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5 steps to a successful IT contract

Posted by Dave Brown, EVP, Veredus, a Hays company on Friday, Sep 16, 2016

Hays IT blog: 5 tips for contracting successWhether you're still considering IT contracting, or are experienced in the area, making a good impression will help your career long term.

So what are the ingredients for success? From handshake to timesheets, we break down five ways to make your next contract a success.

1. Get the first day basics right
Being in the right place at the right time is obviously essential to making the right impression, as is knowing the dress code and being prepared for the office environment. This is also where using an experienced recruiter like Hays can be helpful. They can give you an ‘off the record’ overview of the client, which will help you develop a better understanding of the context behind the team, project, IT strategy etc.

2. Be visible
Even if you are working remotely, you need to work hard to integrate yourself into your new team.  You should try to spend your induction week(s) in the office so you can get to know people personally. After that you should still make the effort to come in to the office at least once a month to re-connect with people face-to-face. This could make the difference when the client decides whether to extend your contract or looks to you again for a future project.

3. Emotional intelligence matters
As our What Employers Want guide shows, employers are willing to pay more for the soft skills and emotional intelligence that mean a contractor can easily understand, communicate, and motivate a team. As a starting point, ask the right questions and listen to the answers so you can adapt your working approach accordingly. Ask simple questions like “where are you with your project at the moment?”, “where do you need help?” and “what will constitute a successful outcome of my work?” to open the communication channels and help both of you make the most of your time.

4. Always be documenting
When starting with a new client you need as much information as possible on processes, templates and databases. This may not be offered up automatically by your client but you’ll need to have it to do your job properly.  Every contractor should always have proper documentation of ‘what they did’ and ‘where they are now’ with their project. This means your client and new people joining the project will be able to work with what you’ve done after you’ve left.

Even if your client doesn’t mention documentation to you, still do it so you have it if needed - and in case of any issues later on.

5. Keep on top of your timesheet
“Who is going to sign?”, “how often?”, “what does the timesheet look like?”, “is it paper or online?” – These are all questions you should be asking about your timesheet. You should also find out if and when the person who’ll be signing your timesheet has vacation time and who will fill-in for them when they are away. Do not assume your client will already have a contingency plan in place.

A client should review all the points above, but they're not always that prepared. Be proactive in setting yourself up for success.

Get in touch with one of our local recruitment experts to find out how we can help.

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