In the workforce today, there are many qualified candidates available, with outstanding skill sets and unique experience, that would make great additions to teams all over the world. However, hiring managers often overlook these candidates because their backgrounds are almost entirely composed of (usually relatively short term) contract work. When a career consultant is ready to settle down and hang their hat, he or she will often find it difficult to do because so many companies with permanent openings are looking for demonstrated longevity.
Applicants who have worked on 15-20+ projects over the last five to ten years often spook managers into thinking that their organization may be “just another gig” for a career consultant. Recruiting, interviewing and on-boarding a new hire can be an extremely costly process, and it is one that a manager certainly does not want to have to repeat six months down the road when “Bob Consultant” gets restless, or when a higher paying contract comes along. This is especially true in a slow or recovering job market, as many consultants are willing to step into a lower paying “permanent” role while they quietly line up their next contract assignment.
I know for a fact that there certainly are many career consultants out there who are truly looking to make a change, establish roots and grow with one organization. If this describes you, you will most certainly have to prove your intentions during an interview and convince a hiring manager (and potentially other team members) that you are interested in joining their team for the long term. Here are some tips to help you during that inevitable conversation, where the odds are typically stacked against you:
Don’t say that you are just looking for your next gig.
This may seem like common sense but I cannot stress enough how often common sense skips a beat, especially in stressful interviewing situations. An early question posed to a candidate with a lot of contract work in his or her background will often be, “Why are you interested in a permanent position?” Be prepared with a solid answer other than, “I’m interested in any position as long as I can start getting a paycheck again!”
The topic will come up, so be ready for it.
Why are you looking to make this lifestyle change (and it is a lifestyle change)? Perhaps the years of frequent travel have been too much. Maybe the prospect of contributing your expertise to one dedicated team is of great interest to you. Have you researched a great deal about this particular organization and can’t see yourself working anywhere else? You most certainly should have! Be ready to talk about these things in detail. Simply stating that you’re looking to settle down without any details to back it up is usually not convincing enough.
Come prepared with reasons for establishing roots.
Are you starting a new family? Did you grow up in the town the company is located in? Do you have friends/family in the area and are looking to settle there? Have you recently obtained a work status that would allow for you to work permanently for any employer without sponsorship or work permit renewal? Supplying this sort of information during an interview is absolutely voluntary, but can help show a manager that you have a solid reason for wanting to make a move into a long-term position.
Be sincere; it will show.
Another common sense tip here, but keep it fresh in mind. A person with experience in interviewing and hiring full time employees is usually pretty good at telling whether or not someone is being honest about long-term commitment and goals. He or she has likely met with and weeded out many contractors in need of a pit stop in between projects. Don’t waste your own time or a company’s time if you are not truly interested in long-term employment there.
Think you are ready for a permanent position? If so, submit your resume today.
What are some other ways you can make your case to a hiring manager about truly wanting to move from career contracting into the role of a full time, long-term employee? Share in the comment section below.
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