Why "Temp to Direct" is the worst way to go

I'll make this quick:  Temp to Direct is a bad choice.  It's a "we really want to hire someone, I think, but it would be great if we didn't have to make a firm decision - so let's roll a few unemployed people through here and see if someone knocks it out of the park."


Dear Client - here are your choices:  Unemployed people who have no other choice or contractors who will happily "pretend" they "may" be interested in a full time role.


Contractors contract.  Full time people like "full time" positions.


If you are telling me you want someone who will accept a full time role, then most likely you're going to be sorting through the unemployed crowd.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.......but you don't really think a professional, gainfully employed, is going to roll the dice on a 90-day contract do you?  Seriously?


"Try before you buy" is good for some products I guess.  Cars. Job Boards. McAfee softare.  That kind of product doesn't really have a choice.  But people do - and if you want to HIRE the best - then HIRE the best!  While "temp to direct" might be the easiest way to sneed a recruiting fee into the budget - you're not "sneeking" a top, full time player onto the team. 



Views: 2687

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 16, 2013 at 10:08am
But why is being FTE the holy grail of employment? If you like the work and your agency pays you a fair wage, benefits if that's important, etc. it's not exactly slave labor guys... I agree as I said before that employers shouldn't expect gainfully employed people to leave for contract roles, but it does happen :) I left Zones for a contract recruiting gig at Microsoft, no guarantees I would ever go FTE. I mean I knew I would... Lol but I am either that confident or that crazy, I don't know.
Comment by Jerry Albright on May 16, 2013 at 10:16am

My main issue is with the client who wants to hire someone full time, but they have to start as a contractor.  

I love contracting - it's our main business.  I also don't mind if clients want to hire the contractor we have working there.  It's the middle ground that is such a tough service to provide.

Comment by Cathy Mannis on May 16, 2013 at 10:19am

Agree with you, Jerry - your main issue, IMO, is spot on.

Comment by Raphael Fang on May 16, 2013 at 1:11pm

Temp to Perm is good for a few things:

1) create continuous cash flow for temp agency/division

2) Good for high turn over positions like warehouse labour and low skill office workers

3) Good for company that have seasonal requirement

4) For the Clients that don't want to deal with the paperwork in hiring or termination

5) in some cases, the cost of hiring is lower with the T-P option. 

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 16, 2013 at 4:26pm

@ Amy- if the assumption is that reception and data entry is high turnover, why ever make it perm?  just insource it to a reputable staffing service.  

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 16, 2013 at 4:55pm

@Bill that works too :) I think - if I'm understanding Jerry correctly - the challenge is clients who want perm caliber candidates and service for TTH dollars / scenario... and that IS bad.

Comment by Will Thomson on May 16, 2013 at 10:50pm
Dean DeCosta wrote a post a while back called Analysis Paraylsis. I think companies in general are gunshy to make decisions. I believe in doing your best due diligence. Interview someone thourougly, and own up to a decision. A contractor is not a decision for an FTE. Yes, you may make a bad decision, but at least you made a decision. People are people. Don't jack around with them.
Comment by Chris Bailey on May 17, 2013 at 4:12pm

Lots of very valid points here but unless i have missed it there is a couple that have not been mentioned in the pro TTH category - a number of global organisation have a hiring freeze on at present and the only way a line manager is allowed to hire is to get a temp and hope they can get sign off for a FTE. I also generally find that if a temp hits it out the park the get offered the FTE. The second scenario which is particularly prevalent in the offshore market place is immigration restrictions. It takes around 8-16 weeks to get a permeant permit for jurisdictions such as ours so we have no choice but to temp an individual (this take a 3-5 day permit request) prior to the granting of a full time permit should a local resident not be available. Just a couple of observations from a global perspective :) 

Comment by Cathy Mannis on May 17, 2013 at 4:44pm

Jerry, your blog post has invited a lot of great comments and perspectives.  Interesting comments, Chris - especially from a global perspective.  We tend to not think about that arena and am glad you brought it to the surface.

Comment by Daren J. Mongello on May 20, 2013 at 12:35pm

Noel: The difference in healthcare is that travel RN assignments and per-diem nursing is a choice. They're typically not unemployed nor need to go the temp-to-perm route to get full-time employment status. In effect, they are consultants.

I agree that temp-to-perm is almost always a loser. Very few FTEs (of value) are going to quite a full time role to roll the dice with another company.


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