Top 7 Tips for Managing Contractor Usage

As the challenging economic climate continues, organisations are finding it increasingly hard to recruit and retain the talent required to deliver their business objectives.

This has led to a sharp rise in the use of contractor agencies, but there is widespread dissatisfaction with the services on offer – from both clients and contractors. The hiring process for contractors, perhaps due to its temporary nature, is often less stringent than it would be for permanent staff, but it is just as important that companies ensure the quality and compatibility of the workers being hired.

This White Paper provides some useful advice for those hiring and managing contractors to ensure best value and the avoidance of costly mistakes.

Choosing And Working With Your Agency

In The Curve Group’s recent survey of 50 leading companies, a staggering 89% currently have a recruitment freeze, while nearly 75% require skilled resources for short periods of time and are turning to contractors to fill the gaps. This is an industry that provides a valuable service to our economy; it is therefore imperative that organisations have a solid understanding of the agencies that they engage with.

While organisations are becoming sophisticated in their use of agencies, here’s a check-list of some of the things to look for:

1. Check For Transparent Costs

Do they operate an open book policy relating to contractor rates and the fees they charge? By operating in an open way, both the agency and the client have joint responsibility for ensuring that the rates paid to contractors are fair and in line with current market rates. Negotiating a reasonable margin with your agency will also ensure that your requirements are a high priority and provide you with a level of confidence that they have your organisation’s best interests at heart.

Also verify with the agency how they remunerate their recruiters; does the model used encourage them to provide the best candidates, or simply make a placement for personal gain?

2. Provide The Right Job Description

Ensure that you provide the same level of detail in your job description for a contract role as you would when hiring permanent staff. People often spend less time and effort on a ‘temporary’ role, but by treating them with equal importance you will save both time and money by reducing the number of inappropriate or unqualified candidates.

3. Let Your Agency In

Often, due to past bad experiences, HR departments are reluctant to ‘let their agency in’. By allowing agency representatives access to the hiring managers, they gain a much better grasp of what is required in a particular role which again will save time and money in the recruitment process. Longer term, this closer contact gives the agency a greater understanding of the wider organisation, and the client gains a higher level of trust in the agency.

4. Build Trust With Your Recruiter

In the era of social media recruitment, HR departments face a number of recruitment risks, with increasing numbers of candidates fabricating and exaggerating their CVs in order to stand out in a competitive market. You need to feel confident that your agency representatives really have the experience and knowledge to screen CVs and flush out any discrepancies. Meeting with your recruiter is essential to ensure that they not only understand your role, but have the levels of experience required to provide the best candidates.

5. Verify Agency/Contractor Relations

Do you really know how your agency deals with contractors? Often organisations are so far removed from the day-to-day activities undertaken on their behalf, they do not realise what might be happening at the contractor end of the supply chain. A good agency will treat its contractors fairly and keep in contact with them during the contract to ensure they are happy and therefore productive.

6. Ensure Your Agency Communicates and Screens Effectively

A common complaint is that contractors often leave before the end of an assignment. Does your agency take all possible steps to avoid this? They should ensure that they have as much information as possible from you about a role, communicate all aspects of the role to the contractor prior to acceptance and, as with the previous point, maintain regular contact with the contractor throughout the assignment to nip any problems in the bud.

7. Check Your Agency’s Legislative Knowledge

Ensure that your agency has a full understanding of the constantly changing legislation impacting the use of contractors. With the recent introduction of AWR and in April 2012, the changes to Tier 1 VISA regulations, this area of the employment market is increasingly regulated and a changing landscape. Your agency has a responsibility to inform you of any changes to ensure that you and they stay on the right side of the law.

Let’s Make It Better

In our survey, 78% of respondents said that their contractor recruitment agency did not take time to understand their needs as a business, 50% said they were sent unqualified CVs with no quality checking of candidates, and nearly 25% simply rated the experience as ‘dreadful’.

There is a better way. By working in partnership, agencies and organisations can vastly improve the contractor recruitment process and make it work in order to survive – and even thrive – in the current economy.

A high-flyer in the world of Financial Services, Lyndsey spent eleven years undertaking a number of global leadership positions in the Banking and Insurance sectors before coming on board as a co-owner in The Curve Group, an HR Services company, in 2007. Eight of those years were with Barclays, where her experience covered senior roles in sales, strategy, M&A and proposition development across Barclays’ Retail, Wealth, Commercial and Corporate Banking divisions.

Lyndsey sits on the Board across all four businesses that make up The Curve Group – Curve Search, Curve Outplacement, Curve Recruiting and Curve Outsourcing. She has recently appeared as a contributor on Executive TV which is broadcast on Sky and has spoken at many internal company conferences and seminars.

Sign Up to our Newsletter

So you enjoy The NextWomen. Why not sign up to our monthly newsletter?
You get a Letter from the CEO :-), the chance to catch up with the best of our recent articles - and some extra things we throw in once in a while.

We try hard for smart reading.