As we’ve discussed before in this space, contractors can be a great fit for user-focused roles like UX design, technical writing, and e-Learning. For example, your company may be launching a new product that requires a level of UX design complexity that your staff isn’t equipped to deliver. Since this may be a one-time need for your product, you may want to consider bringing in a contractor temporarily to assist with the design.
Or perhaps you’re facing a deadline crunch to get a critical user manual written for your new software and your technical writing staff is swamped with other assignments. Bringing in a contractor who can hit the ground running and deliver your manual on deadline will help alleviate stress and provide your users with guidance and direction.
So how do you successfully hire contractors and ensure they are good fit organizationally and personally? Here are a few tips we’ve gleaned from years as recruiters.
Get the logistical details out of the way upfront.
Since contractors work for themselves, they rely on negotiation with various clients to ensure they get paid on time and produce their work on deadline. So it’s critical when hiring a contractor to ensure that all logistics of the project—from deadlines to milestones to payment schedules—are locked down upfront. This will avoid miscommunications and embarrassing or confusing dilemmas later on when the project gets more complicated and requires more hours than expected.
Many hiring managers assume that, unlike salaried employees, there isn’t a negotiation process when hiring a contractor. In fact, most quality contractors will make sure that payment, deadline, and expectations are fully discussed and explored before any work commences. If they don’t, find another contractor or initiate the conversation yourself. You’ll be glad that you did.
Discuss the scope of work—and then stick to it.
Once work commences on a project, it’s often too late to make major changes to the end product itself without having to go back to the drawing board or make costly changes that eat up time and budget. This is especially true when hiring a contractor, who will allot an agreed-upon portion of their time and effort to your project. If your project suddenly requires double the amount of work per week, there’s a risk that the contractor won’t be able to deliver on deadline.
So just as it’s imperative to discuss payment and deadlines before beginning work with a contractor, it’s also critical to discuss what you’re expecting from the project itself and if there is any potential for major changes during that process.
Don’t be afraid to communicate before, during, and after the project.
Just like salaried employees, contractors will do better work if you communicate fully and clearly with them about how the project is going. Are there particular areas they can improve upon or requirements that you need them to fill? While contractors are ultimately responsible for their own individual work, they can—and should—be responsive to client feedback.
It’s also helpful to keep contractors in the loop on major changes within your company so they can adapt their work accordingly. For example, if your company is rebranding and changing your logo, a UI designer may incorporate some of the logo’s color scheme into the user interface of your product.
Rely on a trusted partner for high-quality candidates.
It’s often tough to know where to turn for high-quality contractors. Should you hire a full-time freelancer or someone working part-time? What about experience or qualifications?
One of the easiest ways to find high-quality contractors is to work with a trusted partner who will select and vet candidates for your consideration. This is the role we play at Clear Point Consultants, although there are many qualified recruitment firms available to you. We are trained to select premiere candidates, assess and evaluate their qualifications, and introduce them to companies seeking temporary or longer-term contractor help. Let recruiters help you fill those critical roles so you can focus on growing your company.