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How to Hire Contract & Interim Staff Successfully: 10 tips

There are many advantages to hiring contract, interim or temporary talent.

The difference is not just in the name, most businesses have different expectations of what these professionals should bring to a business. Contract or consultancy resource offers the opportunity to quickly hire someone with specialist skills, provide knowledge, experience and/or bolster existing resources in a particular department in the short term or drive change and generate long-term cost-savings. At the same time, this flexibility in hiring also protects core employees with the business.

If you’re looking for contract staff, it’s probably because you’re in a high-pressure situation where you need resource urgently and you require them to hit the ground running. Given market volatility and limited permanent employee availability, short-term contractor professionals provide the ideal opportunity to assess market shifts and future needs of the business. There are also tax advantages to be gained from hiring such Personal Service Company or ‘PSC’s / professionals.

Invariably, the experienced contract talent brings a new level of enthusiasm and energy into a business: they are there for the short term and both you and they can make the most of their input, without the need for extra training.

Hiring Contractors and hiring Permanent Employees are two completely different processes. Luckily, there are ten clear steps a business can take to hiring contract and interim professionals successfully. Here’s how to avoid the pitfalls of contractor hiring.

1. Create a Detailed Job Description or Statement of Works

You must be very clear on what you need when hiring external resources / contractors. What specific tasks will they be handling, and how long will the engagement be?

Your job description, or “Statement of Work,” will be the road map your contract or interim professionals follow. Include step-by-step descriptions of the work to be completed, the time and place, management, and reporting process, and a proposed hourly, daily or fixed rate. Set down all your expectations for the job in writing as clearly as possible to minimise confusion.

2. Start Small

If it’s your first-time hiring contractors or consultancies, don’t make the mistake of hiring a large group for a long project. Start with one or a few people for a short-term engagement. That way, you’ll be able to build trust and establish whether it’s a good fit for the business model.

3. Vet Carefully

A contractor may not be a permanent employee, but they will still be representing your company. Your brand is on the line. Request references from a previous line manager / end-client who both knows the work completed, and who has a certain amount of professional standing which gives the reference weight. If a contractor has done a good job and stayed on good terms with the end-client, there should be no issue requesting a reference. Incidentally, written references are not worth anything; no one knows if they are authentic or not. The client/customer should agree to provide either email or phone references when contacted by recruitment agencies or business directly.

Alternatively, just go through a trustworthy recruitment partner, which should handle this standard assessment process for you. That brings us to the next point:

4. Choose Reputable Intermediaries

Once you’re clear on your needs, you can save time, effort, and risk by hiring contract, consultancy, and interim professionals through a specialist recruitment partner. Make sure you choose one that has a good reputation, is a member of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) or APSCO and that they pre-screen all candidates, check insurance status as this will cut down your time to hire considerably and assure you of quality help quickly.

5. Do not Penny-Pinch

Do not always go with the cheapest rate. Human capital is an expensive resource so weigh the cost against experience, previous project delivery, recommendations, and other factors.

Remember the financial savings. You only pay for what you get. Hiring professionals on a contract, consultancy or interim basis can protect your bottom line as you only pay for the work undertaken. Without employee costs (holiday, sick pay, increased National Insurance, pension) or medical benefits, other performance rewards or company bonuses. In addition, you to pay as you go.

6. Make It Legal

When hiring contractors, make sure you have a legal contract outlining the project and compensation, and an NDA if your contractor is going to be privy to confidential information. Many companies have a standard contract for work undertaken inside or outside IR35. If you go through a recruitment agency or on-demand staffing platform, they will handle the contract and/or interim regulatory compliance for you.

7. Create an Inclusive Company Culture

From the contractor’s point of view, being the outsider in an established team or organisation can sometimes be daunting. Ensure you successfully ‘Onboard’ the individual and the employees support the contract or interim hire into the company organisation and culture. The organisation should be welcoming to contract professionals and not see them as a threat, it is a better experience for everyone and will boost your employer brand.

A fully integrated workplace creates a unique ecosystem that facilitates skills transfer and collaborations among permanent staff, contractors, consultancies, and freelancers. With enough interaction and integration, permanent staff can gain new knowledge and perspectives from their contracting colleagues, which would mitigate career stagnation as they could continue learning.

8. Communication with the Contractor

Maintaining regular communication is critical especially if the person / company is not regularly onsite. Regularly reviews of work completed or the outstanding items on the Statement of Works, measurement of deliverables all go to setting clear expectations and actions.

Ensure regular dialogue with your recruitment partner so all sides have clarity in messages. It allows everybody to understand the situation, status and ensure communication avoids confusion thus improving the experience.

9. Develop Long-Term Relationships

This may seem counterintuitive given that the whole idea of hiring contract workers is to engage workers on a temporary basis. But often a business will need contract/freelance workers on a recurring basis for similar projects. A contract professional that has proven themselves are valuable commodities.

10. Pay Contractors Promptly

No one likes to wait for their money. Dragging your feet in submitting payments to freelancers will not only discourage those contractors from working with you ever again, but it could also give your company a reputation of being difficult or unpleasant to work with

If the person is hired via a recruitment partner ensure that the supplier is supporting your contract professional via online timesheet portals, consistent and regular payments, and that the process is being handled professionally.

With over 35+ years of experience in knowledge-led recruitment, our mission is to help high-technology companies to build world-class teams. Redline is well-positioned to offer advice about future-proofing your contractor, interim, or consultancy resource.

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Laura Preston  on 01582 450054 or email


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