What Is Direct Hiring?

Updated February 16, 2023

When you are looking for a job, you might encounter different types of employment, depending on a company’s needs, budget, projects and more. These types include temporary, contract-to-hire and direct hire jobs. If you are looking for a permanent or long-term position, you will want to seek direct hire positions. In this guide, we will focus on the meaning of direct hire and its benefits.

What is direct hiring?

Direct hiring is a process in which a company offers you a job and employs you without using a third party. This structure is different from temporary (typically less than a year) or contract positions in which a staffing agency supplies and employs the talent. 

Direct hire jobs are usually permanent or long-term positions with salaries, paid time off and benefits such as retirement accounts and health insurance. While a staffing firm might handle the recruiting process, you will report directly to the hiring company when you accept the job offer. The direct hire process can take more time than a rapidly filled temp position because your potential employer is committing to a long-term relationship and wants to do a thorough job finding and interviewing strong candidates.

Why companies direct hire

Companies might pursue direct hire recruiting, either through their own human resources department or a staffing agency, for several reasons:

  • To fill positions that would benefit from a long-term commitment. Employees in direct hire positions often feel more loyalty to a company.

  • To fill upper management or executive positions

  • To fill unique positions that require very specific skills

  • To attract better talent. People are often more likely to accept an offer or leave their current position for a direct-hire role with benefits and stability.

  • To adapt in a time when there are fewer people looking for jobs than there are open positions. Direct hiring is usually more appealing to skilled employees in this scenario, due to the benefits and job security that accompany it.

  • To remove extra steps. A company can do its own recruiting rather than use a staffing agency, which avoids fees or commissions and ensures the hiring company’s vision and message are clear.

You typically see companies outsource their direct hire needs to staffing firms if:

  • They have limited time and resources to recruit for an open position and screen potential candidates.

  • They do not have human resources departments or available staff to dedicate to the recruiting process.

  • A job has gone unfilled for a long time. 

  • They have experienced high turnover rates for a position.

  • They have received little response to a job posting. 

In these scenarios, staffing agencies can use their large networks of job applicants to identify the appropriate individual for even the most specialized position. After the agency identifies qualified candidates, the employer interviews them and hires the best fit.

Direct hire jobs

If you’re looking for a committed, long-term position that offers benefits, finding a direct-hire position might be a good option for you. Examples of jobs that are typically direct hires include:

  • Permanent positions

  • Leadership roles such as vice presidents and chief executive officers

  • STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs such as engineers, financial analysts, computer support specialists, software developers, chemists, etc.

  • Positions that require an advanced or graduate degree such as a master’s or a doctorate

If you are looking for part-time, freelance or contract work, you should avoid direct hire positions.

The benefits of direct hire jobs

Depending on your lifestyle, preferences and long-term professional goals, you may want a permanent, secure position with guaranteed insurance and other benefits. In growing job markets with low unemployment rates, you have the advantage when it comes to finding the best job for your talents.

If you accept a direct-hire position, your employer is often more likely to be invested in your development and long-term success. You may also have a better opportunity to change positions, level-up and take other steps to meet your career goals in a permanent position that you may not be able to in a part-time or temporary role.

Direct hire positions can also be appealing and beneficial to recent graduates just entering the job market. Staffing agencies and company representatives often attend job fairs at colleges to find new talent.

Applying for one of these direct-hire positions can save you the time and effort of searching for employment upon graduating. It allows you to enter an industry that interests you when you may have little experience. These companies will likely invest the resources and effort into giving you the training you need to be successful in that position and career.

Related: How to Get a Job After College

Working with a recruiter to find a direct-hire job

If you are interested in finding a direct-hire job, you might consider working with a recruiting or staffing agency to find good opportunities. This can save you time, particularly if you are currently employed full-time but seeking a new job.

If a company is currently looking to fill a direct-hire role, a recruiter who has found your resume or professional profile might reach out to you first. In this scenario, know how to respond to the recruiter.

Alternatively, you can contact a staffing agency or recruiter yourself to begin the process. You can apply for a direct-hire job that interests you or let the agency determine which positions you best qualify for.

The American Staffing Association provides resources for finding and choosing an agency, or you can search for recruiters online or through trade organizations and professional groups. There are several benefits to working with an agency to find a direct-hire job:

It is free

While recruiters charge companies fees and commissions for connecting them with qualified professionals, they usually provide free services to people seeking employment. 

It is confidential

If you are employed but seeking a better or more permanent position, you can let a recruiter do the work. This keeps your job search private, rather than risking your current job. 

Staffing firms have a lot of knowledge and experience

Recruiters search the job market all day, so they know what is available. Whether you are an entry-level employee or a VP candidate, they know the market for your skillset and experience level and how it is changing. They can tell you what to expect so you have less chance of running into challenges or surprises. Recruiters can also give you advice about your career goals and decisions.

Agencies have large networks

Recruiters not only have lots of connections, they also know about jobs that are not yet available or listed publicly. Companies often turn to staffing firms to find talent for direct-hire positions before putting a listing on the market.

These individuals might be able to pair you with a company you did not know was hiring or is not actively hiring. Many companies will hire top talent when they find it, even if they do not currently have a job opening.

You might receive useful feedback

Most recruiting agencies check on the status of your application with a company. They might receive information about what the employer liked about your application or why they did not select you for the position. You can learn from this feedback and apply it to your job search, resume-building and interviews. 

Tips for direct-hire interviews

While good interviewing principles apply in any job search scenario, interviewing for a direct-hire job has a few unique considerations. If a company has invited you to interview for a full-time position, follow these steps:

Do your research

Read about the company and the job listing for which you are a candidate, particularly if the hiring manager discovered and contacted you. In this scenario, you might not be familiar with the company or its culture. Look for repeated keywords in the job posting or on the company’s website and marketing materials.

These are likely key values within the company culture. Think of ways you exhibit these traits and provide examples during your interview. Also, study the skills listed and think of ways you used those in previous positions.

Practice your answers

While every interviewer will ask you different questions depending on your resume, title, level and industry, there are several common interview questions you can consider as you prepare. Instead of memorizing your answer, remember key points you’d like to communicate. This can help you feel more relaxed and sound natural as you’re speaking.

Be confident but grateful

The company is already interested in you if it has contacted you for an interview. Relax while maintaining your professionalism, make eye contact, share relatable stories and build a relationship with the interviewer.

Focus on your impact

Give examples of how you have performed in previous jobs and include statistics or visuals, if possible. Say, for instance, “I increased our customer retention rate by 20% over 18 months by launching a loyalty program and redesigning our marketing materials.” These types of statements show how you have set goals and worked toward them. 

Follow up with interviewers within 24 hours to thank them for their time and show your interest in the job if you believe it is a good match.

If you are looking to further your career with a long-term and fulfilling job, it might be in your best interest to seek a direct-hire position. You will be more likely to receive job security and a salary with benefits, and your employer will be invested in your success and career development.

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