So, you’ve decided to use an IT contractor for your next project? That’s great news! If this is your first foray into the world of contracting, then you’ll soon discover the wide variety of benefits it has to offer: you’ll be hiring a highly-skilled professional to concentrate on a specific project, delivering big results, fast. You won’t have to pay them any benefits or worry about the general employee onboarding process, and the project will last for a finite amount of time—meaning there’s no long-term commitment for your company.
But now the big question: where will you find said contractor? Finding and hiring contractors can be a daunting process, particularly if you’ve not had to do it before.
In general, there are three main ways you can go about finding a tech contractor for your project: by word-of-mouth, with the help of an agency, or by advertising directly on jobs boards.
In the article below, we’ll talk through the pros and cons of each of these methods, and offer some actionable next steps to help you get your position filled in the right way for you, in no time at all.
The three main paths to finding an IT contractor for your project:
1. Tap into your personal and professional networks
As is so often the case in business, tapping into your personal and professional networks can be a great place to start when sourcing a contractor for your project.
Posting via your personal LinkedIn often delivers results, but it’s not the only way. Don’t forget to maximise the potential of any Slack channels, Whatsapp/Telegram communities, email networks, and investor contacts you have access to as well.
One of the main benefits of using this word-of-mouth approach is that it’s cheap; it costs nothing to send a few messages, meaning you’ve got nothing to lose.
The other advantage is that you’ll (usually) be put in touch with vetted applicants, already approved by people you know. You have a third party to ask any questions you may have about the contractor, and can rest assured that someone you trust has already had a positive experience working with them. Employing somebody that’s been recommended by a known colleague or friend is always reassuring, especially if it’s the first time you’ve hired a contractor.
However, it’s worth mentioning that there is a large degree of luck involved in the network approach, and you may find it difficult to reach people with the right specialisms. After all, one of the reasons that many companies choose to hire a contractor in the first place is because they require an experienced specialist in a specific language or software. So if you’re looking for a particularly niche skill set, there’s unfortunately no guarantee that your contacts will be able to refer you to someone who fits the bill.
Nevertheless, it’s always worth putting feelers out there—it’ll only cost you a few minutes, and you may well strike gold.
2. Use a recruitment agency
Many businesses choose to work with recruitment agencies to fill their contracts.
There’s a reason that this approach is popular. Going through an agency means that they’ll handle the whole process for you—from sourcing applicants to sorting admin and contracts. They’ll also be able to advise on IR35 compliance, which is particularly relevant given the new reforms due to come into effect in April 2021. Once they know what you’re looking for, you can just sit back and wait for the applications to come in.
Whilst this makes the process easier in many ways, recruiters do charge hefty fees in return. On average, recruiters charge 10-20% of a contractor’s day rate. Which, given that rates are often around £500/day, can equate to £50-£100 in daily fees—a sizeable sum. This can make the rate you’re offering much less competitive in the market, making your role less attractive to potential applicants.
On top of this, no one really knows exactly how much the agency is charging, making the whole negotiation process very opaque. Either the client, recruiter or contractor can adjust their price/budget, but it’s only the recruiter who knows all the numbers.
For full transparency, the very reason that wellpaid.io was built was to remedy the problems that recruiters cause within the contractor hiring process—for contractors and clients alike. Having been in the contracting industry for many years, founder Chris had grown tired of the lack of transparency he’d experience when agencies were involved, not least because it made it very difficult to establish and secure a fair rate.
If you do want to take the agency route, make sure you do your homework before you start, or choose one that comes recommended by someone you know. Poor agencies will often go for the “quantity over quality” approach, and you don’t want to find yourself inundated by unqualified CVs left, right and centre.
3. Post the position on jobs boards
The third approach is to advertise the position via jobs boards. This is generally a highly effective strategy, both results and cost-wise—giving you the best of both worlds. But you have to know which ones to use to get the best results.
There are a variety to choose from. You can use general jobs boards, of course, such as Indeed or Reed—the benefits of which are their high reach and ease-of-use. However, the quality of applicants can vary drastically, and it’s harder to find tech contractors with the specialisms you’re looking for.
However, it’s worth pointing out that many jobs boards are less tailored towards contracting roles in general—for instance, they don’t offer specific filters (e.g. for remote jobs or whether the position is inside/outside IR35) that may be useful for contractors looking to find the right fit.
For the most targeted and relevant audience, we have to modestly recommend ourselves—wellpaid.io is a network that's literally designed to connect hirers with experienced tech contractors.
The key benefits of finding a contractor via wellpaid.io are that it’s:
- significantly cheaper than using a recruiter,
- also cheaper than many other jobs boards,
- much more targeted than a general jobs board, and
- frequented by experienced contractors offering a wide range of sought-after expertise.
On the latter point, all wellpaid.io applicants are tech contractors, and users will even subscribe to job alerts for their specific skill sets—making it the most targeted approach you can take.
To post a job, you first need to sign up to wellpaid.io. Once you've done that, you'll be able to start posting jobs, search and reach out to contractors via our internal database, receive applications via the job board, and fill your vacancies in no time.
Find the method that suits your business
So there you have it—the three main ways of finding an IT contractor for your next project. Knowing the right one for your business will depend on a variety of factors, from the role you’re trying to fill to your budget. You can of course, adopt a combination approach, and use more than one of these methods to find your next hire. It’s often very effective, and as you hire more contractors, you’ll work out the best strategy for you.