Q I understand a lot of HR vacancies at present are contract-based – what advice do you have for people before embarking on a career as a contractor?
A. A career as a contractor can be exciting. But, more than this, the
variety of assignments and organisations also adds skills and experience
to your CV. Employers are now confident in the skills available to them at
short notice. So if you are considering contract work, we suggest you
consider the following:
Representation: Contact a recruiting expert who understands the
intricacies of your industry and who can represent you to potential
employers so you access the best of the temporary assignments available.
Communicate availability: Keep your recruitment consultant
informed about your availability – we assume you are available for
assignments until you tell us otherwise! It does not look professional for
you or us if we endorse you for an employer’s temporary assignment only
to discover you cannot complete it.
Update your skills: Your best selling point as a temp is your skills
base, so make sure your skills continue to develop. Remember to tell your
consultant when they do, so you are considered for a wider range of
assignments and represented to your true potential!
First impressions: As with a job interview, arrive at least ten minutes
early on the first day of your assignment. Walk tall and offer a smile and a
firm handshake when being introduced. Look professional, act
professionally and dress professionally.
Preparation: Before an assignment commences, find out who you are
to report to, the tasks you’re likely to undertake and research the
organisation concerned by visiting their website.
Professionalism: When on assignment, a high degree of
professionalism is expected. You need to respect the policies, procedures
and culture of the company at which you are working. The expectations
of temporaries and contractors are often higher than those of your full-
Ask questions if necessary: Temporary workers are hired for their
experience and skills, but you are allowed to ask questions if you are not
certain about a particular task.
Etiquette: Unlike some permanent roles, it’s not acceptable to leave
your mobile phone on or use the work telephone for any personal
communications. Similarly, do not use your work time to get to know your
new work colleagues.
Market yourself: Once you are in an assignment, you are in the
best position to market yourself within that company. Don’t be
afraid to look for further opportunities – ask if there are any other
areas or departments in which your skills might be needed. Let your
face be seen.
Assignment extension: Most temporary assignments have a finish
date, but these can often be extended. Keep your consultant posted of
these changes so they can make sure everyone is happy. Sometimes
plans change, on both sides, and if a consultant knows in advance they
can help to minimise any inconvenience.
Emma Egan, manager of Hays Human Resources 02 8226 9797. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.hays.com.au