NEW TO CONTRACTING? – FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
The biggest shift from a candidate perspective is the fact that ALL jobseekers now need to consider both perm AND temp/contract opportunities. PreCovid, there was a “Perm” candidate pool, who by default, only moved from one permanent position to another, and temp/contract pathway was never a consideration. Often this was regarded as lessor of the two, and even a career path hinderer (an uneducated view I should state).
The current state of play has turned this all on its head, what with many companies now revaluating their operating structures and positions, thus taking or soon to be the necessary steps to ensure their relevance and position in this new world that we find ourselves in. If you are in the unfortunate position of now being immediately available and needing employment, then now is not the time to be precious with regards to prioritising perm vs. temp/contract work.
If the whole temp/contract world is a bit of a concern or unknown to you, don’t worry. It is a different beast and you will need a revised strategy which an experienced recruiter can provide some support to you with. What and why contract – there are a myriad of reasons a company maybe hiring a short-term resource, but the common thread for all temp/contract assignments is, they need an immediate resource for a pre-defined piece of work or project for a set period of time.
So, the factors to consider when preparing for this market are:
- Mentally ready – it’s a shift from the permanent process, it’s a shift in the mindset of going in for the long haul. This needs you to be mentally prepared to go in a sell your skills and track record of delivery above all. They want a personable person yes, but the primary need is “what you can do, what you can bring to the project”.
- A Contract CV – get it focussed on all your significant skill set areas, especially with regards to special project work. Ensure all your “specific” projects and transferable skills are listed and clear. The clients need to be able to quickly determine what it is you bring to the table.
- Interview process – it’s not about your long-term career goals, it’s all about your CURRENT level of experience / skill set. The interviews are more specific around your skillset and not around who you are and what your career aspirations are. Note you may only have a 20 min phone or video interview to demonstrate this (not 1 hour face to face).
- Your availability – temp/contracts are often time-critical, usually requiring an immediate start or within a week, so be prepared to make a commitment on a start date at the close of an interview
- The assignment – usually these are delivery focussed, so you will be expected to make an immediate impact and deliver the assignment / project within budget and within the time allocated. The work will be fast and with purpose.
- Be flexibility – Above all flexibility is key, the rate maybe 15% below what you would like, you may have to work in multiple locations (two sites, home etc) the duration may extend or finish up slightly sooner. Post your contract you want a glowing reference for your next opportunity – temp or perm.
The take-away from all of this temp/contract work allows you to explore immediate work while being able pick up new skills / experience across different systems, new work processes, enhance your skill base and gain exposure to new sectors and learn from others.
If you are new to the contacting world it can be quite rewarding, as it allows you to work and play with more flexibility, plus it is a great way to experience a particular business or work environment that may even present a permanent opportunity down the track; what we term as “try before you buy” in the industry.