Contract to hire thoughts?

New / Eng eBVT37
Nov 15, 2017 8 Comments

I'm considering doing a brief (2 weeks) contract to hire situation. Not sure what most people think about these, and frankly I'm early in my career haven't seen as much as many people out there.

Risky for me because I have job right now, but it's a shit show I've been thinking about quitting since day. 2 weeks and I could have a great job or no job. On the flip side this company seemed great up until I worked for them, so doing some time without having to potentially get stuck in a fucked up situation sounds good.


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TOP 8 Comments
  • Microsoft ARJw68
    Use 2 weeks vacation at current company and then if you don't get it come back from your vacation
    Nov 15, 2017 2
    • Wells Fargo bpiS06
      That is correct. I have actually done that.
      Nov 15, 2017
    • New / Eng eBVT37
      Unfortunately not an option as I have no vacation time. I work remotely 90% of the time. I might be able to conceivably do both jobs for 2 weeks.
      Nov 15, 2017
  • New / Eng

    New Eng

    Code Monkey
    So, what does this new company think they'll learn about you in two weeks that they can't learn from interviewing you, checking your references, etc.? I'd understand if it was a six-month contract-to-hire offer - that's much more information rich from their perspective. You are well within your rights to ask them this. They know they're asking you to take a huge risk by leaving your current job for one that might only last two weeks. Have other employees in similar roles been hired this way (Translation: Do they regard you as an especially risky hire?)? If so, what percentage of hires have been shown the door after two weeks?

    Contract-to-hire or not, they can fire you at any time for any reason. The only difference from their perspective is whether they get dinged on their unemployment insurance rates for pulling the trigger. If you're not their W2 employee at the end of week number two, then they don't take the hit (I presume there will be a contracting firm involved). They also don't risk an employment discrimination lawsuit if they choose to let you go after a mere ten days of work (probably not a concern to them if you're an under-40 male who isn't an underrepresented minority). I've never heard of a two week contract-to-hire offer for software development or other similar skilled labor.

    One obvious risk is that you could be jobless after two weeks. You could argue that they could fire you soon even if they hired you directly from the start. However, this is much less likely because they don't want to create a perception among their existing full-time employees that their jobs too might be equally tenuous. Existing employees can accept seeing a bunch of contractors let go without being offered full-time work without feeling pressure to update their own resumes. Clearly, being without a job until you found a new one could cost you a few weeks of living on only unemployment benefits. But, the far greater risk is that you would appear tainted in the eyes of prospective employers. Even if you weren't hired on due to circumstances beyond your control, most hiring managers will presume that you screwed up, were incompetent, etc. Not being hired on would be a stain on your resume. And, you can't even leave the work off your resume without risk of failing a future background check due to this omission.

    Now, consider a six-month contract-to-hire offer in comparison, ideally one where you aren't at risk of immediate termination without cause. On my last contract, I negotiated a month's notice, so it can be done. You and the employer both have time to get to know each other. If they don't hire you or if you decide to go elsewhere when that time comes, your resume escapes unscathed. It's perfectly legit to take a six month contracting gig and leave afterward. So long as you note on your resume that it was a contract vs. full-time work, few future hiring managers will deem this a negative. I personally think situations like this reduce the risk of taking a new job because you can leave without looking like someone who flippantly quits (and might just quit the next job too).

    So, advice...I'd demand either a direct, full-time employment offer or a six-month-ish contract-to-hire offer. Shorter contract periods make you bear most of the risk. Also note that the "to-hire" claim is without risk or obligation to the employer. It's merely their word (backed by reputation) that they even intend to consider you for full-time work in the future. Only someplace really scummy would hire a bunch of contractors with an empty promise like this though. If nothing else, it would damage their reputation in the eyes of their current employees (who surely would know that an empty promise had been made).

    BTW, I wrote this presuming that you're in the US. There might be different labor laws in other countries that negate much of what I've said above.

    Also, I'm presuming you've been at your current job long enough to qualify for COBRA coverage - if you don't have other insurance options: spouse, ObamaCare, or coverage from the contracting firm.
    Nov 15, 2017 1
    • New / Eng eBVT37
      Thanks I really appreciate the length reply. Lots of good points brought up regarding risks.

      I would be the first hire which is not someone they had worked with previously in a less than 10 person company.

      So I am a riskier hire and I'd argue that when you are small every hire is risky.

      I guess I'm tempted to learn towards doing it because I have zero benefits at my current job, and it makes me misersble and have been considering quitting anyways. It is certainly a gamble though on the bright side they get 2 weeks to evaluate me and I also get 2 weeks to evaluate them.

      If push comes to shove I had an old job with a manager who liked me and is currently hiring I could probably go to, and the job was pretty decent.
      Nov 16, 2017
  • Pinterest kXot00
    Where are you and what company would you contract for?
    Nov 15, 2017 1
    • New / Eng eBVT37
      Small unestablished startup in healthcare with founders way in over their heads and incapable of seeing past next week to a small startup building devops tools which is established and used by various big name companies.

      Not naming names on purpose here, small enough I'd be potentially easily identifiable.
      Nov 15, 2017
  • Cognizant Luuzzzinn
    2 weeks? 24*7*14 is this expected? Someone getting a 2 week contract is either a scam or they just wana bill someone until someone else joins? What are they planning to achieve in 2 weeks with you being onboarded? For FTE, if they couldn’t judge you in interview, don’t join them. They are weak and immature then.
    Nov 15, 2017 0