Caution! Three watch outs that can sour your contracting experience
Posted on 31 March 2016
Contracting can be an incredible option to build and further a career – especially in a rapidly evolving landscape such as the technology paradigm. You truly control your destiny as you navigate from one contract assignment to the next. If you plan well and seek out the right opportunities, you can very quickly leverage and build an admirable resume based on exciting projects and leading edge technology stacks. But as you pursue this enviable experience, it can be easy to overlook some fundamentals that will lead to negative experiences. Here are three things to be wary of:
Not fully disclosing issues
It is extremely important that you fully disclose all relevant matters during the interview stage with an agency representing you to a client. Clients expect and demand a high level of due diligence is conducted as part of the sourcing process for contractors. These invariably include probity checks, resume checks and criminal checks through the Ministry of Justice. But, due to the immediacy that often accompanies the hire of contractors, sometimes contractors commence on site subject to these checks being completed.
There are situations when clients have removed contractors and cancelled contracts on the basis of the outcomes of such checks revealing information that contradicts what was originally supplied by the contractor. A simple strategy to mitigate this embarrassing situation is to ensure that you fully and accurately disclose any matters of possible concern. Armed with this information, we can discuss this with the client early on and front foot anything that may be an issue. Most people don’t like surprises!
The responsibility rests with you to ensure you are fully aware and able to deliver the outcomes that are being asked of you in the contracting opportunity. You must be confident that you have the required knowledge, capability and experience to successfully complete the outcomes to the client’s satisfaction.
Unfortunately, there have been instances where individuals have not fully understood the required outcomes or have over-sold themselves only to be found short. Although learning opportunities are available or can be negotiated, generally the expectation from clients for contractors is to successfully complete the required outcomes to the agreed level within the agreed timeframe. Any misalignment of outcomes versus contractor capabilities can quickly lead to contract terminations.
You can easily avoid these situations by ensuring self-awareness. Make sure that you fully understand what is required and then ensure you have the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the outcomes.
The rule here is to ‘believe it when you see it’. We advise that a signed contract between the client and yourself is mandatory before you proceed to resign from any existing assignments. In the excitement of interviewing and negotiating a new contract, we are sadly aware of too many individuals who have offered resignation notices for existing engagements – on assumptions that a contract will follow and only to be disappointed when has not unfolded in the way they expected.
Often the client interviewee may not have the necessary delegated authority to hire and may need sign-off from a senior manager. This sign-off may not be forthcoming because of changed circumstances – such as budgetary constraints or reprioritisations that the client interviewee may not be aware of at that time.
A simple strategy to follow here, resign after you sign.
While these three pieces of advice seem obvious and logical, sadly we know of too many examples when they haven’t been followed. Be a stickler for the process and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.
If this resonates and you want to discuss these further, reach out to us – we are here to help.