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: 2691

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 15, 2013 at 11:43am
You are exactly correct. I tried that route a few times with clients who wanted to do temp to hire. Finally said, " look folks, you have a 90 day probation period anyway, everybody has to have some skin in the game". I won't do temp to hire anymore for all the reasons you have stated.
Comment by Bill Schultz on May 15, 2013 at 3:28pm

Temp to hire was invented by temp salespeople when they wanted to attract a client with only perm needs.  I know because I did it all the time.  You usually didn't get more than a referral bonus if you referred to perm.   I agree with Jerry for the majority of roles.  There are sometimes (enough that we cover it in our contract) that both parties want to feel each other out mutually.  More often in the startup world, I think.

Comment by Derdiver on May 15, 2013 at 9:03pm

Jerry, thank you.  I have been in many worlds and man I HATE contract to hire BS.  MAKE A CHOICE!!!!  HR morons like to have tests, "behavioral interviews", referrals, etc.  BS!  WE ARE HUMAN!!!  We make mistakes! Own up to it.  Seriously.

Now. I need some contract to hire guys for the middle east...what ya got?

Comment by Cathy Mannis on May 15, 2013 at 9:09pm

Jerry - short but makes a great point!  "Trialing" a potential employee is illegal, but companies are getting around that now by hiring "contractors"....it frustrates me to no end.  They are indeed "trialing" an employee.  The employer doesn't have to pay anything other than an hourly wage without a commitment to the employee....I am not for it....in fact - it makes me kind of angry!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 15, 2013 at 11:10pm

oh boy... I'm not disagreeing exactly, but... I think there are SOME (albeit rare) situations where it makes sense. I have had clients as a TPR that went TTH for high turnover roles (receptionists, maybe data entry clerks) as it allowed us to quickly replace fall-offs. And yes, people who took those kinds of jobs were either "professional temps" (contractors) or unemployed. I think TTH is an acceptable business practice, as long as everybody understands what you get. Employers should know that they are limiting themselves to unemployed and/or transient employees. I don't think it's a good option for skilled workers.

Comment by Jeanna Zivalich on May 16, 2013 at 8:13am

I  agree with Cathy and Jerry. The employer is "trialing" the employee and it is a "try before you buy" concept. It would be a great concept if there was a conversion time frame requirement agreed upon up front with the employer. Sometimes it can make sense for the employer to go the temp to hire route. Other times I don't agree with it.  What I don't agree with is if the agency and client never set the boundaries upfront (i.e. 30, 60, 90 day conversion period). Otherwise this thing can ridiculously drag on for several months or  even years. Not fair to my temp employee. Having the agreement with the employer set up front to convert the temporary employee after 90 days, maximum, is perfect (unless you employer can agree to convert after a 30 day or less).  A decision must be made up front.   Sandra, your 90 day conversion requirement is perfect.  Lots of time for the employer to decide if the candidate is the right fit or not.

Comment by Derdiver on May 16, 2013 at 8:22am

Unfortunately desperate times call for ease of misuse by employers and not just skilled workers.  White collar as well.  I was on "contract" with Booz Allen for years with a carrot of FTE held in front of me until I was deemed overhead and given a 2 day notice.  They, as a company, wonder why they can not get talent to work for them now or why the attrition rate is 40%.  I will say that it is a great place to pull from though.

Comment by Cathy Mannis on May 16, 2013 at 8:46am

Wow - lots of great comments here - I agree with you Amy - not a good option for "skilled workers", but then where do we draw that line?  I could go on and on about that, being the mom of a special needs son, I would say, while his job is menial, his skills are high and he is very dedicated.  That's a whole other issue, though.  But, you're right, Amy, on all of your comments.  Jeanna - your thoughts were great.  The agency and employer do not set those boundaries of time upfront and should be put into place (unless the employee wants to remain on contract). It should be determined up front.  Agree - Sandra's policy of 90 days is long enough to determine if the employee is the best qualified for the position.  However, no matter how we put it, it is still a way to get around officially being called "trialing" and this is where I have my issue.  While we do, in a way, sell "people" - they are not objects - they have families to support, etc.  Can you tell I'm wired and ready to go this morning??? 

Comment by Jeanna Zivalich on May 16, 2013 at 8:53am

Ahhh yes, "the carrot."  I've come to learn if the 'carrot' is dangling in front of you while time continues to pass you by without any luck that you can ever catch that thing, make a decision for yourself to move on. Don't keep chasing that carrot.  It takes up too much  valuable time to chase and may bring false hope. This is why it's so important the agency and the employer set the ground rules for the conversion period so the contract employee doesn't chase that carrot right off a cliff.

Comment by Noel Cocca on May 16, 2013 at 9:49am

What is crazy Jerry is that in physician, RN, and other healthcare this is a BIG business.  It often dwarfs perm placement in dollars. And this is such a skill position where reputation plays a key role.  


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