v. Agency basics for IT contractors – Relations

The Contractor-Agency relationship

The relationship between contractor and recruiter is without doubt a symbiotic one as both parties benefit from placing contractors and helping them stay in those roles.

From the recruiter's perspective, this means we have to do as much as possible from our side to help contractors find a placement, whether that involves ensuring they get put forward for the best opportunities available to providing training wherever possible or necessary. For their part, contractors have to show commitment to making themselves attractive to employers both during the interview process and after they have been placed.

Just as recruiters strive to be flexible and professional throughout the placement process, contractors that show the same level of adaptability and professionalism [throughout] can enjoy very productive relationships with the agencies they work with.

Ultimately though, the most important tip for contractors who want to work with agencies is to remember to communicate and be open with their recruiters. We have a common goal and only by working together can we achieve it.

Meanwhile, contractors on the books of an agency on a Preferred Suppliers List can benefit from the consistent level of communication and closer relationships that being on a PSL offers the agency.

Comment provided by Nick Dettmar, managing director of Computer People

Contractor-Agency relations in a downturn

When there are fewer roles available the onus is on the contractor to ensure they are in regular contact with agencies, they should ensure they have a strong, well-written and concise CV. Ideally they should try to meet the agencies as much as possible and be able to demonstrate what they can and can't do. In a tighter market it is important to have some flexibility on the role and realistic expectations on rates requested. Meanwhile, interviews should be well-prepared for in terms of knowledge of the organisation but also strong self-awareness to be able to demonstrate relevant experience.

If, as an IT contractor, you have a particular industry focus it is better to limit the number of agencies you are dealing with. If you choose agencies which have a specialism and a wide portfolio of clients you can agree to work with them on all opportunities within an agreed list of clients, so the benefit to both parties is mutual.

Comment provided by Paul Elworthy, director of financial services IT recruitment at Hudson