Contractors: How to Work with a Recruitment Agency

There are a number of ways to work as a contractor, with the two most popular being to either work through an agency, or go direct with a client. Whilst it can be said that there are positive and negatives for both today we look at how you can maximize your earnings and increase opportunities by choosing to work with an agency.

Let the recruiter do the hard work
Do you know of another project that you would be interested in working on? Great, let your consultant know. A good recruiter will work to find their contractor a range of opportunities to interview for. By letting your consultant know of possibility projects you create a win-win situation for you both as the recruiter has the likelihood of placing you while you are proactively represented to the hiring manager for the opportunity.

Work together to sell yourself
There is no way you can include all the skills and experience you have gained over your career on a two page CV. Work with your recruiter to pull out the most relevant experience for the project you are discussing and let them help you incorporate it into your CV (or, better yet, discuss it with the client). While it may seem obvious to you, telling a recruiter that “it’s all in my CV” and not elaborating is a sure fire way to prevent your profile being taken further and missing valuable opportunities you had not thought about.

Be flexible
A good contractor knows exactly what they are worth in the market. They also know that they must be competitive with their day rate expectations in order to maximize the likelihood of securing a position. Work with your consultant to factor in the length of the contract, the location and the opportunity (experience, client, project, value add) as well as the daily rate. Remember, being flexible does not mean underselling yourself.

Listen to their interview advice
As a contractor, you will have had plenty of interviews, but even if you are the most seasoned interviewee, you should still listen to the advice of your consultant. They will have been speaking to the client and be a source of invaluable information about the project, hiring manager’s style, what the client is specifically looking for and even what type of questions the client has previously asked.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do…
The political climate in most countries mean that the issues of false self-employment is a prevalent theme within taxation and labour departments. As a result, it is imperative contractors respect local legislation and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance. Recruiters and clients alike are increasingly responsible for non-compliance of their contractors and so are unwilling to jeopardize their business by ignoring legislation.

You will often find that each country has their own opportunities to maximize retention without compromising local compliance. For example, in most European countries, accommodation cannot be provided as it is a taxable benefit; however some countries can offer expat tax breaks or opportunities to offset expenses. Your consultant will be a source of up-to-date information and be able to help you with your next move.

Don’t compare apples to oranges
It is important to remember that no two contracts are the same – receiving flights, accommodation and a tax free salary is the norm in much of the Middle East, but it is not something that clients in tax paying parts of the world can entertain. Your consultant will try their hardest to get you the best possible placement, but it is not always possible to match deals.

Whilst it is understandable that many contractors bemoan the role of a recruitment agent, if you can build a reputation with an ethical, hardworking consultant they will prove to be a positive asset for your career.

Posted by Simon Duff



Simon holds a BA in Advertising and Brand Management and has been with Leap29 since 2008. He is currently Contract Operations Manager and is responsible for Leap29's freelance team, providing a range of mobilization, payroll and recruitment services. Simon’s team operate in over 70 countries across the Oil and Gas, Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing industries.

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