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Dreaming On PhoneA happy contractor helps make a happy client. But according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ recent survey of contractors, there is one thing that is making them decidedly unhappy: lack of communication.

In particular, the contractors surveyed felt that they did not know what to expect on their contract assignments and were uncertain how long they were going to last. With that in mind, here are four key conversations you may want to have with all of your contractors:

1. Before placing a contract candidate: This conversation has more to do with listening than talking. In addition to skills and experience, find out what their career goals are, why they want to work on contract, and what they are looking for in a contract assignment. By doing this, you will be more likely to place them in the right contract assignment.

2. Before the assignment starts: Be sure to provide the contractor with detailed instructions about the assignment, including when it will start, what the company culture is like, and exactly what will be expected of them, including what paperwork and tasks will need to be completed before they can start. Also, don’t assume that they understand how a contract assignment works.  Explain who their employer will be (either you as the recruiter or a contract staffing back-office), that they will be paid on a W-2 and what that means, and who they should contact for specific questions.

3. During the assignment: Touching base with contractors periodically during their assignments is a good way to head off small problems before they become big ones.  And it shows them that you care, which is one way to ensure a satisfied, loyal contractor. Plus, by talking to an active contractor you have placed with a client, you may hear about other contract positions the client has open and that you may be able to fill!

4. When the assignment is being extended or ending: Contract assignments are always changing.  A company may only plan to use a contractor for three months but end up keeping them for a year. Sometimes a contractor is promised temp-to-direct, but is left wondering when they will be converted.  The most important thing is to keep the contractor in the loop as much as you can regarding when the assignment will end or when they will go direct.  And if you do know an assignment is ending, ask if they are interested in taking more contract assignments. Having another assignment ready to go when their current one ends will go a long way toward keeping your contractors happy… and keeping your contract staffing income flowing!

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to these conversations. The point is that contractors want to hear from you. By making yourself available and communicating important information to them promptly, you will have happy contractors, and as a result, happy clients.

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