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Employment Tips

How To Hire a Candidate On Contract Basis
By:Tali Nizic

Your search for a professional on contract/project is very different than your search for the full-time employee. Throughout the many years of my recruiting experience, I have collected feedback from employers and candidates alike. Fact: You will hire the candidate primarily because of their personality, chemistry and fit with the rest of the team and the organization. Hand the search over to a reputable staffing agency specializing in the placement of Accounting and Finance Professionals on contract and project basis. Once the agency presented you with the finalists, it is the interview that gives you the opportunity to watch the candidate present themselves at their best. It is the candidate's opportunity to make a positive impression on you. You will be looking to hire the candidate, which is able to "hit the ground running, and handle the task at hand while you continue with your work.

Some of the reasons to hire someone on a contract basis: Your controller resigned, and year-end is around the corner. Your accounting manager will be going off on a maternity leave. It has been decided that it is time to upgrade the accounting software. There is a special project to get done within a tight deadline. And other circumstances, which do not require hiring a candidate on a full time basis. This is when you will hand the search over to a reputable staffing agency. One, which will do the leg work for you while you continue with your busy daily schedule.

The Process:

Invest an hour of your time and meet with the Search Consultant. It is important to understand your environment the personalities, which the candidate will be working for and with, and the skill set required to accomplish the task at hand. This one-hour of your valuable time will ensure that you will end up with the right candidate.

As you are looking for an individual that is able to "hit the ground running", independent and does not require a lot of support, do not shy away from an over qualified candidate. The information was shared with the candidate and they are o.k. with the task at hand. Experience has taught us that the end result is a win/win situation.

Unlike the search for a full time candidate where the emphasis in the final decision making rests with the longer term contributions of the candidate and how it fits with the organizational vision and structure. The candidate may not be 100% skill developed as of yet, however they have the potential to grow and develop within the organization. Hiring a candidate on a contract basis is of a totally different mind set. It is important that the candidate be able to "hit the ground running", have the right chemistry for the team and be able to perform the task at hand to your fullest satisfaction.

To attract the right candidate, know your specific needs. Write down the roles and responsibilities of the position, so that when the Placement Consultant speaks with the candidate they will be able to screen themselves in or out. Make sure you know how the position fits into the organization, what skills, education and personality requirements are of the successful candidate.

Know what your budget is. Decide whether you would like a fully designated candidate or whether a candidate working toward a designation, or one which has reached a certain level and gained hands on experience will be able to do the job just as well. These factors will determine your budget as well. Ask yourself: Are you getting the most suitable candidate for the task at hand? Does the level of remuneration match the candidate's previous work history? More importantly: Are you getting full value?

We found that the candidate's commitment to the duration of the contract is of outmost importance. You want to ensure that the candidate you are hiring through the agency is 100% committed to the assignment, will not leave in the middle for a better opportunity. At the same time the candidate seeks a commitment from you as well. It must be clear for both parties that there is a start date and an end date. Extension of the contract is an option. During the interview, ask the candidates: " Are you looking for full time employment?" " What would you do in the event that one of these positions comes through for you during the course of the contract"? When committing to a contract term, do not make it too short. The candidate will be planning for their next position well in advance. As soon as you know that you will need the candidate for a longer term than initially agreed upon, let them know and work out the extension details.

A successful interview is one, which is planned and prepared for. Keep the interview itself to no more than an hour long. It is important to assess the candidate's soft skills as well as potential fit within the organizational culture. Take notes during the interview. It will assist you in your final selection.

Prior to making your final selection, discuss the business references obtained by the staffing agency you are working with. It is good practice to have obtained a minimum of 3 business references consisting of: direct supervisor, subordinate or external auditor.

When working with a staffing agency, the candidate becomes an employee of the agency. As such, the hourly rate to you is an all-inclusive rate. It is the agency's responsibility to withhold all statutory deductions, or any other wage related costs.

Always believe in yourself and trust the process! We wish you best of luck in your search for qualified human resources! Copyright 2001 Controllers On Call. All Rights Reserved.

Tali Nizic

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