W-2 only?

I’m job hunting today and am noticing a bunch of “W-2 only” positions. What does this mean exactly? One says “W-2 no 1009”. Does this mean they only want real employees and not consultants? And for an ounce of prevention, know any good site for a glossary of this sort of job lingo?

Yes, that means they are hiring employees. (I’m guessing you meant 1099, not 1009)

To expound a bit more: as a W-2 “employee”, your employer pays the employer half of the FICA (Social Security, Medicare taxes). If you were a 1099 contractor, you would be responsible for paying both halves.

I air-quote employee because often you may end up getting no more benefits than a 1099 contractor, other than the half-FICA, depending on the firm.

IMO, you’re better off as a W-2 since you don’t (at least directly) pay the employer share of FICA, but if you have business expenses to write off, then a 1099 basis might be better. These are generalizations; YMMV.

Even if you are hired as a consultant on a project, if you are hired through a consulting firm the chances are good that you will still be a W-2 employee. You will officially be an employee of the consulting firm, who will withhold taxes and provide insurance and other benefits.

Some consulting firms may give you the choice, or if you apply directly as a consultant to the company you would be working for, you would be a contractor, or 1099 employee. As a contractor, you would get a 1099 form instead of a W-2, which means that you would be responsible for “self-employment tax” (IRS-speak for the employers share of FICA and medicare tax), and you would be responsible for your own insurance and other benefits.