Contract or permanent? Who should you hire and when

17th October 2019

When you’re looking to recruit, a common dilemma is whether a permanent or contract solution would be best. 

To help you decide, we take a look at eight common recruitment scenarios and for each recommend our answer to the question: permanent or contract?

1. “Deadlines are looming and we need more resource ASAP”

Let’s start with an obvious one. If your team is snowed under and the deadlines are approaching at a rate of knots, get yourself a contractor. 

In most cases we can place skilled contractors within 24 hours, and you won’t need to invest in new equipment, more office space or training, as our highly skilled people are happy working remotely on their own machines.

2. “Our best developer is moving on! His notice is only 4 weeks. What do we do?”

This is a trickier one. The chances are your best developer shoulders a lot of the more difficult tasks, and will need permanently replacing with someone of the same skill level. That person might take a few weeks to find, and you don’t want to rush such an important hire. 

We recommend getting an experienced contractor in to bridge the gap. This keeps things flowing, while giving you time to run a thorough and successful recruitment process for the permanent role.

3. “A valued team member is taking a sabbatical. How can we cover their workload without replacing them?”

The word ‘sabbatical’ can send shivers down a manager’s spine, but it doesn’t have to be so bad. If you want to make sure there’s a role waiting when your current employee returns, but can’t afford to be a team member down (who can?), hire a day rate contractor with a similar skill set.

We recommend overlapping the contract period so a thorough handover can be done both before and after the sabbatical, to ensure a smooth transition. 

4. “We want to bring a new skill set into the team and we have the time to train them.”

If you don’t need a new hire to hit the ground running, but you require a new set of skills, we recommend exploring the permanent market. A permanent hire will have plenty of time to integrate into your workplace and become a valued member of the team. Their unique skills and experience will rub off on the rest of your team too. 

5. “The department is being restructured and we're unsure of how much full time resource we will need now.”

The key to a successful department restructure is to maintain your flexibility, whilst being willing to test and learn. During the restructuring process you may want to experiment with staffing levels. Contractors allow you to quickly grow your team, as well as shrink it, helping you find your sweet spot before committing to any permanent hires.

6. “We have a long pipeline of work with no definitive end point.”

Committing to a permanent hire can be scary. Will you be able to keep them busy enough? You can now, but what about in six months? These are normal concerns. 

Our advice is generally that if your pipeline of work has no definitive end point, and you can’t efficiently complete it with your current team, it’s time to make a permanent hire.

7. “We want to create a new company culture.”

Company culture doesn’t change overnight. No matter how many times a design agency says a new logo will change everything, it won’t.

The right people change cultures. But even the right people need time to leave their mark on your company. So if it’s a culture change you're after, you need to make a permanent hire and they need to be good. 

And good people are certainly something we can help you with. 

8. “We need to modernise our tech stack/code environment, but haven't got experience of cutting edge technologies. Who should we hire?”

A modernisation or change project is where a small team, usually consisting of a project manager, a change manager and the relevant developers and engineers, comes into its own. 

Working together, an expert contract team will quickly bring your tech solutions up to date, whilst the change manager ensures your team can transition smoothly from the old systems to the new ones.

Flexible contracts will allow you to reduce the workforce quickly after the bulk of the work is carried out, but retain the expertise you need in-house during the transition period. 

Helping you make the right decisions and hire the best people

Hopefully this article has helped you decide whether you need to make a permanent or contract hire. But if you’re still undecided, our consultants are ready and waiting to hear your hiring dilemmas and suggest a personalised solution. 

Call the team today on 01534 877144 to speak to one of our experienced recruitment consultants or hit the button below and tell us about the role you'd like to hire.

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