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Contractor VS Full Time Employee

 
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Hello,

I recently graduated from a US College and just started applying for jobs.
While looking, I found many job postings for Contracts or contract-to-hire from recruiting companies while there are few jobs that are direct hire.
What is the deal with the contract-to-hire positions?

Should I wait for now and apply to direct hire jobs only since I just started looking or should I apply to both of them?

(US Jobs)

Thanks

 
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Contracts are generally for short term projects -- where they want an expert come in, do it, and leave. It needs to be an expert, because a newbie can waste the three months just to understand the issue... And obviously, it is also very expensive, because why would any expert want to just work for 3 months? The expert has to handle the break to his next contract, and like any consulting company, will charge a premium for this.

Now, having said that, I too, seem to notice "contracts to hire" positions (and even for newbies). I don't know what the purpose for this could be. Maybe they want a three month trial period, where they simply not renew your contract, if they don't like you. Maybe they don't want to give benefits (medical, dental, etc) for three months. Or maybe the project being staffed isn't really concrete yet, and they would like the option to just not renew (or cancel) contracts.

IOWs, I too, would like to hear opinions on this. Why would anyone offer a three month contract to a fresh-out-of-college candidate?

Henry
 
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Why would anyone offer a three month contract to a fresh-out-of-college candidate?



Why not? In today's time, with a Google Search engine, a few forum sites like JavaRanch.com, and a few "creative" lines on an online resume, individuals can easily pose as Java programming "expert." Which may easily get them pass non-technical interviewers and managers. We see it all the time here.... "I'm a newbie at Java and need urgent help with ..."

When someone is hired as a programmer and has serious deficiences, this is a problem, and in many cases an expensive problem. If the individual cannot perform, this is also a high risk.

A brief three-month contract may be a way to combat this, but it also brings about its own faults. Anyone with sharp skills most likely will not want to waste their time with something so "temporary" and subject to another decision. It is almost like a three-month interview.

This is a difficult situation. Organizations need to consider possibly changing the way hiring decisions are made to deal with the "Java Googler Syndrome."
 
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Henry Wong wrote:Contracts are generally for short term projects -- where they want an expert come in, do it, and leave.



That's changed significantly in recent years. As Jimmy points out above, the process of hiring is rather broken and it's not just in interviewing. An internal HR staff can't effectively recruit across all the disciplines required in a decent-size company, and it's hard through a two or three hour interview to determine what a person is really like. Despite at-will employment, it's much easier to get rid of a contractor if "things don't work out" than an employee.

Why would anyone offer a three month contract to a fresh-out-of-college candidate?



Because I have no clue whether the person can do the job or not. Within 90 to 180 days I'll know.

And I have yet to hear of a good person getting let go after 90 days unless it was very explicitly stated at the interview. They're so hard to find that no one in their right mind lets them go.

Cheers!

Luke
 
Henry Wong
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Jimmy Clark wrote:
When someone is hired as a programmer and has serious deficiences, this is a problem, and in many cases an expensive problem. If the individual cannot perform, this is also a high risk.

A brief three-month contract may be a way to combat this, but it also brings about its own faults. Anyone with sharp skills most likely will not want to waste their time with something so "temporary" and subject to another decision. It is almost like a three-month interview.

This is a difficult situation. Organizations need to consider possibly changing the way hiring decisions are made to deal with the "Java Googler Syndrome."



I understand why some companies do it, but as you already pointed out, it kind of a self fulfilling prophecy. If you are fearful of hiring the incompetence, setting up the environment to shoo away the good people, is going to make it more likely to come true.

Henry
 
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In my view, the contractors are not always hired for their expertise. Some companies do hire professionals on a contract basis

-- to just get them over the line
-- if the future prospects and growth are unpredictable
-- to allocate task or job, which their pament staff is not too keen to get involved in

If the contractors can prove their ability, they will later on be given more challenging tasks.

 
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If non-technical interviewers/ managers going to test technical skills of a person, then there is always chance of a mistake. In fact high chance of mistake. Hiring someone on contract for this reason is not solution. There is no guarantee that in 3 months these non-technical people are going to measure it correct.
I see many HR consultants try to judge technical skills of candidates during screening which they should not do. That is not their field. Let technical people do it. In one interview a manager asked me if I know normalization. I do not know what shall I answer because he is interviewing me for senior position and normalization is very basic thing which people learn in school/college. When these people conduct interviews, there is high chance they will do mistake.
 
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In one interview a manager asked me if I know normalization. I do not know what shall I answer because he is interviewing me for senior position and normalization is very basic thing which people learn in school/college.



Sandeep, it seems like either your ego is preventing you from performing well in interviews, or you do not know "normailzation." If a technical manager or seasoned software engineer asked you the same question, would you know how to answer it?

