Contractors are more in demand than ever before. More and more companies are recruiting agile roles into their teams to bring specialist skill sets. According to LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting report, demand for contingent workers is rising as a direct result of businesses looking to reduce permanent workforce costs and increase their ability to flex headcounts as required.
The number of contractor jobs increased by 26% between May – Nov 2022 vs the same period in 2021, whereas full-time roles only grew by 6%. Contractors, temporary workers, consultants and freelancers make up 20-25% of the UK’s workforce.
If you’re looking to recruit contractors, what do you need to know before you begin? Firstly, contractors are not permanent employees and the hiring process is very different. We explain more below.
Step one in finding the perfect contractor is knowing where to look. You may turn to your network of contacts to see if anyone can recommend anyone. Perhaps you could put a job advertisement out on a specialist contractor job board and/or LinkedIn.
That being said, sourcing contractors can be tedious and time-consuming. You may want to turn to a recruitment agency to help speed up the process and access the talent you need. Contractor recruiters will have numerous people on their books who may well have the skills and experience that you’re looking for. They may have also placed them within roles in the past so will have a good understanding of whether they will be a good fit for you.
Ensure that you find a recruitment agency that specialises in or has experience recruiting into your industry. By using an agency that knows your sector, you are likely to have access to a stream of high-quality specialist contractors much faster than trying to find them yourself.
When you come to assess a contractor’s CV, you may notice that it is a little different to one that you might receive from a permanent employee. You will need to adopt a different approach. A contractor’s CV will usually include a few select projects and skills that are relevant to the role, rather than an extensive look at their career history.
That being said, you should still be on the lookout for CVs that include more short projects and a lack of long-term contracts. Even though you are not recruiting on a permanent basis, it’s still a good idea to find a contractor with staying power. Otherwise, you may run the risk of hiring someone who has not had success in previous posts.
If you’re working with a recruitment agency to fill your contractor role, you can leave the initial assessment of CVs to them so that they can identify the best ones for you to review. Let’s face it – reading through large volumes of CVs can require a significant investment of time, which you may not be able to spare. Leaving it to an expert means each CV can be given the time and attention it needs and you only need to review the top candidates!
Again, interviewing contractors will probably look a little different to interviewing for a permanent position. When interviewing for a permanent position, one of your priorities may be finding the right cultural fit for the business. This may not be as important in this instance, with a focus more on skill set and experience. However, finding a contractor with the right attitude is important and of course, they will still need to fit into your team relatively well for the period of time that they are employed by you.
If you’re working with a contractor recruitment & management agency, they may conduct the first round of interviews themselves and collate notes around rates, experience and any other valuable information for you to review alongside the CVs, if that’s the approach that you’d prefer. Their aim is to make the process as focused and time-efficient for you as possible.
You may also want to vet your prospective contractor and conduct a background check on them. Again, this is something that a contractor recruitment & management agency can help with. If you have worked with them already to source a contractor, it’s likely that they will already have many of their details and past background checks on file so this should be a speedy process. Vetting contractors is important to check for the relevant insurance and so that correct IR35 status determinations can be made. Check out our employer’s guide to IR35 rules in the private sector to find out more.
So, you’ve settled on your chosen contractor. Now what? Again, this part of the process works a little differently when recruiting contractors. There may be a conversation to be had around rates. Knowing how much you should be paying your contractor can be tricky if you’re not utilising the support and guidance of a recruitment agency.
Without knowledge of the market rates, you may need to do a little research to determine what rate is fair. Check job adverts for vacancies similar to the position that you’re offering to help you gauge the current market rates. Perhaps look at freelancer websites to see if they have included rates on their websites that you can use as a guideline. Again, if you’re using a recruitment agency, they would be able to guide you on fair market rates. They will probably advise you on what to offer as a day rate depending upon experience.
Once a rate has been agreed, contracts are sent out to be signed. It’s important to note that in law, once an agreement has been reached then a contract is already in place, whether or not it has been signed. It’s also important to confirm the IR35 status determination at this point in writing so that all parties agree on the working practices which need to be adhered to in order to comply with the status granted and adhere to tax laws.
Just as you would with a permanent employee, contractors should be onboarded correctly at the start of their recruitment. Just because they may not be a permanent fixture of your team, it certainly doesn’t mean that this process is any less important. An effective onboarding process means your contractor can make progress quickly and start providing results for your business.
This process won’t differ too much from usual but there may be an emphasis on getting stuck into the work or project at hand quicker than you would with a permanent employee. At The Curve Group, we can onboard your contractor/s for you, whether it was our agency that placed them with you or not.
As part of our contractor management services, we bring your entire contractor book across onto consistent terms and conditions. We ensure robust and accurate compliance checks are completed for all. This can be delivered as a stand-alone service as and when you need it or on a project or long-term outsourcing basis.
Once your contractors are on board and ready to start work, you’ll need to ensure they are tracking their inputs and submitting timesheets and invoices as per your mutually agreed payment schedule.
As part of The Curve Group’s complete contractor management service, we collate and check monthly timesheets and invoices from your entire contractor population, prior to submitting a single consolidated monthly utilisation report and invoice to you for approval and sign-off for payment. This way, you have complete visibility and control of contractor utilisation and spend but without the administrative headache.
Working with contractors can be incredibly beneficial for your business. However, it doesn’t come without its risks. From legal to financial issues, it can be a tricky space to navigate. At The Curve Group, we can manage your contractor workforce effectively and efficiently – from recruitment and beyond. No matter the level of service you require, our contractor recruitment & management services can support your business, save you money and ensure you remain 100% compliant.
Get in touch with us today to find out more. Call 01295 811 486 or drop us an email on [email protected] and let’s start a conversation.