Should we hire contract or permanent?

Subject: Should we hire contract or permanent?
From: Glenda Jeffrey <jeffrey -at- LEMOND -dot- HKS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 09:42:40 -0400

Our company is getting ready to hire some tech writers, and
right now we are struggling with the question of whether those
writers should be contract or permanent employees.

Our company president argues that permanent employees are better
because their expertise does not walk out the door when the job
is finished. Furthermore, he believes that we will be able to
keep these folks busy in the long run.

I'm arguing that contract help is better because we need to produce
a large volume of writing in a short time. Once that writing is
finished, the volume of original writing should diminish. It will
certainly not disappear, but I don't think it will be the same
as it is currently. (Part of the problem is also estimating how
much work there really is -- any tips on this are welcome as well.)

It also appears to me from reading this list and looking at
that there are a lot more folks interested in doing contract writing
than in having permanent jobs. (I read the recent thread on job
longevity -- I know you permanent folks are out there, but I'm getting
the impression that you are in the minority.)

You should know that part of our president's feeling arises from the
fact that we tried to hire a tech writer several years ago, and did
not get many promising applicants. I personally believe that this is
due to our location (Rhode Island). I'll bet that if we were near
Boston, we'd have much better luck.

Anyway, I think what we ought to do is hire several contract tech writers to
push the stuff out in the short term, and then when their contracts
are up, offer permanent jobs to perhaps half of them.

What do you folks make of this strategy? Can we get good people this
way? And what are the odds that the good writers will actually take
the offer of full-time employment after the contract period is up?

Thanks for your help!

Glenda Jeffrey Email: jeffrey -at- hks -dot- com
Hibbitt, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc Phone: 401-727-4200
1080 Main St. Fax: 401-727-4208
Pawtucket, RI 02860

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