Assess Skills Of Prospective Hires With Project Work

Getting a foot in the door has long been the goal of enterprising job seekers. A new survey shows employers also embrace this approach.

Sixty-three percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said it's beneficial for potential new hires to work on a project or contract basis before being offered a full-time position.

One in five executives said this strategy was very valuable.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, "How valuable is it to have a prospective employee work on a project or contract basis as a means of evaluation for full-time employment within your IT department?" Their responses:

  • Very valuable 16%
  • Somewhat valuable 47%
  • Not at all valuable 35%
  • Don't know/no answer 2%

"Interviews and reference checks alone don't always provide a complete picture of an individual's on-the-job performance," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Project assignments allow managers to make a firsthand assessment of not only technology expertise but also the individual's interpersonal skills, which aren't always evident from
his or her work history."

Lee added that by evaluating prospective employees on a contract or short-term basis first, firms can minimize the productivity losses and costs associated with poor hiring decisions. "Companies often use this approach to determine if they have a full-time staffing need or if the work can be handled by a combination of project professionals and existing employees."


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