Largely, contracting can be an excellent opportunity to track your career fast, land your next job, and give yourself a bit of a salary raise. When job seekers start a new contract position, it typically amazes them how quickly process moves.
But you do not need to run that fast at least not without asking these important questions first.
What to know about contract jobs?
1. How long is the contract? (Time frame)
It is imperative to know how long you will be working on this contract. It will help you plan your career ahead like – when you need to start contemplating about the next steps to converting full-time or the next contract.
Typically, the contract lengths run anything from a month (4 weeks) all the way to – well, forever.
2. Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee?
W-2 employee is the United States hiring terminology, which means a permanent employee. The major different between W-2 employee and contractor come down to taxes. When you are hired as the contractor (1099), you will get full pay without any tax deductions. However, you will be accountable for paying your own taxes.
On the other hand as W-2 employee, you will receive the paychecks with tax withholding already taken, and in January you will receive the IRS W-2 of the following year from the particular employer.
3. Is the project already secured by the employer?
Sometimes organisations start interviewing the candidates for contract position before the project is guaranteed. It is important to know because you do not want to turn down the other opportunities or job offers for the “job” that technically does not exist yet.
A word of advice – The best way to inquire is simply by asking, “If I accept this offer, how soon can I start”?
4. What happens when the contract ends?
Again it is crucial to understand what your options are. Some companies convert the contract professionals into full-time employee (although it does not happen often). In another scenario, staffing companies have other projects they will have requirements for. And it is good to know if you might qualify for those.
A word of advice – If you have an IT background then it is beneficial to use the technological staffing firm. The reason is such companies have a great majority of clients. Therefore, when you are completed with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another swiftly with marginal downtime.
5. What is the likely time-frame of converting temp-to-hire?
This question does not apply to every contract position. If you are applying specifically for the contract-to-hire position, it is an excellent idea to have an understanding when you might be switching to full-time status. This keeps both you and your prospective employer on the same page. Typically, the timeline is between 3 months and 6 months.
A word of advice – If you find yourself in the 8 months while working as a contractor and there is no talk of conversion. It is a good idea to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager and get a clear picture.
For the first-timer, a contract position can look challenging. However, do not let that stop you from asking the essential questions and considering the opportunity before coming to a decision. If you are uncertain essentials mentioned above can take some uncertainty out of the equation and help you decide the better.