What 'not' to do as an IT contractor

Before you're on-site

  • Don’t tell a recruiter you have not been presented to a role when you have already!
    If your CV arrives into a client from more than one source, it suggests that either you have been unprofessional or the consultant(s) have not done their job properly. The end result is the client gets frustrated and it has been known that a contractor is completely disregarded if they have engaged a number of consultants to represent them.
  • Ensure you know where the recruiters are sending your CV and that you have given them permission to send it!
    When on the rare occasion a rogue recruiter sends your CV without your knowledge, it is the recruiter that loses the reputation. Ensuring you do your best to know who has sent your CV where will help avoid your CV landing on the clients desk twice
  • Don’t believe all recruiters are the same!
    All recruiters are different. Some are generalists, some are specialist, some are trainees fresh from University and others have been in the industry for more years than they can remember.
    The service you receive can vary broadly between recruiters, remember the good ones as well as the poor ones, tell others about the good one and don't worry about the bad ones, they'll be gone soon.
  • Don’t bombard the same agency with your CV!
    Don't send your CV to everybody within the same agency - it lessens its importance. If it is not addressed to anyone in particular then the agency contacts will think someone else will deal with it
  • Make sure you are aware of how the agent operates!
    Familiarise yourself with your agency's timesheet, payment process and deadlines to avoid disappointment at the end of the month.
  • Be on the ball!
    Always prepare for the interview, research the organisation and give as much detail of your experience for the role as possible.
  • Be flexible with your 'one size fits all' CV!
    Contractors must be adaptable regarding tailoring their CV's to a specific job role to enhance the success rate of achieving interviews. Several versions of your CV should be to-hand.
  • Apply for jobs relevant to your experience!
    Only apply for jobs you can do - not the ones you want to do.
  • Keep your word!
    Let your 'yes' mean 'yes' and your 'no' mean 'no' - don't agree to an interview and then don't turn up as reputations are quickly built or destroyed.

You're now on-site - What NOT to do:

  • Ignore end client rules & regulations!
    Adhere to internal company policies relating to e-mail / phone / diversity as any infringement will result in immediate termination.
  • Forget you are a business!
    Keep a copy of your updated CV on a memory stick with you during work hours so you can respond to opportunities immediately. It is also advisable to check personal e-mail accounts during lunch if access is restricted through work hours. You may consider carrying a tie with you to avoid being under dressed for spontaneous interviews.
  • Tell the end client CIO the whole strategy is wrong for their business!
  • Act unprofessionally!
    Don’t talk about the amount you get paid to anyone at the end user site, use the end client’s site and resources to secure your next contract, clock watch on site or fake your hours!
  • Save up your timesheets for more than 4 weeks!
    This can cause a number of issues with both agencies and the end client. The end client receives a very large invoice; the agency has problems collecting the money. Whilst a reputable agency will honour a signed timesheet, some do have clauses that restrict the amount of time you have to present your invoice.
  • Dilute your core skills!

You're ready to quit - What NOT to do:

  • Don't honour the contract!
    Leaving a contract before the natural end is bad for your reputation, it also makes the client nervous about the future use of contractors. Remember, the reference you receive from your past assignments have a direct bearing on your future assignments and rates.
  • Convince end client's permanent staff to 'go' contracting!
  • Bad mouth the client!
    Contractors should avoid bad mouthing an organisation before leaving. Not only could this jeopardise chances of future employment at that organisation but the world of IT is smaller than you think and people talk.
  • Forget the taxman!
    A reputable recruitment agency would always recommend that candidates who are leaving always keep a copy of their contract as HM Revenue & Customs may ask for a copy at a later stage.

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