Direct Hire

The Right Candidate

What’s a direct-hire? If you’re interested in a full-time position with benefits like health insurance, vacation time, and sick leave, you’re probably looking for a direct-hire job or candidate.

Direct hires are among the most desirable types of positions. That’s because you’ll be working directly for your employer in a full-time permanent capacity with employee benefits. These benefits may include health insurance, paid leave, investment and retirement options, and wellness benefits.

Direct-hire positions can be harder to find than other types of work, including part-time or temporary jobs and contract work.

Even though direct-hire jobs may not be the easiest to find, there are ways you can optimize your job search to tap into companies that hire directly. Here’s a quick guide to direct hiring, how it differs from other types of recruiting, and tips for successfully landing a job as a direct hire.

What Is a Direct Hire?

When speaking about direct hiring, employers and recruiters are talking about long-term, full-time payroll employees working directly for their employer. Past generations of Americans enjoyed direct hiring more so than today’s current workforce. Today, employment has a greater variety, including temporary projects, on-call work, part-time jobs, and work that is outsourced to independent contractors. This offers employers greater hiring flexibility.

Companies that directly hire their employees typically provide top benefits and look to invest in their full-time workers on a long-term basis.

Private Employer vs. Federal Government Direct Hiring

However, “direct hire” doesn’t mean the same thing in the public sector. The federal government has its own definition of “direct hiring.”

When there is a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need, federal agencies can request direct-hire authority to appoint candidates to positions without going through the standard government hiring process.

Available direct-hire authority positions are often noted on the USA federal government employment website, along with instructions on how to apply.

Direct Hire vs. Other Forms of Hiring

In the private sector, the main difference between direct and other forms of hiring is that a direct hire is considered a permanent hire. All other hires are somewhat less permanent, and therefore, less of a long-term employment opportunity. Additionally, a direct hire will typically have employee benefits, where other forms of hiring may or may not include those benefits.

Even “permanent” hires don’t provide a long-term guarantee. Many employees in the U.S. are considered “employed at will,” which means that companies can fire workers for any reason—or no reason at all—with or without notice.

Below are other forms of hiring that you may come across during the job search.

  • Contract to Hire: A company or agency may intend to fill a permanent position in the future, but prefer to evaluate candidates by starting them out as contract workers. Contract to hire allows candidates to work for pay and get to know the employer, the position, and the scope of the job. Employers can opt to hire their contractors for full-time positions, or continue to meet their employment needs through temporary arrangements.
  • Contract Hiring: Companies may also decide to hire temporary workers on a short-term contract. Contract hiring is when an employer outsources work to independent contractors or agencies. It may also include part-time payroll employees tasked with a temporary full-time position to meet seasonal or unusually high demand. Employees that work part time on a long-term basis may be considered contract workers or temporary hires, depending on how they are paid.
  • Temporary Hire: Hourly workers filling a short-term need at a company are temporary hires. These can be seasonal workers (such as when UPS and FedEx hire extra helpers during the holidays) or other hourly, part-time workers with no long-term commitment from an employer.

How Recruiting Works in Direct Hiring

When a company seeks outside assistance for hiring, they may hire staffing agencies to assist with the recruiting process. These agencies then become the liaison between those looking for work and companies looking for hiring solutions.

However, direct hire needs are permanent roles that require more selectivity. Additionally, more people may send in resumes for direct hire jobs than for temporary or contract jobs due to the benefits that come with the position. 

Because many companies find the direct-hire process complex and time consuming, they may opt to seek assistance from recruiters and headhunters to fill available positions.

Recruiting agencies have expertise in managing a high volume of applications, evaluating resumes, and submitting the top choices to the employer for review. Some agencies may handle the interview process up to the point of a new employee’s first day of work. Others may simply help screen out the less-than-ideal talent so that the employer can choose from the most qualified candidates in the applicant pool.

Other direct-hiring companies may prefer to keep recruiting in-house. This means they may task teams within their human resources department to handle needs.

Examples of Direct Hiring

Some jobs are more likely to be direct-hire positions than others. Generally speaking, these roles require skills that are in high demand in the job market. There may also be a shortage of qualified applicants for these roles, causing companies to offer more long-term security and better benefits to secure a more attractive candidate pool.

Managers and Executives

Leadership can make or break the company. When top managers and executives at a company are temporary hires, it can hinder company operations, long-term planning, and financial growth. That’s why many companies may choose their leaders carefully and hire them on a permanent basis.

