The Difference between Searching for a Permanent Role and Sourcing a Contract

Contractors and permies share some similarities when on the job hunt; both will search directly and use recruitment agencies, both will have an overview of themselves and their skills (CV for permies and a business profile for contractors) and both will likely need to attend an interview, or business meeting for contractors.

However, whereas a permanent role hunter might have to attend a number of interviews and complete candidate tests so their prospective employer can be certain that they will be up to the task, a contractor may not attend a business meeting at all or they will be hired after just one without any testing.

This might sound then like contractors win jobs pretty easily compared to their permanent counterparts, but the main reason why permanent employers will take more time and caution in their hiring decisions is in your rights after you have the job.

Permanent employees are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they are hired with mountains of employment law to get around, hence their permanency, whereas if a contractor is not up to the client’s expectations, they will simply be fired.

Another reason why contractors are hired more easily is that contract roles tend to come up after they are needed, whereas permanent employees are sought out before the gap is made. This is partly because permanent employees are generally subject to lengthy notice periods whereas contractors are not. The contract role therefore needs to be filled quickly so the client is unlikely to take a long time going through various meetings and tests especially when they can just fire you if you’re not up to scratch anyway.

With the quick hiring of contractors, the market can be fierce. Try these basic tips when sourcing a contract:

  1. Develop a great business profile and know your market rate
  2. Get your business profile on recruitment websites so recruiters and clients can find you
  3. Search using recruitment websites, internet searches, even social media
  4. Apply to the contracts you are interested in
  5. Follow up on all applications, don’t be afraid to contact recruiters a few times to get a response
  6. Don’t waste time on old adverts, apply to the newest ones first. Remember that contract roles are filled quickly so you want to be in fast. Search and apply regularly.

There is no exact science to getting a contract, it is largely about whether you applied for the right role at the right time and with the right competition. Get yourself noticed with a great business profile and be professional and persistent in your approach to optimise your efforts.


By:Jane Hailstone

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