Written by Adam Marsh
If you’re a contractor looking for a contract position, it’s a good idea to work through a reputable recruitment agency. A good agency will actively market your services and skills and, by tapping into their large client base, find you a suitable position more quickly.
Choosing an agency
In order to be taken on by an agency you should choose one that is currently offering a contract position that matches up with your skills and expertise. Check what terms the agency offers its contractors. Do they pay promptly? Have they taken the time to get to know you and your skills?
It’s a good idea to obtain full details of a contract before giving the agency permission to forward your CV to a client (remember they need your permission before submitting your details). Also, be careful not to allow agents to put you forward for a role for which you are not suited.
The contract with an agency
The contract drawn up between you and an agency, setting out the terms of the business relationship, is vital. Do not sign this until you’re comfortable with all the details. For tax purposes, having a sound contract in place is very important, and you may even feel the need to ask a professional to read through it before you sign.
As a contractor it’s important to have a CV that’s short and clearly focused, with a well-targeted profile. It should highlight your career history, all of your notable achievements and your strengths and skills. Try to tailor your list of skills and achievements to a client’s particular needs.
It’s important that you’re proactive during interviews with clients. Contract interviews differ from those for permanent work – they’re more like sales pitches. So be sure to sell yourself and your skills and achievements.
Most contract jobs are awarded after only one interview, so make sure that you fully understand the basis of the contract work on offer. At the end of the interview you need to walk away with the contract, so, much like a business sales pitch, don’t be afraid to ask for the contract work and seal the deal.
Negotiate a top rate
If an agency takes you on it means they believe in you and your skills and they also know that their clients will want to hire you. This being the case, you’re now in a strong position to negotiate a larger portion of the rate the client is paying the agency.
The amount the agency is paid can markedly affect your relationship with the client. If, for example, you are paid £25 per hour and the client is paying the agency £45 per hour and there’s a two-sided non-disclosure clause, the client may believe you are a £35 per hour freelancer. He will then come to a conclusion about the level of expertise he’s expecting from you and this could have an adverse effect on the relationship between you and your client during the contract period.
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