After interviewing for a full-time position, I was offered the job as a contract-to-hire. Should I take it?
For quick background context:
- I have been interviewing with BigInsuranceGroup (BIG) for a senior-level position.
- I have 10 years experience in my field, but also have a track record of being a "job hopper." There are valid reasons for leaving each role, of course, but at first glance, my resume looks like a series of 2-year or 1-year jobs.
- Four weeks ago, I met with the team at BIG for on-site interviews. I was told everyone "loved me," though I'd be a great teammate, and had positive feedback
- Two weeks ago, the hiring manager at BIG told me he wanted to bring me on board and was commencing with the background check as a prelude to an offer.
- One week ago, the background check came back clean.
- For the past two months, I have been doing some contract work with another big company (BIG2), but it's a temporary contract and they are very aware that I'm looking elsewhere.
I finally heard back from BIG today. In fact, I just got off the phone with the person who would be my manager (let's call him MrMgr). He called to let me know that they've run into two snags:
- There is an issue with headcount. Essentially, someone got permission to go ahead and run the job search when they shouldn't have. BIG is a very big, bureaucratic company, so this likely happened before MrMgr came on board two months ago. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
- The other is with my background. I don't have a degree and my track record of being with most employers for less than two years has raised some red flags. MrMgr told me he fought very hard to get me on board and ward off this issue. Again, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
MrMgr reiterated he still really wants to bring me on board. The compromise solution he worked out with the higher-ups at BIG was to bring me on board as a contract-to-hire for Q4 and then transition to a full-time employee starting Q1.
Of course, there are a few caveats:
- As much as MrMgr tried to reassure me that he fully plans to bring me on board full-time, there would be no official guarantee of this happening.
- I would be a contractor, thus an employee of a big staffing agency. There would be no health insurance.
- My rate of pay would be substantially higher than a normal contractor, and would be close to what I'd be making if I was full-time.
I told MrMgr to put it in writing and then send me the details.
But at the moment, I have to admit, I'm absolutely flabbergasted. This has never happened to me, and truthfully, I'm feeling a bit put off. I'm trying very hard to look at things objectively. Truthfully, I can see where they would feel I'm a risk.
But I've also been reading a lot of Liz Ryan's work over the years going back to ChicWIT. I know my value and what I bring to the table. I've been working in this space for more than 10 years. I have a good reputation as a solid pro. Plus, there's professional and personal pride, and I feel like you just don't do this to someone like me. At the risk of sounding overly pretentious (I'm not! Honest!) I'm not some junior intern who just got out of college.
In addition, there's the issue of health insurance. That's enough of a deal killer where I may not be able to accept this no matter what. I have a wife and a 6-month old newborn son. I don't know exactly what they're going to offer salary-wise, but I don't know yet if I'm going to be able to afford to buy COBRA for three months.
Again, I'm trying very hard to to see this from both sides. I know I look like a risk. I haven't exactly had the strongest track record of staying with one company at any point in my career. From the company's standpoint, I probably look like a flake
However, isn't that part of the risk of hiring any sort of employee? It feels like professional discourtesy to ask me to take on this kind of risk. Not to mention, asking me to pay for my own health insurance when I have a 6-month old and a wife. And of course, changing the rules of the game at the end and turning this into a contract-to-hire when I interviewed for a full-time role.
What do you think? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Am I being selfish?