A new book by Jay Conrad Levinson & Andrew Neitlich

What it really takes to get hired in a growing company

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I had an enlightening conversation with a friend and entrepreneur this week. He was telling me that he has a contractor who works 30 hours a week for him. The guy is good at what he does, but a bit of a challenge. He is 26 years old, and isn't always on time. Plus, he works at a bar a couple of night a week.

My friend is debating whether to put him on the payroll as a full-time employee. On the one hand, he wants to do this because he believes that it will change the mindset involved in the relationship. He told me, "When someone is a contractor, they don't have the same level of commitment. As an employee, I think everything will change for him. He will have more skin in the game, and be more on my side."

On the other hand, he explained, "Now I have to make sure he is busy with clients 100% of the time, and of course I have to pay benefits and more payroll taxes."

It didn't used to be this hard to make the decision to hire someone, but now I see business owners everywhere struggling about whether to turn a contractor into an employee, or whether to hire anyone at all.

What does this mean for people early in their career? It means that anyone who wants to get hired needs to make an absolutely compelling case for the value you provide, and how serious you are about joining the company and helping the owner achieve his aspirations.

When I was moving up in a consulting firm, a mentor explained the key to getting promoted to partner. He told me that if I wanted to be promoted to partner, I needed to act like a partner now, before I was promoted. I need to think like an owner in the company, while also performing my duties in my current role.

That thinking seems to have expanded to what used to be the simple act of hiring someone full time. Business owners only want to do that with people who are serious, act as if they had skin in the game, and want to help the business move forward. If you can't demonstrate that level of motivation, while also getting results and being professional, you are not going to get a full-time job. Instead, you will be seen as a contractor.

Now, being a contractor is not a bad thing -- as long as you can market yourself to many different companies. However, if you want a job of any substance, you need to up your game to a whole new level of commitment and professionalism than ever before.

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