The Journey from an IT Contract Job to a Permanent Position
IT Contracting Advice
As a Contractor, what’s the best way of converting my contract into a permanent job?
On a daily basis I speak with people seeking IT jobs in Dublin. At GemPool we have the luxury of working with some of the most attractive IT companies in the world, however a lot of these roles are based on a contract.
There’s no guarantee these positions will turn into a permanent role, but it is possible. Like I say to everyone I speak with “get your head down, work hard and get on with those you work with”, perhaps easier said than done.
The below I hope will be some guidance on how to tip the scale in your favour in order to get a permanent role.
Transitioning from IT contracting
Firstly, working as a contractor (or temporary employee) gives you the opportunity to be on the inside, learn the company processes and build alliances. This ultimately gives you an advantage over external candidates when applying for permanent jobs, when they come up.
Second, don’t be afraid to apply for perm roles as they arise in the company, be sure to seek advice from those working around you to ensure you have their blessing. Of course, as a contractor you might have zero interest in a permanent role. (In that case, well this blog isn’t for you.)
The vast majority of contractors I have dealt with over the years, however, are eager to progress their career in a permanent capacity in a really cool fast passing IT company.
Current IT market trends on contracting
We are noticing some trends pointing to an increase in temporary workers, due largely to the volatility and uncertainty in the economy today.
Contractors can offer the employer more flexibility, especially in times of great uncertainty when permanent head count might be a concern. It also gives the employer a bit of a “try before you buy type situation” as they are more specific about finding the exact skill set for a job which can be somewhere between tricky and non-existent.
So taking the approach of hiring a potential employee on a temporary basis in order to evaluate the individual on a contract basis is a good idea.
We all hear about those not so desirable companies, “the CEO only got 63% approval rating on Glassdoor – He/she must be a tyrant”. Working as a contractor in these shocking places can be a great way to dip your toes in the water and find out what it's really like there.
If the situation is as bad as “everyone” makes out, leave! It will allow you to assess the projects, your colleagues, culture etc., to give you a strong non-bias assessment of the business.
So, what can you do as a contractor to secure a perm role?
Below I've listed the top pointers to securing a permanent position with a tech company.
Monitor your on the job performance
Back to my first point, perform excellently and try to fit in with the company, employees and its culture. But check if it’s possible.
You could do everything right and it’s simply not possible, you might be replacing someone on maternity leave or someone on long term illness. So clear that up first.
Be a team player
Most companies are trying to grow; most companies don’t want to let good people go. Be reliable. If you’re not reliable, forget it.
Show commitment, enthusiasm and flexibility. Let them know from the get go you are a team player and eager to please. Ok, some companies will label you a temp or a contractor, forget about that. You have a skill the company needs so try to get involved.
Be genuine and interested in the job. You have to do more than just show up, you have to do well, really well. Be consistent, always available to the people you are working for in order for them to feel that you are already part of the team.
Go the extra mile and show the leadership team that you want to be there long term. Without that level of enthusiasm and energy it’s easy to end the contract. Make it hard for them because you are worth it.
It’s all about showing your value. Have lots of hard evidence of how great you are ready when the permanent roles become available.
Consistently improve your networking efforts
Next, you need to network, talk to people and get involved. Make contacts and keep in touch, not just in the contract but all the time.
The more people that know you the more likely you will hear of the internal position that would suit you. Build relationships where possible. Find out who the decision makers are and reinforce your value and try to get to know the leaders on the inside who make the hiring decisions. Make a point to introduce yourself at every available opportunity.
Conduct company research
Get to know the company. Research the organisation you are working for and try to understand its history, its earnings reports, its culture and stated goals.
See if you can identify a gap in the company that you could fill. Be as proactive as possible by suggesting ideas for improvement, getting involved in implementing the changes, and volunteering for opportunities that arise. This might not be possible but there are always nuggets of information out there that can help achieve this.
Define your job expectations and deliver
As mentioned above, get your head down and work hard, set goals, exceed expectations all the time. So the management will know how capable you are.
Maintain an overall positive work attitude
Pay attention to how you dress, look, and act. I have dealt with countless temps who just don’t care. They might have a messy work space, not cleaning up after themselves in a communal kitchen etc. Blending into the work environment is important; don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
Express your interest
Be patient. It’s important to assess if there are permanent position’s coming up, make it clear you are eager to join the team on a permanent basis early on, you don't want to explicitly ask for the job right away.
People or IT contractors can get restless and this can strain relationships or make them awkward as the manager might not have the answer. Just be patient. Don’t be too pushy or salesy either, “I do twice as much as everyone else on my team” this type of attitude in my experience simply doesn’t work.
GemPool looks after hundreds of contractors each year and thankfully has a super reputation for converting contractors to permanent roles, so this subject is close to our hearts.
If you are a contractor seeking career advice or an employer seeking an IT contractor we would love to speak with you. Again, we are specialists in getting people IT jobs in Dublin and throughout Ireland, so do connect with us!