Employees With Unique Skills

Many jobs that require a high level of education and a unique hard skill set are often filled with a direct-hire candidate. These positions may often be referred to as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs. In today’s tech world, finding candidates with strong technological skills in industries that have changed dramatically within the last 10 years can be difficult. Once a company finds the right candidate, it will want to incentivize them to stay with the company as a permanent employee.

Fewer Candidates for Available Jobs

There are times when employment needs exceed the number of available job seekers. When this happens, companies are forced to work harder to find strong candidates. They may offer a direct-hire package that motivates job seekers to leave their current job and accept a new direct-hire position with higher pay and better benefits.

Employer Recruiting Events

Many larger employers hold recruiting events or participate in multi-employer career fairs. Events are often held online, on college campuses, at local convention centers, or on military bases. When participating in a direct hiring event, the employer’s goal is to engage top candidates gathering in one place. Job seekers participating in direct hiring events should come prepared to hand out resumes and take on-the-spot interviews. 

If you are looking to take advantage of a recruiting event, be sure to dress well, research the company (or companies) involved, and bring copies of your resume to give to prospective employers.

How to Find Direct Hire Jobs

As with any job search, ensuring you have a strong resume, learning new skills to increase your employability, and practicing your interview skills may help you land a new role. When it comes to applying for direct-hire jobs, below are a few things you can do to find them and potentially get your foot in the door faster.

  • Apply on company websites. Most large companies have a recruiting system in place where applicants can apply directly on a company’s website. You may get your application in the queue faster than if you use a third-party website.
  • Work with a recruiter. Many direct-hire candidates may be sourced through recruiters that are highly skilled at finding top talent. Consider connecting with a local or industry-specific recruiting agency to help you secure a direct-hire job.
  • Sign up for email alerts. Large organizations often provide job alerts via email to notify candidates about new job openings directly. This is a terrific way to stay informed of the latest opportunities.
  • Follow companies of interest on social media. Many companies post openings on social media, and it’s easy to click on the link shared by the employer to get more information and apply.

Bottom Line

DIRECT-HIRE JOBS ARE SOME OF THE MOST DESIRABLE POSITIONS They typically offer more long-term security and better benefits.

DIRECT HIRING ISN’T THE ONLY WAY TO GAIN EMPLOYMENT Other options like contract to hire and temporary work may provide you with work experience or a path to permanent employment.

SOME JOBS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE DIRECT HIRE POSITIONS These include managerial roles or STEM jobs that require in-demand skills.

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO FIND THESE JOBS Employer events, social media, company websites, and email alerts may prove helpful.

When you are looking for a job, you might encounter different types of employment, depending on a company’s needs, budget, projects and more. These types include temporary, contract-to-hire and direct hire jobs. If you are looking for a permanent or long-term position, you will want to seek direct hire positions. In this guide, we will focus on the meaning of direct hire and its benefits.

What is Direct Hiring?

Direct hiring is a process in which a company offers you a job and employs you without using a third party. This structure is different from temporary (typically less than a year) or contract positions in which a staffing agency supplies and employs the talent. 

Direct hire jobs are usually permanent or long-term positions with salaries, paid time off and benefits such as retirement accounts and health insurance. While a staffing firm might handle the recruiting process, you will report directly to the hiring company when you accept the job offer. The direct hire process can take more time than a rapidly filled temp position because your potential employer is committing to a long-term relationship and wants to do a thorough job finding and interviewing strong candidates.

Why Companies Direct Hire

Companies might pursue direct hire recruiting, either through their own human resources department or a staffing agency, for several reasons:

  • To fill positions that would benefit from a long-term commitment. Employees in direct hire positions often feel more loyalty to a company.
  • To fill upper management or executive positions
  • To fill unique positions that require very specific skills
  • To attract better talent. People are often more likely to accept an offer or leave their current position for a direct-hire role with benefits and stability.
  • To adapt in a time when there are fewer people looking for jobs than there are open positions. Direct hiring is usually more appealing to skilled employees in this scenario, due to the benefits and job security that accompany it.
  • To remove extra steps. A company can do its own recruiting rather than use a staffing agency, which avoids fees or commissions and ensures the hiring company’s vision and message are clear.

You typically see companies outsource their direct hire needs to staffing firms if:

  • They have limited time and resources to recruit for an open position and screen potential candidates.
  • They do not have human resources departments or available staff to dedicate to the recruiting process.
  • A job has gone unfilled for a long time. 
  • They have experienced high turnover rates for a position.
  • They have received little response to a job posting. 

