What You Need to Know About Contract-to-Permanent Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Offering contract-to-permanent positions is becoming an increasingly common way for companies to find new hires. Contract-to-permanent positions provide opportunities for employers to hire individuals on a trial basis and for temporary workers to transition into full-time employees. If you are interested in pursuing a contract-to-permanent position, you should know what this sort of job entails and how to navigate transitioning from a contract employee to a permanent hire.

In this article, we will define the term contract to permanent, offer tips for transitioning from a contract position to a permanent one, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taking a contract-to-permanent position.

Related: How do Temp Agencies Work?

What is contract to permanent?

A contract-to-permanent position is when an employee is hired temporarily with the possibility of being offered a permanent position sometime in the near future. Contract-to-permanent employees typically work for three to six months as a temp or contracted worker. After the trial or training period is complete, if their performance was acceptable, they are then eligible for a full-time, permanent position. If the employee's performance was not sufficient, the employer has the option to dismiss them.

During the trial period, the employer supervises the employee to determine if they are a good fit for the company. The employee might also receive specific training that prepares them for their future position. The temporary period also allows employees to become familiar with a particular work environment and helps them decide if they want to commit to working there full-time.

Related: 15 Entry-Level Jobs That Pay Well

Tips for transitioning from a contract position to a permanent position

The ultimate goal for contract-to-permanent employees is to receive a full-time job offer at the end of the trial period. Here are our tips for how to make this transition successfully:

  • Focus on your performance.

  • Get to know your coworkers.

  • Set your own goals.

  • Take the initiative.

  • Be willing to negotiate.

Focus on your performance

One of the most important factors in the transition from contract to permanent is your work performance. If you concentrate on performing well during your trial period, you increase your chances of being offered a full-time position. If you are sufficient and have a strong work ethic, you will also find it easier to navigate the transition to a full-time schedule or an increase in your responsibilities. If you are doing your job well, your employer should also be more agreeable when negotiating the terms of your permanent employment.

Get to know your coworkers

One of your priorities as a temporary hire should be to get to know your work environment and the people you work with. Building relationships with your supervisors and peers will make your job more enjoyable and can help the transition to a permanent position less stressful. Getting to know your supervisors can positively influence their decision when it comes to determining whether or not to offer you a full-time position. Additionally, if you get along well with your coworkers, they may be able to offer you advice or assistance that can help you succeed in your new role.

Set your own goals

A contract-to-permanent position can be your gateway to a particular industry or field, but you should also make sure it will benefit your long-term career goals. When accepting a temporary position, it is important that you keep objectives in mind concerning what you want to get out of the job. You can set goals that involve gaining industry experience, finding an entry-level job in your desired field, earning a larger salary or obtaining new professional skills. When evaluating a workplace and making the decision to accept a permanent position, be sure to consider whether or not your new role would help you meet your goals.

Take initiative

In some work situations, it may be your responsibility to discuss transitioning into a full-time hire. This will require you to take the initiative and reach out to your supervisor or employer. This should be done either in a letter or in person, depending on the formality of the environment and your relationship with your employer. In your letter or conversation, you should express your desire to work in a permanent capacity and provide a brief outline of your relevant experience and qualifications. If your employer believes you may be a good fit for the company, they will either offer you a position or schedule a time for a more in-depth interview.

Be willing to negotiate

Part of transitioning from a contract position to a permanent employee is negotiating the terms of your new employment. Important details like your new salary amount, benefits and work schedule may have been outlined in your original agreement, but you should be prepared to reevaluate them at the end of your trial period. If your performance as a temporary hire exceeded expectations, you may be able to politely negotiate improved benefits or a higher salary. Even if your employer is not able to negotiate, you may still be able to qualify for a raise or a promotion in the near future.

Related: How to Negotiate Salary (With Tips and Examples)

Advantages of contract-to-permanent positions

There are several distinct advantages to taking a contract-to-permanent job. First, they allow you to test out a new position or industry without making a long-term commitment. Contract-to-permanent employees have time to assess their work environment, their employer and their daily responsibilities before deciding whether or not to sign a long-term contract.

Additionally, contract-to-permanent positions can grant employees access to jobs they might not otherwise qualify for. An employer can be more likely to offer a position to a successful and promising temporary hire than an unknown applicant due to the contract employee's familiarity with the company.

Disadvantages of contract-to-permanent positions

There are also some disadvantages to working as a contract-to-permanent employee. First, you have no guarantee that your employer will offer you a permanent position. If your performance does not meet expectations or if a more qualified professional applies for the job, your employer may choose to dismiss you rather than hire you full-time. Also, contract-to-permanent jobs typically do not offer quality benefits. You might be required to commit a significant amount of time and effort to a contract-to-permanent position without being offered typical benefits like paid time-off, insurance or retirement planning.

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