Hiring a contract employee can be an effective way of quickly filling an opening on your team to keep a project running smoothly. However, employers can hit roadblocks in the contract staffing process when they spend too much time vetting contract hires. An overly extensive hiring process could discourage great potential employees who are actively interviewing elsewhere and are ready to jump into a position as soon as they’re made an offer.
“You’ll lose your top candidates with too many rounds of interviews,” noted Profiles Branch Manager, Matt Niblock. “One of the values of hiring a contract employee is that you get to shorten the interview process because you’re going to get a live, working trial of the candidate’s skills.”
Employers engaging in contract staffing should take advantage of this benefit and follow a more concise interview process.
Contract vs. Direct Hire
Hiring managers may struggle with recruiting for a contract position because they are apt to approach it the same way they would go about hiring a direct hire employee. However, this is a common mistake that can produce negative results.
“The interview process should not be the same as one you would perform on a permanent candidate,” explained Niblock. “The contract employee’s role is to provide support – it would be great if they could go beyond that, but it shouldn’t be expected.”
While direct hire positions typically take four weeks to fill, hiring a contract employee with the help of a technical staffing company should only require half the time. If it takes any longer, you risk candidates accepting jobs elsewhere, poor ratings for your company, and overworked employees who have to pick up the slack for an unfilled position.
Contract interview best practices
When interviewing for a contract position, it’s best to start with a phone interview as you would with a candidate seeking direct hire placement. Doing so will allow you to decide if you’d like to bring the applicant in for an in-person interview. A quick phone chat can be enough to reveal whether the candidate would be a good fit for the position. From there, schedule a face-to-face interview to judge whether he or she has the necessary skills to perform the job effectively with as little training as possible, and consider having the candidate meet with decision makers in one sitting to make the process even more efficient. Work with your colleagues to set up a timeline to keep you on track and extend an offer to a top candidate in a timely fashion.
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