In these scenarios, staffing agencies can use their large networks of job applicants to identify the appropriate individual for even the most specialized position. After the agency identifies qualified candidates, the employer interviews them and hires the best fit.

The Benefits of Direct Hire Jobs

Depending on your lifestyle, preferences and long-term professional goals, you may want a permanent, secure position with guaranteed insurance and other benefits. In growing job markets with low unemployment rates, you have the advantage when it comes to finding the best job for your talents.

If you accept a direct-hire position, your employer is often more likely to be invested in your development and long-term success. You may also have a better opportunity to change positions, level-up and take other steps to meet your career goals in a permanent position that you may not be able to in a part-time or temporary role.

Direct hire positions can also be appealing and beneficial to recent graduates just entering the job market. Staffing agencies and company representatives often attend job fairs at colleges to find new talent.

Applying for one of these direct-hire positions can save you the time and effort of searching for employment upon graduating. It allows you to enter an industry that interests you when you may have little experience. These companies will likely invest the resources and effort into giving you the training you need to be successful in that position and career.

Working with a Recruiter to Find a Direct Hire Position

If you are interested in finding a direct-hire job, you might consider working with a recruiting or staffing agency to find good opportunities. This can save you time, particularly if you are currently employed full-time but seeking a new job.

If a company is currently looking to fill a direct-hire role, a recruiter who has found your resume or professional profile might reach out to you first. In this scenario, know how to respond to the recruiter.

Staffing firms have a lot of knowledge and experience

Alternatively, you can contact a staffing agency or recruiter yourself to begin the process. You can apply for a direct-hire job that interests you or let the agency determine which positions you best qualify for.

The American Staffing Association provides resources for finding and choosing an agency, or you can search for recruiters online or through trade organizations and professional groups. There are several benefits to working with an agency to find a direct-hire job:

It is free

While recruiters charge companies fees and commissions for connecting them with qualified professionals, they usually provide free services to people seeking employment. 

It is confidential

If you are employed but seeking a better or more permanent position, you can let a recruiter do the work. This keeps your job search private, rather than risking your current job. 

Recruiters search the job market all day, so they know what is available. Whether you are an entry-level employee or a VP candidate, they know the market for your skillset and experience level and how it is changing. They can tell you what to expect so you have less chance of running into challenges or surprises. Recruiters can also give you advice about your career goals and decisions.

Talent Agencies have Large Networks

Recruiters not only have lots of connections, they also know about jobs that are not yet available or listed publicly. Companies often turn to staffing firms to find talent for direct-hire positions before putting a listing on the market.

These individuals might be able to pair you with a company you did not know was hiring or is not actively hiring. Many companies will hire top talent when they find it, even if they do not currently have a job opening.

You might receive useful feedback

Most recruiting agencies check on the status of your application with a company. They might receive information about what the employer liked about your application or why they did not select you for the position. You can learn from this feedback and apply it to your job search, resume-building and interviews. 

Tips for Direct-Hire Interviews

Do your research

Read about the company and the job listing for which you are a candidate, particularly if the hiring manager discovered and contacted you. In this scenario, you might not be familiar with the company or its culture. Look for repeated keywords in the job posting or on the company’s website and marketing materials.

These are likely key values within the company culture. Think of ways you exhibit these traits and provide examples during your interview. Also, study the skills listed and think of ways you used those in previous positions.

Practice your answers

While every interviewer will ask you different questions depending on your resume, title, level and industry, there are several common interview questions you can consider as you prepare. Instead of memorizing your answer, remember key points you’d like to communicate. This can help you feel more relaxed and sound natural as you’re speaking.

Be confident but grateful

The company is already interested in you if it has contacted you for an interview. Relax while maintaining your professionalism, make eye contact, share relatable stories and build a relationship with the interviewer.

Focus on your impact

Give examples of how you have performed in previous jobs and include statistics or visuals, if possible. Say, for instance, “I increased our customer retention rate by 20% over 18 months by launching a loyalty program and redesigning our marketing materials.” These types of statements show how you have set goals and worked toward them. 

Follow up with interviewers within 24 hours to thank them for their time and show your interest in the job if you believe it is a good match.

If you are looking to further your career with a long-term and fulfilling job, it might be in your best interest to seek a direct-hire position. You will be more likely to receive job security and a salary with benefits, and your employer will be invested in your success and career development.

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