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The Difference Between a Contract Recruiter and a Permanent Recruiter

Author: Paul Conway

Published date: 2018/07

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Recruiters…ever wondered what the difference is between a Permanent and a Contract Recruiter? Well, funny you should wonder, because I’m about to give you a explanation!

As a contract recruiter, I like to think of myself as more of a supplier, rather than a recruiter. I am there in a clients’ hour of need, and I am also there when a candidate wants to get to work ASAP (or even when they just want to get their foot in the door with a company they’ve been dreaming of working with).

A permanent recruiter’s role is a little more strategic and slower-paced. There are the lengthy job ads, the long phone calls, and a meticulous, caffeine-fuelled interview process.

Contract vs. Permanent – the process

When a live job comes in, a contract recruiter will need to think on their feet and have someone front of mind that they know is available NOW. They may even try and fill the role over the phone. A contract recruiter will have a hotlist of the active talent on the market, which is updated with every single phone call we make!

A permanent recruiter will take down a brief, type up a job ad, call their network, check folders of previous phone calls, and spend weeks hunting and foraging in different areas to find the right person.

The interview process is completely different, too. Anyone that has met with me will know only too well, that I will ask questions about their projects, tenure, contacts, network and problem situations – all in under 15 minutes!

A permanent recruiter on the other hand, will be asking cultural and behavioural questions in true HR style. They will cover future plans, growth, personal questions, hobbies, etc. and all the while the clock has just gone around almost an hour. Contract don’t have time for that!  We have people that are relying on us to get them a job today, and clients that are needing people yesterday!

After that, a contract recruiter will be on the phone to references:

“How good is X person? What can they do? What did they struggle on? Would you rehire? Are these project lists correct?” Short, sharp, and reference done!

The candidate is on their way home from meeting with me to apply for more jobs. Their bluetooth is on and the phone rings. It’s me : “I’ve got you an interview with that client I just told you about.”

We’re quick and to the point.

The 5 key benefits of contract roles

Benefits for business owners:

  1. There’s always a really quick turnaround to get someone on board.
  2. Excellent choice to cover for annual leave, sick leave, or even if you have an on the spot resignation (because it happens!).
  3. That extra project you just won? We’ve got just the person for it!
  4. We’ll handle their payroll. No HR set up or paperwork – we have it all covered to make your life easier.
  5. The contractor works under our insurance. Again, we have you covered!
  6. We manage them on your behalf. That means we’re their advocate in any given situation, but we’re also your liaison and sounding board if you need a different approach on a situation.

Benefits for a candidate:

  1. Need a job NOW? Get started in a new role, quickly.
  2. Get your foot in the door with a company that ordinarily may overlook your experience. Today, YOU are the goods they are seeking!
  3. Get paid by the hour, for every hour you work, with your wages paid weekly directly into your bank (no waiting for a monthly payroll cycle).
  4. Enjoy flexibility between roles, and nail that elusive work-life balance. Take a holiday, man. Who can say no to you?
  5. Have the opportunity to experience with new systems and projects – it all helps in your career.

Whether you’re a business owner needing temporary staff to get a project over the line, or a candidate between roles, keen for a new experience, or looking for more flexibility, contract recruitment is definitely worth consideration. The Fetch Contract team has a combined experience of over 30 years, and we have the relationships with a huge network of reliable, hard-working contractors currently available in the market, and an in-depth knowledge of the projects and companies needing immediate staff.

Let’s get you on the road to success today!


Paul Conway is a Senior Contract Consultant at Fetch with years of experience ‘on the tools’ before taking on the challenge of Recruitment! You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn here.