Short-term Contractor Screening Criteria
By Mike Dobrev
Senior Technical Recruiter
When it comes to recruiting, the reality is that you don’t always want to bring on IT talent as direct hires. Sometimes you’re just looking for a short-term contractor to help you meet deadlines during a crunch period, provide specialized expertise for a project or cover for someone who is on leave. As full-service recruiters, Coyote Creek’s Contract Services division doesn’t just help with searches for direct hire or contract-to-hire positions. We can help you find a short-term contractor you need, too. Here is our Our Short-Term Contractor Screening Criteria.
It all starts with an accurate job description
The starting point for a successful search is a clear understanding of the job and job requirements. Oftentimes, though, clients ask us for help finding a short-term contractor, and then present us with an extremely vague job description. To ensure that the candidates we present are good matches for the job, we begin by filling in any blanks in this area.
As a firm that has been providing IT consulting services ourselves since 1998, we know what questions to ask to ensure we have a full understanding of the technical and business requirements of your IT staffing needs. If your job description is vague, we’ll clarify it with you.
- If you’re looking for a Windows Administrator, what specifically do you need? Does the Administrator need experience in Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, server side or some combination of the above? What level of expertise is necessary?
- If you want to hire a Network Engineer, does the contractor need to be proficient in BGP/OSPF, firewalls, routers/switches or security? What level of proficiency is needed?
- If you say you want a “full stack Developer,” what languages will they be working in?
Also important is the issue of pay. In today’s labor market, if your allotted budget is below the market rate for the job you will most likely have to compromise on something, such as skill level.
Once we understand what you need, we get to work finding it for you
Before we send a candidate your way to undergo your internal screening process, we will review a wide range of our short-term contractor screening criteria on your behalf. This includes:
- Technical qualifications and skills – A short-term contractor doesn’t have time to ramp up. To ensure the person you hire can hit the ground running and get the job done without a great deal of supervision or “hand holding,” our process includes an in-depth technical screen.
- Dependability – Because “dependability” is often not easy to assess by looking at a resume, this is something we watch for throughout the recruiting process. For example, after we send the initial email or leave the initial message, how long does it take for them to respond? When we schedule the first telephone interview or technical screen with one of our engineers, do they take the interview at the set time? After the candidate has an interview with you, do they circle back to provide feedback to us?In addition, we always encourage candidates to interview for multiple jobs. The dependability check here has to do with whether keep us in the loop regarding the status of those other opportunities as they progress, as we always request, or blindside us with the news that other offers are on the table.Closely related to dependability is “commitment.” If we present a short-term contractor that meets all of their personal criteria, are they committed to actually taking the job?
- Stability – Even for short-term contract positions we like to look for candidates whose resumes show stability. After all, even if you only have funding for a short-term contract now, there’s always the chance that you’ll want the option to hire the person for the long term once more funding becomes available.As part of the stability piece we’re looking for candidates whose resumes do not have a lot of unexplained (or poorly explained) gaps. If they haven’t worked for the past two years, why not? What have they been doing?
- Pay rate – Are the candidate’s expectations regarding pay rate realistic? Assuming the position’s compensation reflects standard market rates for the job description, will the candidate accept this? Conversely, when a highly skilled person states that they’re willing to take a job at below market rate, we want to know why. While there may be a good reason, this can also be a giant red flag.
- Ability to pass a criminal background check – Every one of our candidates must pass a criminal background check before they are hired for a contract position, including short-term contractors. While direct hires usually go through the client’s criminal background check process, for contract positions we take care of this.
Be prepared to respond quickly
At Coyote Creek we won’t present you with a candidate for a short-term contracting position until the candidate has passed our extensive Short-Term Contractor Screening Criteria. But once we do, you need to be prepared to respond quickly. As I explained in my previous article on “Fast Feedback Equals Successful Hire,” the best candidates are not likely to wait while you drag your feet on the hiring process. You must take action!
Need help recruiting a short-term contractor for your IT team? Give us a call. We’ll find the ideal candidates, rigorously screen them and then send them your way.