Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

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Njm8845
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Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Njm8845 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:48 am

A headhunter contacted me recently with a very attractive opportunity.

However, the situation is such that I must be on contract with his staffing agency for a period of time before I can transition to a full time employee of the firm.

- The firm said they would like to hire me full time, but are obliged to go through the staffing agency since they "discovered" me.
- So for a period of time, my salary and benefits would be through the staffing agency.
- My biggest concern is the inability to negotiate a long-term salary now with the firm. What if, after my contract, the firm gives me an unsatisfactory offer?
- A smaller concern is the slight chance that the firm will not convert me to a full-time employee once the contract is complete. This is a cross-country move, so would obviously be a disaster.

I declined based on my concerns above, and the staffing agency has asked for what it would take for me to accept. I am thinking of submitting "I would like an agreement of salary in writing from the Firm." I would prefer to eliminate the middle man staffing agency altogether, but I don't know how stringent the Firm's contract is with them.

Questions:
1) Is this whole process standard practice?
2) Is there anything binding I can request from the Firm to alleviate my long-term salary concerns?

I appreciate all the responses in advance. There's so many smart and experienced people on here.

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djpeteski
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by djpeteski » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:10 pm

To me this is a pretty standard practice and I doubt that you will get a firm offer ahead of time.

This is part of an audition, and they will want to see if you are a good fit for the firm before making you an offer. Really there are three possible outcomes: The first is they offer you a full time position that is acceptable, and you accept. The second is that they don't and you two part ways, you can always find another job. The third is that they continue the contract (I am currently on a contract that was originally 6 months, but will be at least 20 months and am hoping for another extension). In my own case, I would likely turn down a full time offer and move on to a different employer.

The contract company will not muck up the deal. Their business is based on relationships and that would ruin the relationship with the actual employer. They will fall over themselves to make the deal go as smooth as possible. They probably get a fee when you are hired full time.

What kind of work do you do? This kind of thing has been going on for years in IT and some of us prefer to work on contract. Contractors are insulated a lot from company politics and there can be financial benefits as well. Back in the 90's there were several Microsoft contractors that sued successfully because they were not offered full time jobs, and did not receive the stock options that were very lucrative. So there is a strong desire for companies to covert their contractors even though the situation does not apply to most employers.

If it was me, I would take the job and not worry about it with the expected caveats. Like are they forcing you to move to a undesirable or remote location with few other employers? How are they rated on GlassDoor.com? Does the work interest you? Can you relocate again fairly easily?

Njm8845
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Njm8845 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:37 pm

My field is engineering.

I'm not worried about the staffing agency "mucking up" the deal. They have an incentive for me to sign. I'm worried about salary negotiations with the firm once my contract is up. This move would be a major increase to my usual cost of living, and the ultimate remuneration package is one of the reasons I would consider it. Not being able to negotiate that amount scares me.

juliewongferra
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by juliewongferra » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:54 pm

Njm8845 wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:48 am
I would prefer to eliminate the middle man staffing agency altogether, but I don't know how stringent the Firm's contract is with them.
I understand your preference, but the staffing agency did in fact put you and the firm in contact with one another, which is their job, so they deserve to be involved because that is how they make their money (commission, usually percentage of salary, although sometimes a fixed fee).

cheers!
jwf

Njm8845
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Njm8845 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:22 pm

juliewongferra wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:54 pm
I understand your preference, but the staffing agency did in fact put you and the firm in contact with one another, which is their job, so they deserve to be involved because that is how they make their money (commission, usually percentage of salary, although sometimes a fixed fee).
Understood. I wasn't suggesting that they shouldn't be paid. I'm merely frustrated that I must decide to relocate without knowing exactly what the compensation package looks like.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:23 pm

The hiring company COULD have a contract with the staffing agency to pay a fee upon hiring an employee through them.

(I thought this was how recruiting companies usually worked? Is this non-US?).

Seems to me the fact that they DON'T...may mean that they like the additional flexibility. After all if they don't hire you into a pemanent position...well...it's not like they have to fire you. They just don't offer a job.

So if you don't need the job...and taking it would mean dislocation, higher cost of living, and risk...then I suppose you should require an offer of a regular permanent position. And let them negotiate the fee with the hiring company.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:24 pm

Njm8845 wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:37 pm
My field is engineering.

I'm not worried about the staffing agency "mucking up" the deal. They have an incentive for me to sign. I'm worried about salary negotiations with the firm once my contract is up. This move would be a major increase to my usual cost of living, and the ultimate remuneration package is one of the reasons I would consider it. Not being able to negotiate that amount scares me.
Why can’t you negotiate your employee salary once the time comes? I’d think you’d have even more leverage to negotiate as you’ve proven your worth to them as a contractor.

