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As staffing professionals in the technology industry, we've seen the focus for many staffing firms shift from placing senior consultants in contract positions (while occasionally filling the odd full-time job) to placing them in full-time jobs.

Over the past several years, companies felt that paying contract consultants a high hourly rate to execute one piece of a project was a great way to get the job done without committing to the salary, benefits, and responsibilities that go along with hiring a full-time employee.

But that, as they say, was then. And this is now.

This may change again as the economy and the industry readjust in the coming months, but for the time being, companies are looking to fill full-time positions. Period.

Many of you who are reading this are seasoned contract consultants. You've invested time and money into becoming incorporated, and you've grown accustomed to the benefits of being a "hired gun" contractor.

Working on two or three contracts a year has exposed you to many more types of technologies than you would have worked with as a full-timer at just one company. And while full-time employees have grappled with corporate dynamics and politics, you've been able to walk away from it all when your contract was finished.

However, if you're looking to make the change from a contractor to a full-time employee, there are several issues you need to overcome in order to be considered a viable full-time candidate.

When managers look at a long-time contractor's résumé, they raise some of the following objections, and we've provided some points you can respond with.

1.I don't want to hire a contractor because when the contract market opens back up, he or she will be the first one gone.

Managers are under the illusion that they'll be able to keep people in full-time positions, but full-time employees are just as likely to leave a job if the work is not challenging. The average full-time employee in Silicon Valley lasts 18 months in one job.

Convince the manager that if the work is challenging and interesting, you'll stay. But if it's not, then the average full-time employee isn't likely to stay either.

Your résumé is important. A lot of three-, four-, or five-month contracts on a résumé can lead managers to wonder if the contracts were actually completed, or why they weren't renewed.

Nine-month to one-year contracts look good. They suggest that your work was valued and that you stayed on as long as was necessary. It's always good to be able to tell managers that you never left a contract before it was finished. 2. Contractors are used to coming in and working for a limited time on just one piece of the project. They don't have a hands-on understanding of the full life cycle of a project.

On the issue of project life cycles, it could be helpful to bring up the following points.

As a contractor you may not have been around when the project was architected and developed or when it was time to fix bugs and release it, as most people don't hire a contractor until they have a problem.

The experienced contractor is often required to review the project's beginning stages, from its requirements gathering to issues of scalability and security, to find the problem he or she was hired to solve. In that respect you may very well have a strong understanding of project life cycles. 3. Contractors don't get involved in a company's internal process and don't usually deal with issues of internal politics. But I need someone with that experience.

You may not have dealt with the internal politics of a company, but a savvy contractor knows that he or she will be dealing and communicating with different people on the project in order to examine the problems.

Many contractors are typically brought in once the project is in trouble and internal tensions are high, so the internal staff is eager to avoid blame for the problem. You could make a case for your experience in handling internal politics on that level. 4.Contractors are used to making a lot more money than I can pay.

In a full-time position, you won't be earning $125 an hour (as you may have as a contract consultant). You're more likely to earn $125K a year plus benefits. A senior position could pay more, but don't count on it. Make it abundantly clear to the hiring manager that you're aware of these economic realities and you're okay with them.

If you're not, feel free to keep holding out until it changes back to a contractor's world.

Author Bios
Bill Baloglu is a principal at ObjectFocus (www. ObjectFocus .com), a Java staffing firm in Silicon Valley. Bill has extensive OO experience and has held software development and senior technical management positions at several Silicon Valley firms.

Billy Palmieri is a seasoned staffing industry executive and a principal at ObjectFocus. His prior position was at Renaissance Worldwide, where he held several senior management positions in the firm's Silicon Valley operations. [email protected]

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