When you state, "I do not know what shall I answer", you are revealing your confusion at the time.
 
Sandeep Awasthi
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It has nothing to do with my ego, nothing to do how I perform in interviews. I answered the questions with respect. Infact I talked on denornaization as well why it is required in some cases. There are many problems with such questions. These are internet questions can be answered by anyone. There is high chance of mistake. And when mistake happens they say they want hire people on contract and we will check him for three months.
 
Sandeep Awasthi
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Jimmy Clark wrote:
When you state, "I do not know what shall I answer", you are revealing your confusion at the time.



Yes I was confused because I did not expect such a basic question. And if I am confused it does not mean Idid not know normalization or I do not know how to design database.
 
Henry Wong
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Sandeep Awasthi wrote:If non-technical interviewers/ managers going to test technical skills of a person, then there is always chance of a mistake. In fact high chance of mistake. Hiring someone on contract for this reason is not solution. There is no guarantee that in 3 months these non-technical people are going to measure it correct.



Actually, "non-technical" people (which is actually debatable if HR is always such a person) asking technical questions is actually not uncommon. I notice that HR does it mainly to judge how a person reacts. Besides, its their questions -- no need to judge why they want the answers, just answer them as honestly as you can. You should put more focus on your questions -- after all, you are interviewing them too, on whether you want to work for them.

And at this early stage, I don't think HR will offer the "3 months" contract... ... All they do is decide whether you move onto the next round.

Henry

 
Sandeep Awasthi
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Agreed.

The point which I am trying to highlight is if they ask proper questions in interview and avoid asking questions which can be found on google, then they will not feel need to hire on contract.
 
Jimmy Clark
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Sandeep, maybe you can work on "not" being confused by basic questions. My message is basically, do not pre-determine what type of questions should or should not be asked. Focus energy on answering every question as best as possible.

Actually, in some situations there is a value to asking very basic questions.

And, most importantly, do not allow interviewers to "confuse" you by asking basic questions. It may not really matter whether you know normalization or not. However, your reaction and response to a "basic" question may be very important.

...and avoid asking questions which can be found on google.



But everything can be found on Google right?
 
Henry Wong
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Sandeep Awasthi wrote:
The point which I am trying to highlight is if they ask proper questions in interview and avoid asking questions which can be found on google, then they will not feel need to hire on contract.



FYI... When I give a technical interview, I always start easy (sometimes on the phone, I can actually hear the candidate typing when I ask it ... ).

And from there, I get progressively harder and harder, until I get a feel of the candidate. Sometimes, I do get a response saying the question is too easy (or silly), which I politely say that there is more coming (and to bear with me). Once I did have a candidate say that I was wasting his time with those questions -- to which I ramped up the questions. That candidate really didn't do well, and unfortunately for him, I could not get a feel of how likely he is to learn either.

Henry
 
Sandeep Awasthi
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Henry Wong wrote:
FYI... When I give a technical interview, I always start easy (sometimes on the phone, I can actually hear the candidate typing when I ask it ... ).

And from there, I get progressively harder and harder, until I get a feel of the candidate.



That is best way of interviewing and agree with you.

@Jimmy
Let's focus on topic(hiring someone on contract because we are not sure about our selection process) first then in some other topic we can discuss what I should be focusing on.
 
Jimmy Clark
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Sandeep, I apologize if my comments disturbed you. However, you did bring up your personal experience in an earlier post (see 11:23:37 AM.)
For future reference, maybe you should refrain from sharing your personal experience if you are easily "bruised" by public critique. Just a suggestion...good luck!
 
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There are many things that are difficult to measure at an interview. For example, how someone will fit on a team. I don't think the solution is to start everyone on a contract, but I can understand the feeling.

Even if there is a three month contract, it behooves the company to interview well. If someone leaves after three months, the company is at a net loss. Considering the time/cost to get someone set up and productive, three months is very short.

I agree with Henry - I start with the basics. Partially because someone more senior must understand the basics fluently to be productive at a higher level. And partially because I've been burned enough times with "senior" people who can't do very simple things.
 
Sandeep Awasthi
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Jimmy Clark wrote:..if my comments disturbed you...


No, they did not disturb me. They suprised me.

Jimmy Clark wrote:For future reference, maybe you should refrain from sharing your personal experience if you are easily "bruised" by public critique. Just a suggestion...good luck!


Read other topics. Most of them on personal experience. So this is one more unwanted suggestion.

Jimmy Clark wrote:
But everything can be found on Google right?


Get exposure to design and development. Many things can not be found on google.

I have ego, I do not perform well in interviews, I am confused, I do not know normalization.

Did you conclude all this with one post? Probably you do not know even 5% of me.

I would not like to get into further personal in a decent forum. Rather I prefer to discuss topic.
 
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