As a specialist recruiter in the Information Management and Analytics industry I come across plenty of contractors, and I have recruited my fair share of contract positions. While my contractors have been fortunate enough to work for professional companies, others are not so lucky.
There are plenty of companies wanting to hire contractors for certain projects but how can spot a good contract from a bad one?
The biggest warning sign for any contractor, or permanent member of staff for that matter, is a vague contract – or even no contract. When reviewing the contract make sure it has specific details about your daily pay rate, including how and when you will get paid, notice period and contract length. If something doesn’t seem right to you, or you don’t understand anything don’t be afraid to question it. I have heard stories in the past of contractors being given 6 week notice periods, and when questioned they were able to drop it back down to 2 weeks. The company willing to discuss and potentially change the contract to suit your needs can be a better sign than if they don’t.
The recruitment process can also be a warning sign to many contractors, especially when not working with recruitment agencies and going directly to the company. If the process seems very quick and the company appears over eager to get you to start, this may be because they have had a contractor leave mid-project. It may be good to investigate and look into why they need you so quickly and what are the reasons other contractors have left. Making sure you understand fully what they want from you and why they need you is essential. On the other hand it may also be a warning sign if the process is extremely long and they are making you jump through hoops to secure the job.
My final piece of advice would be to research the company before accepting any contract. By using sites like Glassdoor you can see current and past employee’s experiences at the company, you might also be able to tell if they have recruited contractors before, and therefore know the process. Looking at a company’s reputation is great way to see if they are credible or not.
While there are plenty of pros and cons to being a contractor, being able to spot the warning signs can be the difference between a good and a bad contract.
Have you ever turned down a bad contract? What were the warning signs? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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