iii. Agency basics for IT contractors – Crisis Tactics

As the freelance technology market contracts and an increasing number of IT workers become available, contractors have started to adapt the way they approach clients, and have begun looking for projects to reflect changing circumstances.

So how did these contractors mould their working practices? Can contractors promote their IT skills if their market is in the doldrums, and how should they maximise ways to find a job in the recession via their agency?

Request opportunities beyond the usual

As budgets get tighter, increasingly employers are recruiting contractors to fill in specific roles or fulfil projects, where previously they might have wanted a full-time employee. As such, temporary projects and roles are coming up, and contractors willing to look beyond their usual range of job titles will find that interesting projects are becoming available.

Understand the perfect fit

In a tight market, employers are looking to source candidates with specific skills sets and the most relevant experience. As they get more picky, it's more important than ever to work with expert recruiters who will help you get the right job, where you'll be able to make a difference now and as the market recovers.

Say and show you can work flexibly

Now is the time to show flexibility in the hours you're prepared to work or willingness to take up a company's offer for fewer working days. Contractors who remain aloof to new working practices being implemented to save costs risk alienating company management.

Develop and promote your business knowledge

During this downturn, instead of looking externally, employers are often looking to benefit from staff who already understand the business. Try to develop the skills your company is looking for, as it will help you to secure your position by adding value and encouraging your employer to invest further in you.

Flexibility in reward

Show that you appreciate the market conditions that your client is experiencing and be more open to flexibility in reward. You could, for example, even offer your client some flexibility in your rates or salary, or suggest a lower day rate with a bonus for completion or loyalty.

Comment provided by Alan Rommel, managing director of Parity Resources , a business, IT and recruitment services firm, specialising in the public sector.