needs.

Joe Noto of Regency Search Group in Indiana began recruiting in 1987. It’s been his experience that following a downturn, contracting is always the companies’ first hiring option. “When economic conditions turn positive, companies are cautiously optimistic,” said Noto. “Because of that, if they need to hire somebody, they’ll do so on a contract basis as opposed to direct hire.”

According to Noto, companies consider contract staffing to be a very attractive option. It offers flexibility and is a low-risk investment. “Eventually, the direct-hire side comes back, but contracting always comes back a little quicker,” said Noto. “That’s because there’s less of a commitment of time and money on the part of the client. It’s easier for them to pull the trigger, so to speak, when they have a project that needs to be completed, and they don’t have to make a long-term commitment to the individual.”

There’s even an additional positive twist involved: the fact that once companies are ready to start hiring on a full-time basis, they’ll take a look at their contractors first. “Companies use contracting as a way to hire employees for a specific period of time, until things stabilize,” said Noto. “And sometimes, they like them so much, they end up bringing them on full time.”

All of this is a win-win situation for the recruiter. You earn income for every hour the contractor works during the length of the contract assignment. Then, if the company decides to bring the same contractor on full time at a later date, you earn a conversion fee, too!

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