Have my job search and eat it, too.
November 29, 2011 4:26 AM   Subscribe

How to look for a full-time job while my consultancy also tries to place me?

Following up on this question. I am currently consulting, and I really like the consultancy I'm working for - they're very responsive to my needs. It's unclear whether my current contract (which ends in early January) will be renewed due to the client's budget situation. For personal reasons, I really want to work in the city I'm living in instead of travelling, so I asked my consultancy to focus on positions in that city when trying to place me. So far, they have't found anything. Complicating the issue is the fact that there are only 3 organizations (all hospitals) in my city that might need the kind of work I do, and only 1 of them is likely to have any positions.

I did some searching on my own, and found a low-level managerial position that I'm interested in at the hospital that is likely to have jobs. But I think it would be better if I applied to them directly for a full-time position. First, I have not managed before, so I would be growing into the position instead of coming in as an expert. Second, since it's management and it's posted as a full-time job, I don't know that they are actually interested in bringing in a consultant to fill it.

But I don't want to burn bridges in this process. I like my consultancy, I can see myself using them as a reference later on, and I would like to be able to work for them again - it's likely that I'll move again sometime in the next 5-10 years and I would like to be able to get a contract through them while I seek a full-time position after that move. So I'm worried that if I get this full-time position while the consultancy is trying to place me, they'll feel blindsided, feel that I'm disloyal, and won't want to work with me again.

So here are the questions:

Do I need to tell the consultancy that I'm looking for other jobs as well? Or is that just a given for a contractor?

Do I need to tell the consultancy about this managerial job in particular, and possibly give them a chance to present me as a consultant for that position before I apply directly? I'm worried that the organization will find it odd or off-putting if I'm presented as a consultant for that position, and then apply for fully-time employment for the same position if the consulting thing doesn't work out, so I'm worried that I'll lose my shot at applying through the regular channel if I give the consultancy the first shot.

Finally, am I correct in my assumption that I'm more like to be considered for that managerial position if I apply to be a hospital employee instead of a contractor?
posted by Tehhund to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If your consultant gig is ending in January, your consulting firm probably assumes you are looking for something else on your own - it is a given. It would be foolish not too. It's not disloyal to look out for your own best interests. What if the next assignment they come up with is not one that you want (and this assumes they'll even find you another gig, what if they don't)?

I think you should apply for the management job and keep your fingers crossed. If they're looking for a full time employee, that's likely how they would hire you, not as a contractor. I think trying to get the job through your consulting firm is not a good idea and could complicate things. Consulting firms get paid for bringing in candidates. The hospital may not want to pay a consulting fee, which means they may exclude you for that reason alone especially if there are other similarly or better qualified applicants (you've already admitted to not having management experience) they could get without paying a fee.

You're not burning any bridges with your consulting firm if you find a job on your own. Just be sure to adhere to the terms of your contract and leave on good terms with the current client.
posted by shoesietart at 4:55 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

The only potential conflict you need to avoid is having your consultancy submit you for a role where you have applied directly. So make sure the consultancy checks with you before they submit you anywhere, and eliminate options you have already applied to.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:24 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Does your current contract have any kind of "non compete" clause? This sort of thing generally prohibits you from seeking direct employment with a company that your firm places you with as a consultant (so doesn't seem like it would apply based on how you've described your situation, but it would be good to check).

In any case, you could have an informal chat with the folks at your current firm who'd be placing you somewhere, something along the lines of "I really hope the client extends the current contract past January, but since nothing is certain I guess I'll need to be looking for other opportunities..." That way you can make sure they're thinking of other areas where they might be able to place you.
posted by msbubbaclees at 7:43 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

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