Challenging Perceptions Towards Contractors

Contractors - a deep talent pool rich with expertise, knowledge and skills capable of 'hitting the ground running' and delivering end-to-end project management. So, why aren't they getting snapped up?

I recently spoke with Jane Doe; an experienced Procurement Professional with experience that she’s gained across a range of sectors. She thrives on working in collaboration with others, is skilled at developing relationships with stakeholders and has the ability to hit the ground running and make an impact whenever she takes on a fresh challenge.

Despite being the proud owner of a range of skills and experience that most CPO’s would dream of hiring into their teams, she has recently faced numerous challenges in securing a permanent role, simply because for the past ten years she has been a professional contractor, taking on interim projects rather than committing to permanent opportunities.

One of the key barriers Jane has encountered involves the antipathy of recruiters when it comes to her CV. While displaying an outward illusion of open mindedness, their tendency to dismiss her candidacy because of a lack of permanent work history seems to have been almost 100% unanimous.

As a professional recruiter of procurement talent, I feel compelled to speak out about this – firstly because I sympathise with Jane and understand how frustrating it must be for a skilled professional in her situation to be faced with this kind of close minded response, but secondly – I wanted to respond from a recruiters’ perspective, to try and shed some light on why our industry puts up these kind of barriers to contractors before open conversations have even been held.

Let me start by explaining that any recruiter worth their salt will recognise the value of a genuine contractor when it comes to an interim or temporary opportunity, for a multitude of reasons:

  • They have the ability to work on numerous projects across different industries
  • They can work efficiently to tight deadlines
  • They work with the expectation of a quick ROI
  • With little to no guidance required, they will hit the ground running

These talented individuals have chosen contract work specifically because they don’t want the long-term commitment of a permanent role, preferring instead to do what they do best, jump in, bring everything together and move on to the next challenge.

Whist this is certainly true of many contractors, there are also those who appreciate and enjoy the challenges of both temporary and permanent work. Many are ambitious and insightful and, having proved themselves in permanent employment, recognise that they can broaden their skills and capabilities by taking on interim and temporary opportunities. Others may have worked extensively on short term projects and reached a point where they want to see past the delivery stage of their work. These individuals (like Jane) are often particularly skilled in relationship building and stakeholder management and desire an opportunity to see the relationships they have nurtured develop over a longer period of time.

By resisting contractors and interim solutions, you could be missing out on some highly talented people – not to mention further restricting the talent pool.

My advice to Jane, and any other contractors in this situation, is to find professional recruiters with good reputations (like us!) who understand the value of an open and honest conversation. Here at Procurement Heads, we show commitment to seeking out the right kind of career opportunities and we have the credibility to influence senior decision makers, opening doors to roles that would otherwise remain inaccessible on behalf of those they represent

To be a contractor requires a specific calibre of person, one that we are very proud to represent, and confident to recommend to our well-established client base. You can find out all about our interim offering here.



Sophie Cook