6 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR COMMTRACTOR IN 2019
By Sarah Morton, an SEO copywriter and content strategist based in Sydney who helps teams plan, create and manage their content.
Hiring a contractor is a great way to get some quick wins on the board, but doing it well takes careful thought and planning. I’m no HR expert, but after nine years of contracting for a range of organisations, I’ve found there are a few things that make all the difference when it comes to finding the right contractor and getting the best results.
Develop a solid brief A successful project starts with a good brief. If the description of your project doesn’t reflect the kind of work you need, or you come across as vague and uncertain, contractors may hesitate to apply for the role. Think carefully about what you want to achieve in the time you have and spend time writing (and rewriting) the brief so it attracts the best possible person for the job.
Be ready to go Once your contractor starts, make sure they have all the information they need on day one, so you’re not paying them to sit around while you get organised. This includes a general induction to the organisation and any background information they may need to understand the context of their role. Document what needs to be delivered by when, so the contractor is clear about their responsibilities.
Understand market rates It’s worth taking the time to understand the market rate for the type of communications professional you’re looking for, and their level of experience. Day rates and hourly rates suit different types of projects, so think about what kind of work hours are required and whether it’s something with a defined scope (like a blog post) or part of a bigger project (like a communications strategy).
Set clear boundaries Contractors are running their own business and often work with a number of clients at the same time. If you treat them like employees or try to negotiate around the contract, you could end up with legal exposure. So set clear expectations at the start of the project — even with small things like which meetings they are expected to attend. It will avoid any confusion and problems down the track.
Prepare a realistic time frame One of the most common frustrations among contractors are the unrealistic time frames applied to work delivered by external contractors. Try to look at what is happening during the year and plan ahead, so you’re not hiring someone in a rush and panicking about deadlines. This also gives the contractor plenty of time to understand your business and deliver the work to a high standard.
Maintain strong communication It can be tempting to throw your project at the contractor and get back to work, but it won’t lead to the best outcome. Try to check-in regularly and see if the contractor has any questions, needs additional support or has recommendations for your team. This will give you a good understanding about how they work, their progress and any risks you need to manage along the way.