Njm8845
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Njm8845 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:27 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:24 pm
Why can’t you negotiate your employee salary once the time comes? I’d think you’d have even more leverage to negotiate as you’ve proven your worth to them as a contractor.
The plan would be to negotiate when the time comes.

I suppose I'm cautious because I currently have a high salary. So there's more downside from a negotiation process. If I had a low salary, I would welcome it. Once again, the compensation is an important aspect of the job for me.

LordB
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by LordB » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:59 pm

If they want you badly enough they certainly have the option to just pay the staffing agency directly and hire you rather than going through them.

IMO this is purely because they want to try before they buy and not have to give you their full benefits etc. and they want the flexibility to fire you without penalty to them.

Also wonder if you want to work for a company that does that. You are highly compensated. Unemployment is at an all time low. You almost certainly could jump to another job if needed. If they are still playing these games that add hoops to hire people when getting people is so hard do you really want to be working for them? What is going to happen if the market does crash? With this setup you are the first out the door.

Personally I would decline this unless the rate they are paying is such that you would go even if it was only a contract position.

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Elsebet
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Elsebet » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:19 pm

Personally I would not relocate for a contract-to-hire position unless you really are motivated to live in that new location regardless of the position. If the position were in/near your current location that would be a different story. I feel like the contract employee is in a weak negotiating position in a contract-to-hire position and it would be worse for someone in a new location with no network.

I relocated once from Columbus, OH to Cincinnati, OH for a contract-to-hire job and had no relocation benefit. My old home in Columbus was on the market and I was living in an apartment in Cincinnati. When my contract was close to being up the management had a major upheaval and it seemed like they were leaning towards not making me an offer due to project/budget issues. That was an extremely stressful few weeks as I tried to figure out what I was going to do if they didn't hire me. They ended up hiring me luckily but that was terrifying even though it was only a 1.5 hour relocation.

I did relocate in 2013 from Cincinnati, OH to the Seattle area but that was for a full-time offer with relocation benefit.

miriamele
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by miriamele » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:34 pm

I work in HR and I can say that we generally pay a lump sum to headhunters and hire people directly. I hate the 'try before you buy' mentality - not a great way to start off an employment relationship! Also, there are joint employer issues so as a company you aren't absolved of all employment liability anyway, but I digress.

It can't hurt to ask if there is a way to bypass the contract period and go into direct employment. The agency should get their 'finders fee' of course. If the new company won't consider this then it is certainly a point to consider as you are making a pretty big move and a vote of confidence on their part would be nice. The current market is definitely in favor of the employee so I say go ahead and ask (nicely).

Good luck!

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:37 pm

This is an example of why I don’t like staffing companies acting like de facto recruitment agencies. The risk is disproportionately on the side of the employee, even more so than traditional employment arrangements.

It’s one thing for a business to call up a staffing company and tell them they need such and such position filled and the staffing company has a few people “in the hopper” who are raring to go. It’s something else when it involves someone who is gainfully employed uprooting his/her life to take a job where the prospective employer is hedging their bets on a skilled, well-compensated hire. While there isn’t anything nefarious about it on the surface, I would stop short of calling it a good-faith entry into an employment relationship.

OP – It could very well turn out fine, but the risk you perceive is real. Personally, I do not like it but I won’t tell you to not do it. I think the last few responses you received above are spot on for factoring into your decision.

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:42 pm

miriamele wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:34 pm
I work in HR
Bless your heart. :P

123
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by 123 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:13 pm

Your ability to negotiate with the firm after the end of the staffing agency contract is primarily influenced by the availablity of similar employment with other firms in the same area. In some professions, and in some areas, the use of staffing agencies is common and some professionals seem to get "aligned" with a staffing agency to develop their carees. In some cases it seems that headhunters may manipulate the market for some professionals to advance their own interest (your headhunter may have a potential replacement for you at your current firm waiting in the wings). Perhaps a call or two to alternate prospective employers in the target area would give you some clue about whether they solicit and hire your professional directly or whether they always use agencies. Some business units in companies get addicted to using agencies to compensate for budget constraints in their HR departments. The HR department then becomes just a rubber stamp.

