It's amazing the things you learn when you sit next to a sales team. For several years, I worked at a company where my desk was next to them. They had a really interesting sales technique called "try and buy." It was pretty simple. The company would install a system and let a customer use it for free for 90 days. After the trial period, either the customer would buy the system or the company would take it back. It was hugely effective. Most customers were surprised when their 90 days was up and wouldn't dream of giving up the system. So they paid for it. The customer received a system they were familiar with and understood how to get their money's worth from it and the company made a sale. This "try and buy" sales technique worked because the product was expensive and usually required a big customer commitment to manage it appropriately for about three to five years. Sounds kind of like a job, doesn't it? A job often lasts several years, it's expensive for the employer, it's a lot of time for the employee, and it requires a commitment from both sides to work together appropriately. You never really know if you're going to like a job, or an employee, until everyone's worked together for a few months.

Good news! Try and Buy for Employment

Try and buy exists for employment. It usually takes two forms: contract-to-hire, or a probationary period. The details vary, but the basic idea is that there is a defined "trial period." Technology companies rely on IT contract-for-hire workers at a greater rate than other industries, according to data from Dice Holdings. For example, only 8 percent of jobs listed on eFinancialCareers called for contract finance workers, whereas a sizable 48 percent of jobs listed on were for IT contractors. And of the IT contract jobs listed on, 27 percent were for contract-to-hire positions.  "Try and buy" can be a good way to turn a contract job into a permanent position, because the employer may start to wonder, "How can I live without this person?" Also, at the end of an initial contract or probation period, both the employee and the employer can take a step back and decide if this is really working out. If yes, then the job goes on. If no, then everyone walks away. No harm, no foul.