Is Freelance Trial a Good Transition to a Full-Time Development Job?

This is also a strategy that we apply occasionally.

Our company is based out of Europe and the local employment legislation is more conservative when compared to the US. You can’t just layoff people here and there, and you can’t terminate them on the spot (except for disciplinary actions).

Paperwork is also time-consuming, especially for smaller teams. We work with an external accounting firm and we have to meet every now and then for paperwork related to sick leaves, promotions, and different regulations at the office. Hiring new people takes time and involves the local IRS services.

If we find that an applicant is rock solid and would be a great fit, we send an offer right away. That said, this is rarely the case.

Most companies are looking for very specific profiles.

  • Less experienced people are riskier and may require months of onboarding and training until they get up to speed.
  • More senior folks most likely are looking for higher pay or additional perks – which is an added cost for the team. Some of them are experienced in different fields that are not directly related to the organization’s goals.

And 95% of the candidates are usually in either of those categories.

Especially with less experienced folks, a freelance deal may be a good way to test the waters before committing to a full-time job. It could assess productivity, communication skills, and the culture fit.

It’s not applicable for employed applicants looking for a transition. Most of them are hesitant to leave a job only to engage in a 1-month freelance trial that may fail. Which is odd, because a standard trial may still take 3 months and get terminated before signing the indefinite contract.

However, receiving a freelance offer probably means that the employer is willing to give you a shot and can’t find a better way to commit to a full-time deal. Keep in mind that there are some shady employers that may be exploiting that process – but it’s not uncommon for smaller companies to hire freelancers or consultants on a trial basis before offering a full-time job.