Your headhunter wants you to accept the position. The headhunter fee (or markup) can often can be up to half of your gross salary for six to 12 months (or longer depending on the contract). The headhunter may have alternative candidates if you don't want to go along with the deal, but the potential employer may not be interested if the headhunter can't deliver you, one way or another.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

treypar
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by treypar » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:43 pm

My son was hired by a staffing agency for a Fortune 500 company. Fortunately he did not have to relocate. He was under contract on an annual basis for over five years. They would never let him know if the contract would renew until the last month of the contract. While he liked the work, he decided to leave for a permanent position. He did not like being left hanging every year to see if they would renew the contract.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:49 pm

MJW wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:42 pm
miriamele wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:34 pm
I work in HR
Bless your heart. :P
Is that meant in a “Southern” way?


Agree with others, relocation under those conditions does weaken your leverage if/when a permanent position is negotiated. (especially if the new market relocated to has few opportunities)

PASS

gotester2000
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by gotester2000 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:38 pm

Unless you work for the government, permanent job is an illusion.
You are clearly uncomfortable with contract to hire - why dont you look for other so called permanent offers?
Being FI is great - I like taking contracting opportunities - they pay you more and no politics involved. Besides there is nothing like a permanent job in corporate world. By the way, I have also hired people - being an employee does not mean you are immune - you have to prove yourself all the time and I have seen people asked to go in the first month itself.
HR is for company benefit only - employee is the last thing they really care for.
Last edited by gotester2000 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:34 pm

Nestegg_User wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:49 pm
MJW wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:42 pm
miriamele wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:34 pm
I work in HR
Bless your heart. :P
Is that meant in a “Southern” way?
I don't know. I'm not from the South.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:49 pm

MJW wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:34 pm
Nestegg_User wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:49 pm
MJW wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:42 pm
miriamele wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:34 pm
I work in HR
Bless your heart. :P
Is that meant in a “Southern” way?
I don't know. I'm not from the South.

might I suggest you look it up in either the “urban dictionary” or in wiki
{ it probably doesn’t mean what you think it means}

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:12 pm

Nestegg_User wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:49 pm
might I suggest you look it up in either the “urban dictionary” or in wiki
{ it probably doesn’t mean what you think it means}
LOL...expression of sympathy or genuine concern, per the wiki. :wink:

Although, given the prevalence of HR-hate expressed on this forum I can understand why a different usage of the expression would be assumed.

FlamingoTime
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by FlamingoTime » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:39 pm

I owned a staffing firm for 3 decades. If it is a legitimate temp to hire or trial hire, you should be told in advance what your salary will be after the trial period. The agency should know in advance and it should be put in writing as well if you accept an offer. Most people would not accept a position and commit to it for months, without being aware of what the salary and benefits will be at the end. You should have the benefits information before your interview, as well as a salary range. After the interview, the offer should give the actual salary you will receive when you go on the firm's payroll after the trial period. You being paid hourly during that period is how the staffing firm makes its fee, instead of a flat dollar amount. They markup your hourly wage and the profit is their "finders fee", so to speak.

gotester2000
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by gotester2000 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:55 pm

MJW wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:12 pm
Nestegg_User wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:49 pm
might I suggest you look it up in either the “urban dictionary” or in wiki
{ it probably doesn’t mean what you think it means}
LOL...expression of sympathy or genuine concern, per the wiki. :wink:

Although, given the prevalence of HR-hate expressed on this forum I can understand why a different usage of the expression would be assumed.
HR has its own targets and bonuses for meeting company objectives. They care a hoot for employees. HR talking about ethics is ironical at best.

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:59 pm

gotester2000 wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:55 pm
HR has its own targets and bonuses for meeting company objectives. They care a hoot for employees. HR talking about ethics is ironical at best.
Ironical, indeed. You seem highly knowledgeable on the subject matter, so I will defer to your expertise.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:56 am

There is no "headhunter". This is a temp staffing company. They get a percentage of OP's pay for the temp work, then a percentage of OP's salary for the perm job, if it is offered and accepted.

OP is smart in passing, I would have stopped the process upon learning that it was a staffing company.

miriamele
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by miriamele » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:09 pm

* Ouch *
I understand HR gets a bad rap and sometimes I look at my 'peers' and I can't disagree. For myself I can say I do truly advocate for the employee balanced with what's best for the business. I'm often amazed and people's tales of evil HR from their past. :twisted:

quantAndHold
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:40 pm

Companies that do contract to hire typically only hire really exceptional people without having them do the contract first. So that’s not going to happen. The contract is a low risk (for them) audition.

I personally wouldn’t relocate for any job that didn’t pay relocation, unless I really, really wanted to relocate to that location so badly that I would relocate with no job lined up. Multiply that feeling times two to relocate, at my own expense, for a contract job. I would only do it if my alternative was to relocate to that location at my own expense, with no job at all and no prospects.

sschoe2
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by sschoe2 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:55 am

I would not take one of these so called "temp-to-hire" jobs.

The WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research found only 27% of them actually do ever become permanent direct employment. My field is infested (chemistry) with staffing agencies and my experience with them is not good. The companies that use them, especially the large corps in my area, Chicago, Abbvie, Pepsi, Baxter, Pfizer are constantly churning through contractors. Many of the midsize and smaller companies as well. They rarely hire their contractors and instead treat them like second class citizens. I worked for 3 years in such an arrangement and hated it so much that I was looking for a career change. The company would kick us out of meetings, ban us from parties, wouldn't even give us flu shots. I spent the entire time looking for a direct job but as I said most companies pull the same thing so I was seriously contemplating doing a career change or I spent a lot of time trying for a Federal job anywhere. I came close to taking a job in Beckley, West Virginia I was so miserable. I finally found a really nice direct job with one of the few good companies in my profession. I still get bombarded with contract jobs from the above mention crap corps and smaller ones with some agencies wanting to pay $15 an hour no benefits. Heck the contract company I worked for tried to make me 1099 to dodge payroll taxes and I reported them to the IRS who ruled in my favor (3 years later after I was already gone).

In short I would never leave a perm job for any sort of temp, I would only take a temp job if I was desperate, and If I did I would keep searching full effort and leave the second I got a direct hire offer and frankly I don't think such companies even deserve 2 weeks notice.

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Nestegg_User
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....it’s been that way for quite a while

Post by Nestegg_User » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:28 pm

sschoe2:

unfortunately, the field has been that way for quite a while (decades) : you are either one of the “core” researchers or a set of replaceable hands. ...and all those with just an undergrad are “hands” (with some companies... like Pfizer , Monsanto, Merck....treating many pfuds that way too, unless they are viewed as “core”). virtually all subcontractors for these companies rely on that model....and use agencies to cull for replacement hands and churn those currently there. ( not having permanent positions make them more likely to be desperate and need to take a lower wage position)
{even back in the 80’s, the letters in the trade rags noted the prevalence of that model, especially for the startups servicing the big pharma companies... in phase trials, ADME work, formulation development. It was noted even back then *** that over half left chem in the first decade with about 20% loss in the field every decade after (that’s an exaggeration but probably loose half in first two decades)... and then they wondered why so few were going into it.... one writer said it didn’t matter how much you pushed through the pipeline, if there’s no jobs that sustain a career then it’s not profitable to get into that field.
...the offshoring/downsizing’s that went on reinforced that.}


*** “The endless stream of articles crying out for solutions to the upcoming “shortage” of scientists by attracting students to science courses are totally misguided and will not solve the real cause of the shortage. ...It doesn’t matter how many Ph.D.s you put into the pipeline, if there are too few containers at the end, the rest will spill on the ground. The graph...showing the educational pipeline from high school to Ph.D. stops there. The shortage is not in the educational pipeline, the shortage is in the number of career-sustaining jobs and financial support after graduate school. That graph should show the pipeline all the way to retirement so we can see how many Ph.D.s survive in their field five, 10, or 20 years later. I assert that the attrition is over 50% in the first five years and 20 to 40% every five years thereafter. ...They want to produce “educated” scientists, but don’t want them to be smart enough to figure out they can’t make a living as a scientist”.
[source: Oct 8, 1990 C&E News]

(sorry you didn’t get the memo... we saw that in the 70’s, 80’s and especially in the “nasty 90’s” when huge numbers were tossed out due to offshoring and downsizing. From your earlier posts, it appears that you came out in about 2008 and may not remember that... we didn’t have a way to transfer the message down to much later scientists propects except by word of mouth.)
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:43 pm, edited 6 times in total.

MJW
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by MJW » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:39 pm

miriamele wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:09 pm
* Ouch *
I understand HR gets a bad rap and sometimes I look at my 'peers' and I can't disagree. For myself I can say I do truly advocate for the employee balanced with what's best for the business. I'm often amazed and people's tales of evil HR from their past. :twisted:
I agree that the profession as a collective has not done itself any favors for its reputation and I also think the HR field has a lot of problems ahead.

With that said, I do wonder whether the forum would condone the same sort of derogatory blanket statements regularly made about HR people if they were instead directed to physicians, engineers and other popular BH professions.

Murgatroyd
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Re: Job Opportunity - Via Staffing Agency

Post by Murgatroyd » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:24 pm

Pretty clear both the recruiter and company hold all the cards. What you really need is downside protection, in case of firing - which you probably cannot negotiate. Let’s say at the contracts end the company says no thanks, you have nothing. If you were an employee they’d at least give you a month or so of severance.

Unless this is a location you desire long term, my vote is no.

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