Six Tips to Secure your Ideal Contractor

Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2016 by Venn GroupNo comments

If you are a recruiting manager that employs contract or temporary staff, or are considering going down this route, here are a collation of tips that experience has taught me which will help you hire your perfect contractor.


  • Move Fast.  As a recruiting manager you will have been told countless times by Recruitment Consultants that moving quickly throughout the recruitment process is vitally important. Believe it or not, this is not something we say for our own benefit and is something I stand by, particularly in the case of contract recruitment. Put yourself into the candidate’s shoes, if you have two similar opportunities from two similar organisations, you are most likely to accept the first role offered to you. Essentially, the longer a candidate is without an offer, the more opportunity there is for other companies or consultancies to speak with your ideal candidate and create increased competition to your role. If you speak with a professional contractor, it’s likely they will have been placed into a role without interview within 24 hours of first speaking with their consultant about the opportunity. Whilst I am not saying everyone should aim for a 24 hour turnaround (one week is more common), it is definitely worth being aware that other companies can, and will move fast. If you are not ready to recruit quickly for the position, consider holding off slightly until you have the power to move fast. Do give your consultant the heads up so that they can have candidates ready to go, but ultimately if you wish for the process to be hassle free, don’t put yourself into a position whereby you could end up finding your ideal candidate and losing out on them. Alternatively, alter your screening process to speed up the process. Your recruitment consultant should have pre-screened the candidate so consider a different interviewing method as discussed below.


  • Don’t Create Unnecessary Barriers.  In order to facilitate the above, don’t create unnecessary barriers that will restrict you – this isn’t permanent recruitment so the process should be different.A typical contract recruitment process will consist of simply a one stage interview. I would advise that you don’t conduct two interviews when one will suffice. If the candidate needs to meet more than one manager, provide interview slots when both managers can be available.‘Working interviews’ are a highly successful way to ‘try before you buy’. In this situation you are typically provided with two or three hand-picked candidates, from whom you select one individual to join you for a morning/afternoon, allow them to demonstrate their ability to complete the role and introduce them to the team. What’s more, it allows you to get feedback from your team and ensures the candidate is happy too.Skype interviews are part of a modern recruitment process and can be just as productive as a face to face interview; after all they allow you to gauge body language and pick up on any nuances that you only get when you can see someone. On top of this they help both of you build rapport which will tip the scales in your favour if the candidate has a decision to make between two offers. Also consider using Skype if you need to interview at more socially ‘awkward’ times (e.g. 7am or 7pm). For any candidates reading, please consider top tips for Skype interviewing.


  • Sell your Opportunity.  Building upon the previous points, in a busy recruitment market, question what will make your opportunity stand out above other opportunities?By this point in the process, your consultant should have taken the time to fully understand your business and its requirements so they can passionately speak about your vacancy with potential candidates. Nevertheless, many hands make light work, and the authority and enthusiasm with which you speak about the company you work for, is far more valuable that any positivity we lavish on it.Talk passionately and positively about your organisation, the team and the vacancy. Tell the candidate what it is you like about them and why you feel they would be the perfect candidate for this role. Use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.



  • Pick a Consultant you can Trust.  In my opinion, the most fruitful business relationships are built on transparency, honesty and trust. Recruitment often gets a bad reputation for dishonesty but if you are working with a consultant you can trust, there is no reason for them to be dishonest with you. If you have confidence in your consultant, I would advise leaving your vacancy exclusively with them for a period of time. When you require a fast turnaround, putting agencies in competition with one another can lead to an adverse affect on the level of candidate you receive. Whilst you may think you are doing the correct thing to get CVs quickly, you essentially create a race to provide CVs, reducing the overall quality of candidates provided. Rather than send a candidate who ticks all the boxes, in an effort not to lose out, an agency may send a candidate who ticks 60% of the boxes to block other agencies from sending that candidate. The more agencies in the race, the faster each consultant will have to work and the less thorough they can become as a result – they are taking part in a race that you initiated… To find your ideal candidate, trust one consultancy to work quickly and comprehensively to provide a handful of accurate candidates, rather than create a potential ‘spray and pray’ situation.



  • Work with your Consultant.  Work with your consultant to agree good times to call, the best ways of reaching one another and timeframes for CVs then feedback. If you can work together to agree all processes at the start, your recruiting experience will be a much more satisfying one. If you miss agreed timeframes, don’t be annoyed when you find yourself being chased; those timeframes will have been extended to all applicants and people will be getting jittery.The greater the relationship with your consultant, the better the level of service you will receive. Also, they may be more willing to flex their agency fee; the same way friends look out for friends.



  • Be Flexible on Rate (where you can).  At this point I would like to clarify that it is not the case in contract recruitment that whoever pays the most wins. However, there are some key points to consider which will help you avoid overpaying to secure the applicant you want.Firstly, work with your consultant to find the boundaries of your budget. Benchmark against market rates and internal salaries to find out the upper reaches of your hourly or daily budget.  Find a realistic lower boundary so that you are clear on a minimum cost. Without these boundaries, a lot of time can be wasted reviewing unaffordable or unqualified candidates.Trust that your consultant will use your upper boundary as an upper boundary (not as profit maximisation tool) but be open to candidates slightly above your budget. Often your consultant will come across people slightly above budget that tick all the boxes and have a great personality to match – these candidates can be worth their weight in gold and will often pay for themselves and more. It is down to your consultant to consult with you on these candidates but if you put a strict ‘No’ on candidates over budget, you may miss out on seeing the pick of the bunch and making a decision on them yourself.

Finally, by following the steps above it should put you in the driving seat when it comes to securing the perfect candidate. If you move fast, sell the opportunity and work closely with a consultant who is passionate about your role, you should be able to secure your ideal candidate at market rate. On the other hand, if you reach a situation whereby a candidate is not bought into your opportunity and has more than one offer on the table, you may have to pay much more to get the person you want.

Luke Grant – Venn Group

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