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The Importance of Weighing Candidates vs. Consultants

Friday, April 24th, 2015

When recruiting for your business, it’s always important to define exactly what kind of person you’re looking for. Really, that should go without saying. Still, companies often make the wrong hires, and it can be a costly mistake. There are the front-end expenses of wooing a candidate, the lost costs of orientation and training, and then the toll of budget-sucking severance packages.

Unfortunately, the more important the position—a top executive role, for example—the more costly the mistake can be. Often, an important decision that companies are faced with is whether or not to hire a fee-eligible candidate or a contract consultant. Both can make a difference for your company, but only under the ideal circumstances. Let’s look at each one, and how they can help you best.

The Case for Fee-Eligible Candidates

Fee-eligible candidates typically have been employed at their current jobs for two to seven years. Often these are seasoned employees who have remained committed to that current company, but now are ready to take the next step in their careers. If you’re looking to find a long-term teammate, one who will potentially help you build your company culture, usually a fee-eligible candidate probably makes the most sense.

The Case for Contract Consultants

Here it’s really all in the name, with “contract” being the key term. Contract consultants are normally specialists who come in for a specific amount of time to work on projects ranging from three to 18 months. While this kind of short-term employee can prove invaluable, this is not the type of hire you want influencing company culture. They’re just not around long enough, whether their influence is positive or negative.

How to Make the Right Hire

The delineation between the two seems pretty simple on paper, right? However, it’s not that simple for a variety of reasons. For one, internally you have to ensure that you’re setting up the right criteria for an opening. For example, if you’re hiring for a “job” that is just a short-term project, you’re creating your own trap.

Let’s also be honest: candidates don’t always place themselves perfectly into categories. That doesn’t mean that they’re dishonest, only that they’re not as qualified to determine if they’re the right fit as you are—especially when you’re working in conjunction with a professional recruiter. Only by creating a proper job description, and vetting candidates meticulously, will you ensure that you don’t hire a long-term candidate more suited to be a short-term one.

Career Progression: The Traditional Vs. the Lateral Move  

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