While the gig economy may be most closely aligned with freelancers and on-demand apps, people in a wide variety of professions are now choosing contract work as a way to break into the top tech companies. A report by Intuit states that by 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of different forms of contract workers. This report also states that “more than 80 percent of large corporations plan to substantially increase their use of a flexible workforce in the coming years.” Whether the trend is being propelled by employee preferences for flexibility and autonomy, or employer’s desire to save on budget and “accommodate workload fluctuations”, the employment market is quickly shifting towards the contract and gig economy.
In years past, contract work was stigmatized. However, people of all skill levels are now much warmer to the concept, says Alan Zel, Founder and President of Akinu IT Staffing. Looking to find contract work at some of the world’s top tech companies? Here’s how!
Land a Gig at Facebook, Google, & More
Large tech organizations often have contract employees staffed by outside hiring agencies, says Ed Epstein, VP Staffing Solutions at Be Group. For example, a company like Facebook works directly with Pro-Unlimited, which manages relationships with dozens of staffing agencies to collect and manage the best talent. Through companies like Pro-Unlimited, the hiring process for roles as wide-ranging as Content Marketing Associate, Data Analyst, Engineering Project Coordinator, and Lab Technician can become much more streamlined. The larger tech organization may not post the contract role directly on their career page, rather, the selected list of staffing agencies would host the job description on their internal career site, and manage the process that way, says Epstein.
If you’re looking to find a contract position at an international tech company, it would be wise to align yourself with recruitment agencies like Hays, Manpower, Randstad or Robert Half, that are all international, as large recruitment firms might often be on the supplier list for larger enterprises. You may also benefit from connecting with more specialized local recruitment agencies. For example, Nelson Staffing handles many of the administrative and entry-level roles for Google in California.
Benefits of Contract Work
Still on the fence about a contract gig? Here are the benefits of adding a temporary role to your resume:
1. A great way to get into a big company
Landing a contract job is a great way to get your foot in the door with a prestigious company, though it is never guaranteed that a contract will turn into a permanent role. Once you have built credibility and added value, it will be easier to investigate and find those full-time positions that you may not otherwise be privy to.
Pro Tip: If you’re hoping to turn your contract into something long-term, continue networking with the recruiters you worked with, as they will be the gatekeepers to new opportunities. Do amazing work, and these simple efforts can go a long way when getting buy-in from leaders and colleagues!
2. Exposure to new training, skills, and projects
Increasing and diversifying your experiences provides you with key insights you can bring to your next job. These insights make you more employable and attractive to recruiters.
Pro tip: If you’re currently on a contract, make sure to add value to the projects you’re working on. Figure out where the pain points are on your team and look for solutions that help mitigate them. Keep a log of all of your projects and accomplishments as they come up which can make putting together or updating your resume significantly easier.
3. Opportunity to explore your professional interests
If you’re someone who is still exploring what you want from your career, or considering a career change, accepting a contract is a great way to try out different projects and get a sense for your next big challenge.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Contracting
1. Do you expect a full-time job to result from the contract?
Before accepting a contract gig, ask yourself what your hopes are for the experience. Many people enjoy long-term contract work, while others hope that the contract role will lead to a full-time position. Know which you are and set your expectations. Furthermore, ask the recruiting agency whether the role has the potential for a full-time hire at the end of the contract. Don’t hesitate to get key questions answered so that you can make a fully informed decision.
2. What’s the reason for the role being contract?
Some organizations may create a contract opportunity to see how the role might fit into the larger scope of the team. Sometimes the opportunity might be contracted as they are replacing a maternity leave. Whatever the reason, it’s important to ask the recruiter what the future of the role looks like. Will it be a one and done project? Or is there some potential to stay on afterward, says Zel?
3. What is the length of the contract?
It will be difficult for you to accomplish much in under 6 months. A 3-6 month contract is likely a better fit for someone exclusively in the gig economy, seeking out short contracts. Ideally, a 1-year contract would be enough time for you to demonstrate your skills and leave your mark.
While a contract position is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, it might just be an exciting risk worth taking to find the job that fits your life!