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Human Resources/Advice, Working as a contractor


Hi Mark,

A bit background:
I have been working as a Contractor at an awesome company for about  a month now. I love the job and the company culture and definitely want to try my best to be taken on as a perm, regular employee. And I am working through a placement agency, with a great recruiter. The thing is, I was told this job is contract only and will be *at least* 3 months with no guarantee to perm conversion... and as a contractor, the biggest fear is the insecurity.

My questions for you:
I really want to be a full-time employee here.. how do I approach this?
Is a month in working too early to ask?
Who should I talk to about this.. my recruiter? My current manager? Or the hiring manager for the role?

Initially, I was going to just ask my current manager and the hiring manager for the new role, but I didn't know if it was appropriate.
I was then going to talk to my recruiter, but I thought it won't be good since he will probably dislike the idea (since he make a percentage off my paycheck as a contractor).

I actually found an opening on the company's web page for a VERY similar role which I am currently doing and would love to be considered for that.

Could you tell me, from your experience as a Recruiter yourself on how you would react to this situation, where your placement ask to be a FT employee with your client?

I understand that if the company decides to take on the contractor for FT as the same initial role they came in as, the recruiter/agency makes money. But with the no guarantee, i am afraid I might lost my chance.. hence, why I want to apply to a a different, similar role. But in that case, in a perfect world, if I apply and get hired, the agency won't make money so I am a bit discouraged to talk to my recruiter about this from the get-go....

Hope you understand my situation and look forward to your response. I really love working here!

Hi Kay,

Thanks for your question.  Yep, culture is everything and management creates the culture so you must have found some great management to work for.  It is always “join a company, quit a boss”, you know.

It is never too early to ask but make sure you “rehearse” how you are going to go about it and what you are going to present.

I would start with the hiring manager and I would definitely ask about the job that has become available that is similar to yours.  If they know you, and are happy with your attitude and work, it is easy for them to choose you as you’re a known quantity and it will save them some bucks as the company does not have to go through the recruiting and selection cycle.  So if you, your company, your current boss and the hiring manager have good chemistry, the prevailing “wind” is in your favor.

I would not be concerned about the agency you work for… they make money so unless they are delusional they have got to love temps going perm!  I would avoid officially applying for the role as your agency probably has language in their contract with the company to protect them from that very situation.

So I would start with the hiring manager and go from there.   Practice what you are going to say… watch for timing when you start your conversation – you’ll know it is the right time by the initial attitude displayed by the hiring manager.  When you open the conversation, if the timing/reaction of the hiring manager “feels right”, treat the conversation like an interview. Strike a balance between getting you message across and being respectful of the time you take to do it.  If they are interested they will take the lead in expanding the conversation.  If the hiring manager is not receptive to the conversation, I would go to your direct boss.   Either way, don’t over sell it but summarize why you feel you are a good fit for the job: company culture, experience, functional skill set(s) and effectiveness competencies.

Here is a summary on effectiveness competencies (EC’s).  Sometimes called behavioral competencies, they are the real factors that make or break opportunity, career path promotions and career success.  I usually address EC’s in my answer if the situation fits.  Here you go.

Effectiveness Competences (EC’s) are observable behaviors such as adaptability/flexibility, honesty, professional presence, hard work, integrity, communications, leadership, business acumen, influence, analytical capability, judgment, and so on.  When you work with a peer, boss, or any employee for a short period of time you can see by their behavior if they have professional presence, if they work hard, if they are analytical, if they are adaptable and an effective communicator.  EC questions are often used as a basis for interviews as they reveal important behaviors. There are many sources of lists of competencies, as well as sample behavioral interview questions, on the Internet.

EC’s are critical career makers (or breakers) as they are observable by any level of co-worker, open doors for you (professional presence), impact co-workers careers and daily work environment (compassion, talent management, leadership), are a factor in your ability to learn (listening) as well as have others learn from you (patience, understanding), display your energy and enthusiasm for your work and your company.  They are excellent forecast factors of a professional’s future capability in higher-level positions.

That is my opinion and advice Kay; I hope things work out for you!

From a personal standpoint I am always interested in feedback for purposes of continuous improvement. So it would be helpful and appreciated if you could take a minute and rate this answer by completing the 4 multiple-choice evaluation questions on the “” website. It only takes a minute.

Best of luck!


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Mark Eichinger


Any type of question related to domestic and international Human Resources work. My H.R. passions include Compensation design and systems in competitive markets, Health and Safety in Industrial Environments, Performance Management, Talent Management (Hiring, Selection, Employee Development, Compensation, Creating Space, etc.), Communications, Coaching, Counseling, Leadership, and Management. Questions I cannot answer: I am sure there are questions within these categories that I may not be able to answer but my experience below would suggest those would be few.


I own International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Previously, I successfully held corporate executive and management leadership positions from 1979 to 2007 in two $9B+ multi-national corporations. Positions included: Vice President, Human Resources for the Asia Pacific Region, Eaton Corporation; I was based in Shanghai, China. Prior to that assignment, Vice President, Human Resources International and Operations, Eaton World Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio with global responsibility for Eaton’s Human Resources practices, international assignee management, and Regional Human Resources Directors in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Central and South America. Specifically, my experience spans work at domestic and international locations at the operating plant, division, business unit, and corporate levels and most business scenarios to include startups, closedowns, restructurings, integrations, and ongoing operations. I am an Eaton Business Excellence Assessment Examiner (Malcolm Baldrige based system). I introduced processes and process mapping into the Human Resources environment. I have extensive experience with and working in domestic and international organization matrix structures. In the Asia Pacific region, my responsibilities included, leading the regions H.R. team and processes, managing the H.R. relationship with the corporation, creating and leading the professional and general manager development programs, China’s university relations program and managing the Asia Pacific key leader’s process. I have coached managers and leaders. I am a professional listener, my style open, direct, and focused on leader accountability and employee engagement. In Summary, my career responsibility included more than 60,000 employees, 60 union and union free operations, and 45 countries. I also lived in Korea for two years while in service with the USA’s armed forces.

SCORE – Counselors to Americas Small Business; at various locations I have also belonged to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on Boards of medical, community and institutional organizations.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Youngstown State University. MBA work Youngstown State University, and University of Bridgeport. University of Tennessee, Lean Manufacturing Certified. Thunderbird School of Global Management, Management Certified.

Awards and Honors
Corporate level awards for compensation systems, communications campaigns.

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