Transitioning contracting/consulting to full-time employment?

A number of you on this forum have mentioned that you have or continue to do various contracting or consulting work. How do you parlay this to full-time roles, either with the clients you’re consulting with or with outside employers? If you’re interviewing with other firms, when they ask you why you want to “leave your current role,” is it sufficient to simply state that you are currently on a consulting arrangement and want a full-time or more permanent role, or do you have to say more about your role?

I have a couple friends that are currently consulting for various buy-side firms and are looking for a full-time role. This thread here ( made me think about this question. They don’t want to look like they’re a flight risk from their current consulting agreements, but they seek greater job stability and potentially greater pay. I’m curious to hear what you guys would recommend, especially those among you that have worked in consulting or contracting capacities before.

My opinion is it is acceptable to say you are looking for the stability. I know one company I was at hired someone on a contract basis (for IT) and he was pretty clear that he really wanted stability and that as long as he was on a contract basis, he was probably still looking for something perm. And the company accepted this (ultimately hired the person). If I was hiring I would be ok with hearing that a person wanted the stability of a perm position and wouldnt think anything negative of it.

kevinf12, thanks for your quick response – what you said makes sense.

I think career growth is another reason for wanting to become a permanent employee. I’ve worked 3 contract roles (including my current job). With contract roles, the attitude tends to be that you come onboard with the skills required, do the job, and then go. With permanent roles, I’ve been able to move up within the company and take on roles that required me to retrain, etc. There’s an investment in the individual that you wouldn’t usually get with a contract role.

I’m currently a contractor, but I see my job as a bit of dead end job. I’m sort of keeping my eye out for a permanent role even though I know it’ll pay maybe 60% of what I’m currently on. Stability is also a big one for me considering that I’ve got a wife and kids to support. I’m currently holding back on getting back into owning a house until I get a permanent job.

To be an independent consultant requires two kinds of skills: 1) analytical skills, by which I mean both the analysis and the writing/presentation of them, and 2) marketing skills, meaning how to hustle and get the next client. If you’re good at both, then you should probably stay in consulting, but if one skill is substantially stronger than the other, then it’s perfectly reasonable to say that you want to concentrate on the analysis and production part of your work over the new-business part of your work, or you want to go out and sell something and have the rest of a company to back you up.

Amount of travel and work-life balance are a couple of other reasons I found to be acceptable during my transition.

Thanks for your thoughts, guys. I’ve synthesized what everyone here is saying. As a follow-up, what if you’re “interning” or consulting for an independent equity research firm but not doing a lot of travel? Basically, my buddy’s aspiration is to get a full-time offer somewhere but since he doesn’t have that he’s working on a contracting basis. He says the firm understands that he’s being paid for a temporary position that may or may not become a full-time opportunity (depending on his performance as well as the performance of the company); would it be a sufficient explanation for him to tell other firms simply that he’s on a contracting basis?

Basically, he’s just concerned that if he were to tell others he was consulting (rather than full-time employee), other potentially employers might try to capitalize on his desire for job security/“permanent status” by giving him a lesser offer, even though he is getting paid a fair base prorated on an hourly basis and he seems to be doing well in his contracting role.

Well, if they are giving him health insurance, half of his payroll tax bill, and a 401(k), that amounts to a chunk of change your friend won’t be getting as a consultant, so the per hour rate is lower as a full time employee. Your friend should consider that too. Once they are full time, then the normal supply and demand pressures kick in and if they underpay him, they will risk his going elsewhere for better pay.