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I spoke with a recruiter today about direct hire placement, and he suggested for me to also be open to doing temp-to-perm contractual work.

What would happen if I said no to contract work and that I only want to be a direct hire placement?

I'm guessing that the recruiter makes more commission with a temp-to-perm placement and so would try to push that onto me, but I'm not sure. Perhaps one good thing about going temp-to-perm is that I could get a job sooner, but this I'm not sure about either.

What's the best thing to tell this recruiter?

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    Serious companies do not use "temp-to-hire" because you can't hire anyone good that way. Take a temp-to-hire position if you are unemployed or it is your first professional position. – kevin cline Apr 24 '18 at 4:17
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Tell him yes or no, depending on which kind of work you want.

He's asking because there are people out there who want both, and so his chance of placing you is higher if you want both. But if you don't want both, he'll say "fine" and pitch you for the one you want.

For example, I'm pretty senior and am not going to leave a real job for temp-to-perm, so I tell recruiters I am only interested in perm positions. Sometimes they'll still tell me "this is a really really good fit..." And if it is, I'll say "pitch them on perm." I live in the US in a right-to-work state, so there's nothing preventing me from leaving or them from firing me except for them having a dysfunctionally inflexible internal set of processes, so sometimes they say "yes" and other times they say "no" and I figure it's for the best either way.

But when I was younger and up for job-hopping and doing some consulting to fill the gaps, sure, I was up for contract or temp-to-perm positions. It's all about what you want.

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What would happen if I said no to contract work and that I only want to be a direct hire placement?

If he is giving you both options then nothing negative will happen; the recruitment process will continue on a direct hire basis.

In my experience, I don't think this person is doing this because "the recruiter makes more commission with a temp-to-perm placement and so would try to push that onto me". It is more likely they are presenting you with other options so there is a higher chance you will consider any of them.

Also, the temp-to-hire option gives you some more leeway to adapt to the company. If it happens that you don't like the environment or projects and wish to leave, then it is easier for you (and them) to do so while being a temp worker.

In a way, temp-to-hire gives you the chance to be really sure that you like what you are going to be doing there, without having to go through more cumbersome process if you happened to enter directly as permanent worker.

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