Five personality traits and qualities of a good contractor

In recent years, the working world has changed. But have the personality traits and qualities of its best contractors changed with it?

Contracting, setting the scene…

Well, the demand for these types of professionals -- freelancer contractors -- has increased due to organisations’ need for flexibility in their staffing. It’s increased so much that contractors now represent more than 15% of the current UK workforce.

There are several benefits to becoming a contractor, including autonomy, flexibility, and higher earning potential. But competition is fierce, depending on your field of work.

To succeed as a contractor, you’ll need to possess if not develop the following five personality traits and qualities which good contractors have in 2023, writes Luke Hollands, a manager at leading STEM recruitment specialist Matchtech.

Becoming a contractor can be daunting. While ability underpins your role, overall work ethic and characteristics can also play a vital role in success.

Throughout your contracting career, naturally, you will face challenges. How you navigate each obstacle can help to shape your future. Everybody is unique, but interestingly there are specific personality traits that can help drive you toward success.

1. Confidence and self-assured professionalism

When it comes to contracting, confidence in your own skillset is key.

But it only makes up 50% of your overall success. The other 50% comes down to your relationships.

Being self-employed, you are responsible for establishing and maintaining professional working relationships. Yet it’s confidence which will help you meet new people, communicate effectively, and demonstrate your value.

When embarking on new contracts, you may be responsible for negotiating rates, terms, and project details with a client. Again, confidence can help you assert your value and negotiate the terms and working conditions that suit you.

Being self-employed, naturally you may find yourself working on several projects across multiple industries. While that may seem daunting, confidence can help you adapt to your environment and hit the ground running.

Even more so than full-time employment, you‘ll likely encounter tight deadlines, scope changes, and project uncertainty. How you handle these situations can influence the outcome. But by remaining confident in your ability, you can tackle challenges with a positive mindset and a problem-solving attitude that will help you thrive.

Remember though, confidence is not arrogance. Confidence is a solid, realistic understanding of your strengths and presenting yourself in a professional manner.

2. Flexibility, adaptability, nimbleness

In an ever-changing work landscape, your adaptability as a contractor is more important than ever.

Every project is different and will therefore come with its own unique set of challenges. Flexibility will help you navigate each challenge with ease for a positive outcome.

You may also find that client-needs and expectations can vary, meaning you may be required to work across several locations, sometimes away from home at short notice. Flexibility will allow you to understand and accommodate your client’s needs to help bolster a stronger working relationship.

3. Personablility

In professional contracting, building relationships helps you to secure work. To build relationships with meaning, it is crucial to always maintain a personable demeanour.

Successful contractors demonstrate emotional intelligence, empathy, and interpersonal skills that helps them connect with people on a more personal level, which leads to higher quality relationships.

Often, you will be required to collaborate with different and sometimes large groups of people. Being personable helps you become a team player (even as a contractor), meaning you contribute positively to group dynamics while maintaining a friendly and approachable demeanour.

You may also have to work with clients from diverse backgrounds and cultures, so it’s important to remain respectful, culturally-aware and sensitive to different people from different situations.

If matters of conflict do arise, being personable should help you handle disagreements professionally, with empathy, to find a solution that will help to satisfy all parties.

4. Problem solver

In essence, being a problem-solver is a valuable and transferable skill that positively impacts your personal and professional life. It empowers you to tackle challenges head-on, adapt to changing circumstances, and contribute meaningfully to the task at hand.

Naturally, things don’t always work out the way we plan! A good contractor is dependable, remains calm, and can always think logically to identify a resolution for any given situation.

Problem-solvers evaluate the circumstances and any potential outcomes to make an informed decision. For personal development, being dependable is a highly valued skill in most industries, and it can help you gain recognition and respect from your peers, which ultimately can assist with career progression.

Problem-solving works in tandem with confidence and flexibility. Your confidence will assist you in analysing a situation rationally, while flexibility will help you adapt to the changing environment and provide guidance to others. This can help you foster strong and meaningful relationships with your peers. It’s not half-bad for your reputation either!

5. Honesty

Honesty is the foundation of trust and a moral compass to guide behaviour and interactions. A good contractor always acts with integrity and takes responsibility for their actions.

Deceptive behaviour breaks down trust and honesty, which as a contractor, could damage your reputation and tarnish those professional relationships you work hard to maintain.

Being truthful about your contributions, successes, and mistakes makes you accountable for the consequences, which helps to sustain your relationships and open doors to future opportunities.

Ultimately, being a contractor means you control your own success (and often, your own failure). Besides your ability and skillset within your field, your dedication, drive, and moral ethic, play a vital role in your path and the relationships you build on your professional journey.

Monday 21st Aug 2023
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Written by Luke Hollands

Luke Hollands has a passion for connecting top-tier talent with exceptional opportunities in the ever-evolving world of contracting. In his 12 years with Matchtech, Luke has become a trusted partner for both contractors seeking the perfect role and businesses searching for the right expertise. His expertise lies in matching skills and experience, while ensuring cultural fit between contractors and the companies they collaborate with.

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