Hiring IT contractors is different from hiring permanent IT staff. They come into the company for a limited time to complete a task, and whether it be developing a new app or integrating new technology, contractors need to know what they’re doing from day one.
This means the way you approach hiring them will be different. With permanent employees, it doesn’t matter if they don’t know everything, because you can develop their skills over time. But with a contractor, it’s different. If you are hiring somebody to come in for 8 weeks to build a new website, you can’t spend 6 weeks getting them up to speed.
So how do you know if you’re getting a contractor who is up to the job? Our guide below will tell you the tools and techniques you can use to ensure you get your money’s worth when hiring your next IT contractor.
The Benefits of Hiring IT Contractors
The fact you’re reading this article means that, chances are, you already know why a contractor will suit your business more than hiring a new permanent employee. But if you’re still unsure on whether an IT contractor is right for you, here are some benefits to bear in mind.
Contractors are perfect if you need expert input for a project with a limited time-frame. Let’s take building a mobile app for your company as an example. You will greatly benefit from the skills and specialist expertise that a mobile app developer can bring. However, the app may only take 6 months to build. It might not make sense to hire a permanent employee, so a contractor would be an excellent choice.
As well as this, they are available on short notice. Contractors are usually contractors by career, so if they’re available – they’re probably available now. Whereas permanent recruits will have a notice period, contractors can often get started in a matter of days.
And because of their availability, they’re fantastic for covering a role. Whether you’ve had an employee unexpectedly leave the company, or someone is on an extended absence, a contractor could be an ideal solution. They can be drafted in quickly and will know the role well enough to work effectively from the get-go.
An additional benefit is the knock-on effect that a contractor can have on the staff around them. Contractors are often experts in their field. When they’re working within a team, it’s not uncommon for your permanent employees to learn a thing or two. So, while not part of their role, the guidance and knowledge they bring to their role can have a lasting effect on your company.
Now that we have the benefits clear – let’s look at what you can do to ensure you’re hiring the right contractor for your project.
Understand Your Project’s Needs
This might seem like an obvious one. However, it’s a crucial element to get right when hiring IT contractors. Ask yourself this: “In order to complete this project, what exactly needs to be done?” The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to find somebody who ticks all boxes.
Having a good handle on what skills are needed will mean the difference between hiring a software developer and a mobile app developer, for example. While a mobile app developer is a software developer, their specialism means that they will excel in working on mobile app projects.
Getting a good handle on what needs to be done, and what type of professional will best deliver these services, will help you greatly later in the process.
Make Use Of Video Recruitment Software
When you’re hiring an IT contractor, the likelihood is you will need them as soon as possible. So with that in mind, it’s good to use tools that will help you streamline the process. However, it’s essential that you don’t compromise the quality of your process in doing this.
A tool that we have found really helps to speed the process up is video. We have written a blog post about the importance of video in the future of recruitment – and we really believe it. We’ve been using video more and more recently. And so far, it seems to be working very well.
We use software called Hinterview. This software allows us to do the following:
- Create a Hintro: A Hintro is a short video introduction. It gives you an opportunity to connect with potential candidates in a way that will stand out.
- Record a Hinterview: A Hinterview is a video interview, recorded by a recruitment agency on behalf of a client. This provides a fantastic opportunity for companies to interview clients with a minimal time investment. They are able to submit the questions they would like to ask and see how the candidate responds for themselves.
The use of Hinterviews can often eliminate the need for a first-stage interview. It gives the company a very good insight into a candidate without ever meeting them. The time in which a hiring manager can watch 5 Hinterviews is significantly less than the time it would take to prepare for and conduct 5 separate face-to-face interviews. And they can do it at home – not normally an interview location option.
Use Technical Assessments
Here at Blues Point, we champion the use of Technical Assessments as part of the recruitment process. And it’s a more important tool than ever when hiring IT contractors.
We offer clients the option of putting their candidates through an IKM assessment. There are over 250 standard assessments that cover almost all areas of IT, or you can set up a bespoke test to suit the specific needs of your role.
Let’s say you’re looking for a C# developer. A candidate’s CV arrives in your inbox and they look fantastic. Their work experience looks perfect and they’ve been doing a lot of the things that you will need them to do in your role. But is this enough? What happens if you hire them and they can’t work at the level you want them to?
This is where technical assessments come in. You could set the candidate up on the IKM C# 6.0 Programming Assessment to get a feel for what they can really do.
Once the candidate has completed this assessment, you will receive their results. The results are presented in the form of a report which includes their overall score along with other important metrics. These include:
- Subject Analysis: How they scored on specific subjects within the assessment
- Percentile: How they scored in comparison to other candidates who have taken the same assessment
- Work Speed / Accuracy: How quickly they completed the assessment and how accurate they were
- Application Ability: How well they apply their knowledge to practical applications
- Subject Coverage: How much of the subject matter they qualified as ‘proficient’ or ‘strong’ on
As you can see, technical assessments are a brilliant way to get a lot of key information on a candidate’s ability. It’s especially important when hiring IT contractors as you will want them to be able to hit the ground running.
Use Personality Assessments
We would always recommend using personality assessments for permanent hires but with contractors it isn’t always necessary. However, it may be worth considering if you are planning on keeping a contractor for an extended period of time.
Personality assessments, such as the Thomas PPA DISC assessment, look at a candidate’s behaviour. The candidate must complete a simple series of questions in which they’re given a range of statements. They have to indicate which statement is most like them and which statement is least like them.
The results of this type of assessment will give employers a strong idea of the way candidates behave. They will be able to see if the candidate is a good communicator or is more reserved, mild-mannered or confrontational, cautious or a risk-taker, and so on.
Assessments like this are ideal for long-term contractors as it will give you a good idea of how they will integrate with your current, permanent team. Staff dynamics are an important part of workplace culture, and you may not want to risk upsetting the balance by hiring the wrong contractor.
Hire Through A Specialist Recruitment Agency
As an IT recruitment agency, it probably won’t surprise you that we would make this recommendation – but hear me out. There are several reasons why you will benefit from getting professionals to source a contractor on your behalf.
The first is the industry-specific expertise a specialist recruitment agency brings to the table. We’ve worked with a huge number of companies to place an even larger number of candidates in a multitude of roles. We know what skills are required for the roles. We can even consult with you and give you advice on what you should be looking for to get the most from your contractor.
As well as that, we know contractors already. Whereas you may not have encountered many IT contractors before, let alone any that are relevant to your needs, we have long-standing relationships with a number of talented contractors. We know from client feedback how they work. And we’re able to contact them quickly and easily to find out what their current situation is.
Finally, it’s easier for you. By handing over this task to professionals who know what they’re doing, you can concentrate on your own important work. Instead of spending hours, trawling through job sites trying to find a good candidate, you can let the agency do the leg work for you.
Having looked at the benefits of hiring a contractor, and the ways in which you can maximise the impact of your hire, it’s clear there is plenty of scope of achieving some fantastic results.
By using the tips we’ve provided, you will be removing all the guesswork when it comes to hiring your next IT contractor. Being well informed on what you want and what your candidates can offer is the key to making a successful contractor hire.
And if you would like help from a specialist recruitment agency, we would love to hear from you. We have over 15 years of experience in IT recruitment, as well as in-depth and current industry expertise. We are certain we can source an IT contractor that would be perfect for your needs.
Give us a call today on 01283 530923 to discuss your IT contractor needs in more depth.