The common view is that contractors come with a hefty price tag, but beyond the hourly rate take into account that contractors do not get benefits like pensions, equity, redundancy payments, maternity/paternity leave or bonuses. In addition, factor in savings that can be made by utilising contractors to train your permanent team.
Project-driven work and seasonal demands can of course be addressed effectively with contractors but hiring specialist contractors can also facilitate scaling up by increasing capacity whilst potentially long recruitment process lifecycles work to bring in the permanent headcount.
Temporary needs and skills gaps
The difference in value between hiring permanent and contract employees can be put down to one main ideal: permanent employees are hired to expand the skills and capabilities of the organisation over the long-term, whereas contractors are usually hired for a specific specialist service they can bring in the short term.
The major benefit contractors should provide companies with is skills they do not ordinarily have or do not have enough of. Companies may or may not need these skills over the long term, as is commonplace when organisations purchase enterprise software like Microsoft Dynamics where adding new custom modules or enhanced functionality is a 1-3 month job. The best contractors have a wealth of experience across multiple projects, companies, sectors and industries. The experience and expertise they bring is highly valued and immediately effective because they’ve seen it all before. They’ve typically learned a great deal from past projects and issues associated with those projects, and just as importantly benefited from previous successes. To have this experience and expertise permanently is often impossible.
Raising the bar within organisations
Engaging good contractors can improve the skills and approach of permanent employees by promoting best practice, offering mentoring and training. They can bring new ideas, greater expertise and broader experience to organisations, enabling their existing employees to learn and think differently. Contractor’s reputations are built and broken on a project-by-project basis. This means their motivation to succeed is driven by results and feedback and not by the prospect of gaining promotion or a higher status within organisations. Contractors are therefore focused on doing the best job possible and are free from the politics and gamesmanship that can be associated with working in an organisation.
What to look for when interviewing contractors:
- They have the specific skills and experience to do the job
- They are confident and assertive, without being too pushy or arrogant
- They are likeable and can work with people of different levels and personality types
- They are clearly focused on delivery and success
- They have good communication skills, can motivate others and are not afraid to listen
- They are inquisitive and not afraid to ask questions
- They have a proven track record in your industry, with references from similar projects
What to be careful of:
- They are overly creative or too quick to say yes, when talking about previous experience
- They talk too much and like the sound of their own voice
- They do not ask questions about your company or look to learn more about the project/assignment
- They are too forceful with their opinions
- They are focused purely on the project and do not consider the commercial implications of delivery
- They are not open to other perspectives
- They lack flexibility
Affinity work with trusted contractors on projects across Europe. Get in touch to see how an Affinity contractor can benefit your organisation: firstname.lastname@example.org