In the last few weeks I have had a spike in inquiries for flexible contractors which has highlighted to me that there seems to be a general knowledge gap around hiring contractors and specifically the benefits of working with Barrington James when doing so.

Contractors and the subsequent contracts come in all different varieties; from full time, yearlong contracts where the Contractor has, essentially, a full time job but won’t sit under the Client’s headcount. This is the most common type of contracting in more general terms and fits larger organisations due to their headcount and budget restrictions. However for smaller organisations with either lower budgets or less work to occupy someone full time there is another option, which is often overlooked, being a part time or ‘as needed’ Contractor.

The ‘as needed’ Contractor will be there to fill in, consult and work flexibly. This can be from 2 hours one week to 40 the next and is a service we have seen a huge amount of interest in and was something that Hiring Managers simply did not know was available. However employing someone completely adhoc does have its challenges, which I explore further below along with some ways to minimise the impact.

Commitment, like any relationship commitment is a big deal. With Contractors this is no different, generally the more you can commit to a Contractor the better. Whether it be committing to a yearlong contract instead of 6 months or committing to average or baseline hours per month. These all go a long way to ensuring that there is a two-way commitment between the Contractor and the Client, and more often than not reducing the overall cost to the client.

Onsite, this is something not everyone likes to hear. The overwhelming majority of Contractors I speak to, prefer to work remotely. However most are very flexible in circumstances where they need to be onsite for a particular reason. This is solved with communication and discussing the practicalities of the work at interview stage (or even before) and hashing out the problems ahead of the start date. In the long run, this is better both parties and prevents potentially coming to loggerheads further down the line during the project.

However, sometimes onsite is essential and is needed from the outset, this can make things more difficult at the start of the process as it reduces your talent pool before you’ve even set experience requirements, but there are ways of minimising this issue. When speaking with a client and receiving a job description, the next thing I determine are the three things someone who can be onsite needs for the Client to be interested. This allows me to focus the search and broaden the scope of potential candidates that may not have been presented, simply by just going off the job description. Another way of expanding the talent pool from local talent is finding out the longer term plans for the project. Offering a longer contract can result in Contractors who are prepared to relocate for the position being available to you, again this is not something that comes to mind when discussing contracting. However, in the US particularly, there is a wealth of highly mobile Contractors available.

Cost, the dreaded ‘C’ word. ‘What’s this costing me per hour?’ There is no doubt a Contractor is normally paid more than the equivalent of the permanent annual salary, however when you dissect this, it’s actually less costly than it seems. Contractors require no benefits or employee contributions on top of their hourly rate (circa 20% on a permanent employee). Also you must keep in mind that you are paying for the flexibility of having a Contractor. Overall, it is still be cheaper to employ a part time contractor than employ a permanent employee to do that work and have wasted capacity leftover.

With global pandemics becoming something to account for, the idea of flexible contractors to bulk up capacity when needed has never been more appealing. Drop me a message or give me a call to find out how at Contractor really can be an asset to your business.

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