Looking While Contracting

A question I received

“I’ve got a pretty good job right now. As a Contractor working for a Recruiting company, I am “rented” to a new startup company. The work scope is pleasing; I like, and do well at what they want. Work is solid for at least another six months I believe.

Question: How much time and effort to I use towards another position? It would be difficult to find a better “Fit”; the pay is pretty good too.  I was unemployed for over a year prior to this engagement. That, I pray, never happens again. I want to have immediate options if this assignment goes south.”

My answer

You need to create a plan to conduct a search while juggling the current job so that you don’t find yourself starting over again in 6 months.

Possibilities that strike me:

  1. Explore the likelihood of turning the contract work into a permanent role at the startup
  2. Explore the likelihood of another immediate contract assignment through the recruiting company when this contract ends.
  3. Explore the likelihood of a permanent job at the recruiting company.
  4. Seek a new job at a new company.

The 1st option will be dependent on:

  • Doing an outstanding job at the startup,
  • Doing what needs to be done to create the conversations and visibility that can lead to an offer, and
  • The provisions of the contract you have with the recruiting firm.  (Do they get a recruiting fee if the company hires you?)

The 2nd option will depend on satisfying the client in such a way that the recruiting company sees you as offering great value to their ongoing clients.  It requires you to put energy into creating the visibility within the recruiting company that leads them to remember you’re out there and not want to lose you from their stable.

The 3rd option depends on networking within the recruiting company to create/unearth an opportunity there.

The 4th option requires that you:

  • Focus on creating the time to network throughout these 6 months to get yourself considered as opportunities elsewhere arise.  (What does the current contract provide if you find a job earlier than 6 months?)  A rule of thumb is to try to allocate 25% of your time to your ‘marketing.’
  • Not put all of your energy into doing an outstanding job at the startup.  Your focus is to do better than average so that you can ensure strong networking contacts and references.  However, it would be a mistake to shoot for “outstanding.”  If you do, likely won’t have the time or energy to do what you need to do for the search.  As a result, you want to carefully assess options 1-3 first to see what your strategy needs to be.

What do other readers think?  Post comments with your own thoughts on this.

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