Consider an associate scheme
To successfully make the leap back to permanent work, you first need to examine if this is truly the option to which you want to commit. The frustrating agency feedback is most likely coming from employers that have had their fingers burned by contractors making a break after obtaining new skills through permanent employment, so it is the demonstration of your enthusiasm and commitment at interview stage that is going to sell you to potential employers. Once you land a permanent position, push for training in new areas that will allow you to develop within that organisation.
An alternative to traditional contract and permanent work would be to get involved with an agency associate programme, allowing you to work on a temp to perm basis for a period of time. These are increasingly popular as they reduce the risk for employers and give employees a chance to prove themselves over an extended period.
Agencies conducting associate programmes recruit people onto their own payrolls for 12 months and take responsibility for HR support. Participants in the performance-based schemes are motivated by the prospect of a permanent position, fostering commitment but maintaining the flexibility of contract staff. Reviews take place after three months or so, after which the employer has the option to take you on permanently. You will also be in a position to make an informed decision as to whether the employer is right for you.
Solution by Carole Hepburn, Computer People
The panel: MSB International, Best International Group,
Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, E-Skills NTO,
Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting
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This was first published in October 2001