Tired of bids and jumping project to project? Are you at that point in your career where you’d like to settle into a permanent position? Good news! Companies actually appreciate ambitious, proactive contractors. All you really have to do is make it obvious that you’re interested, and show why hiring you full-time would be beneficial. Here’s how.
Convince your employers that you are indispensable to their success. Go the extra mile. Finish your assignments before the deadline. Include additional information or insights with your reports. However, avoid being seen as so useful in your current position that nobody will want to move you from it.
Your extra effort has to manifest in a way that is forward-useful. Learn how things are done and obtain insight into company processes. Figure out a more efficient way and subtly let your superiors know that you have. Then make it clear that you can best apply it as a full-time employee.
Portray yourself as someone who doesn’t shy away from responsibility, but builds upon their role. Demonstrate that you’re useful beyond your current job description, and that the company would benefit from having you full-time.
Keep yourself easy to reach and remember to reply to communications in a timely fashion. First, establish a few contact channels that you’re comfortable keeping open. Common options include email, telephone, Skype, Slack, instant messaging apps, and social media.
Choose at least one slow-pace channel, like email, and one instant reach channel, like WhatsApp. Throw in a middle-ground option that you can snooze to custom schedule, like Slack. Establish boundaries for each, like hours after which you’re categorically unavailable.
Choose only one channel via which you’re available for emergencies, and make it clear it’s for emergencies only. Establish consequences for abusing that channel. This demonstrates that you understand healthy work-life balance, as well as that you have integrity.
Once you’ve chosen your communications setup and let people know, maintain it. Respond to messages and calls before end-of-day or within 24 hours. Protect your off-the-clock time. Handle emergencies with grace, but don’t let every task be made into an emergency.
Your superior might not have the slightest idea that you’d like to graduate to a full team member. Make sure you communicate that desire in a timely fashion.
You might consider consulting with employment contract lawyers to confirm your advancement options under current employment conditions. Review your contract together and determine the best, legally safest, most efficient avenue of moving up to a full-time position.
As far as hinting to your superiors, be clear and tactful. Don’t keep winking at your availability or pushing for a contract extension in every conversation. Instead, opt for professional statements of intent, like:
I’ve enjoyed working with the team on this contract and am interested in any full-time positions you may have open.
I’m interested in continuing to work with this team/ at this company and I wanted to check in with you about any possibility of a full-time opportunity.
Show the company that you’re a proactive employee who works hard and gets engaged. Make a point of taking the initiative. When your own workload is in a lull, volunteer to help with other assignments. Managers like to see high levels of employee motivation, even if the employee in question is a contractor.
Use your spare time to learn about other aspects of the company. Learn about their operations and how different departments come together. Look for opportunities to integrate yourself in processes beyond your current job description.
Take every chance you can to showcase the skills you don’t get to utilise in your usual assignments. There might be an opening that they wouldn’t otherwise consider you for. Employers always appreciate versatility. It opens more potential doors for you if they see that you can do more than they signed you on for.
On a final note, don’t neglect the power of connections. Network with the full-timers and build a camp of supporters for your bid to join the team. Strategically let people get to know you. Show that you’re likeable and a good team addition.
Take advantage of lunch, coffee breaks, feedback meetings, online discussion threads, and after-wok social gatherings. Establish your presence. The more people remember you in a good light, the better the chances that they will put in a good world for you.
Even if you don’t land a permanent role from this particular contract, you’ll have better reach. There may be another opportunity at the same company or with a third party. Plant yourself in people’s minds as a potential future candidate.
To sum up, the best way to join the team full-time is to make it obvious that you want to, and then make it obvious why you deserve it. Showcase your full skill range, demonstrate commitment and proactivity, and make sure your coworkers like you and want you around.