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Old 02-28-2006, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
billege's Avatar
Location: Ohio
Have you ever done IT contract-to-hire work?

For various reasons I'm looking to leave my current employer.

Today I interviewed well with a company that does consulting work and they also provide IT workers for contract work.

I guess it works like this:
The company interviews me, likes me, and puts my resume in thier format. Then they bid me out to various clients.

If a client is interested in my resume, I interview for the job with the client. If I'm selected, then the consulting company hires me to fill that contract.

I then work for whomever, for whatever period of time that is. Somtimes it's "to hire" which means I might be hired at the end of the contract.

Other times it's not "to hire" which means when the contract is up, the consulting company finds me a new job. If they don't, I'd be out of work until they do.

I've no experiance with this type of work, and I'm curious if any of you have worked in IT like this. If you have, please share your experiance. I'm on the fence about this whole idea.

I guess there's some benefit in the idea that I could be exposed to a lot of new stuff. Or I could be basically job hunting every 6 months or so.

I don't like the idea that basically, they're pimping my skills so I can literally be a corporate whore. But, since I don't know anything about this type of employment, maybe I'm just not aware of how things work.
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Old 02-28-2006, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Grants Pass OR
so basically it's a temp agency specializing in IT work. That's not necessarily a bad thing if it doesn't cost you any money, but I don't think i'd leave my current job to go to work as a temp.
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Old 02-28-2006, 07:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
Location: The Tip of the Boot
The position I hold now was a contract-to-hire. Many times, the hiring company wants to try you out before doing a permanent hire. This is to effectively weed out the wheat from the chaff. Period.

I don't want to have the sort of position where I didn't know if I would have another job waiting when this one went away, but I have friends who thrive at those jobs, swear by them, and wouldn't want to work any other way.
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Central PA
I am currently working for 2 different contract companies while i look for a full time job, too bad neither are contract to hire. I would love to do this for a living lol. If ya know of any of either in the Central PA area let me know.
What type of...

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Old 03-07-2006, 09:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
I do it in the UK. It's much more common place where we have companies that do all the accounting. You just go on their 'books'.
Finding the job is all up to you.

They do the books, you just send in timesheets and collect the cheque. they invoice the client for you.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Rich Wannabe Hippie Town
Contract-to-hire is legit, but it's also crap. Basically, treat it as a contract and don't count on the "to hire" part. They might hire you -- but they don't have to, even if you do a good job. They're under no obligation.

As for doing contract work through an agency: it can be great, it can be bad. It depends on the agency. I worked as a tech writer through an agency for seven years. It was a small outfit that mainly handled tech writers. The owner had been a former tech writer, knew his stuff, and knew how to match the right guy with the right job. He also paid regularly (on W2) and on time, even when the client was slow to pay _him._ If there were problems on a job, Tim would hear both sides of the story. And he had a lot of contacts and was good at getting work. Writers who signed on with him tended to stay.

That said, not all agencies are that good. Some agencies send you out to jobs you aren't qualified for, don't have anyone who knows you personally (so when a job drifts by they don't think "Bob could do that one."). Some agents like to think that they own you, and will try to make you sign agreements that limit your ability to contact _any_ employer that they made contact with on your behalf, even if it was just faxing a resume.

So, it's a good way to work -- IF you have a good agency and IF there's a lot of work out there. Because you do have to job-hunt every few months. And if there's no work, there's no work. Here in the Bay Area, there are a whole lot of people chasing after not that many contract IT jobs right now. On the bright side, a good number of 3- and six-month contracts get extended one, two, or three times. And if you have an in-demand skill, your odds will be better.

And you're right, the exposure to all sorts of different environments, technologies, and software is very valuable. In my experience, employers are a little less picky on qualifications for a contractor than a permanent hire, so you can end up doing stuff you'd never be considered for on a permanent basis. And that gets you good experience that can lead to permanent jobs later.

Sometimes, my old agent would help the process along. He'd send me out and say, "They're going to ask if you know XYZWare -- say yes," and I would. Then when I got the job, Tim would sling a copy of XYZWare at me to take home and play with. By the time I reported to work, I -did- know it. And I've done that on my own as well.

Anyway, I was perfectly happy working this way through the '90s -- but there were loads of IT jobs in the '90s, and now a lot of all that -- including tech writing jobs, increasingly -- has headed offshore. So the one thing I would say is, this may or may not be a valid way for you to make a living. If you want security in this day and age, this may not be the way to go. I'd be hesitant to give up a perm job for a contract right now, unless 1) I really hated my job, 2) the contract was long-term (nine months at least, a year would be better), 3) the money was great, and 4) I had a hot skill that I was pretty sure would keep me in demand.

Last edited by Rodney; 03-08-2006 at 01:56 PM..
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