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A Little Flexibility Goes a LONG Way

What do companies need right now, more than anything else (besides extra cash and perhaps an extended line of credit)? They need flexibility to get the things done that need to be done without adding extra overhead, mainly in the form of more employees.

As all of you are more than well aware, the number of direct-hire job orders being issued by companies during the past 18 months has dropped dramatically. However, that doesn’t mean that the amount of work at these companies has dropped, too. In fact, the workload per-employee has probably increased, as fewer employees are called upon to do the work of those who were laid off. Faced with circumstances such as these, many hiring managers are at their wits’ end as they attempt to meet important deadlines. They might feel as though their hands are tied behind their back. Nobody needs flexibility more than they do, and they are most likely willing to pay for it.

That’s where you come in. Maybe you’ve thought about contracting in the past. Perhaps you placed a few contractors a long time ago, but you haven’t done anything since. Maybe you’ve always been a direct-hire recruiter and you’ve never even considered offering contracting to your client companies. Whatever your situation, you CAN offer contracting to your clients.

Below are some of the ways in which hiring on a contract basis helps companies increase their flexibility and stay as productive as possible while keeping costs to a minimum:

  • Staffing flexibility—The company can match its staffing level to the current workload or project goals.
  • Immediate availability—Unlike direct-hire candidates, contract candidates are typically available on short notice, usually within days. Most interviews take place over the phone, as well.
  • Budget flexibility—Contractors are typically paid from the operating budget as opposed to the capital budget. Consequently, companies are still able to hire contractors even when they’re experiencing budgetary constraints.
  • “Try-before-they-buy”—If hiring officials are leery about hiring a candidate on a full-time basis—for whatever reason—they can always start them on contract and then eventually transition them over (temp-to-perm). This has become an increasingly popular option recently, as the economy appears to be finally poised for a recovery.

Does the idea of contracting take some recruiters out of their “comfort zone”? Absolutely, but 2009 hasn’t exactly been a comfortable year for direct-hire recruiters overall. Is there a certain “fear factor” involved with contract placements? Yes, but it’s completely unfounded. First and foremost, the recruiting aspect of contract placements is the same as it is for direct-hire placements: you have to find the candidate, screen the candidate, prep the candidate, and place the candidate. Second, the back-office aspect of the process (i.e., the legal, financial, and administrative paperwork) can be handled by a back-office service provider, taking it off your plate and allowing you to focus your energies on other things.

But here’s the number-one reason you should think about offering contracting to your client companies—statistics show that 70% to 80% of companies are using contractors! And if they’re not getting these services from you, they’ll go to other recruiters until they get what they need. Do you really want your clients soliciting the services of other recruiters? When it comes to recruiting, a little flexibility goes a LONG way. It goes a long way in terms of building business relationships; creating and cultivating loyalty; and ensuring that you’ll not only survive this recession, but you’ll thrive once it’s over.