Recruitment: Can experienced contractors be a better option than PAYG employees?

Beef Central, 15/04/2016

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THE advantages for businesses utilising experienced candidates who choose to work as contractors rather than traditional PAYG employees is undervalued within the agribusiness sector, according to Ryan Hoiberg from Rimfire Personnel.

The farming sector, particularly family-scale businesses, value harnessing the skills and knowledge from earlier generations, and the same can occur when sourcing a candidate solution, by utilising an available ‘talent pool’ that at times isn’t appreciated or utilised: the experienced ‘over-qualified’ candidate.

Mr Hoiberg has seen this first-hand through his experience in contracting recruitment and believes there is an opportunity being missed with experienced candidates and what they can offer agri-businesses.

“Candidates are sometimes advised when applying for a role, or being told they have been unsuccessful, that they are ‘overqualified’ for the position. This is a phrase many business managers may have heard or perhaps even expressed to candidates themselves,” he said.

This response does not take into account the candidate’s current situation or specific place in their career. It may simply be an assumption associated when reading a CV in search of the ‘perfect’ profile and candidate for the business, and despite the potential commercial opportunity an experienced candidate operating as a contractor may present.

With businesses looking to introduce a more adaptive, flexible and diverse workforce to suit changing market conditions, taking advantage of experienced talent through contractors for short term projects is potentially an excellent answer to match labour skills with business conditions or required workflow.

Experienced candidates often come with a wealth of knowledge, are often comfortable dealing with customers in varied situations, and have experienced situations which enable them to relay their knowledge into a business from day-one.

They are also often experienced in handling difficult or stressful situations given their work history and can use these experiences to draw from experiences that often can’t be trained-for in new, less experienced staff.

Again, this can be an ideal result for a business and often what employers say they are seeking in their permanent employees. A proven test to ensure a candidate can deliver specific skills is to know they have delivered these countless times in the past.

Why do some candidates want to work under contract?

Mr Hoiberg said there was often a range of reasons why experienced candidates are prepared to work in a contract arrangement.

“They may have had the decision made for them due to a redundancy or change in market conditions or, more often than not, they may have made their own choice to change. This may be to step away from a high-pressure environment; they may have relocated with their partner/family to an urban or regional setting; they may want to travel less; or simply, after achieving what they see as their career goals, they are looking for a position where they can contribute as part of a team without having the constant pressure of a full-time position hanging over them.”

“A step down in pay or position title is not necessarily a step backwards, or a sign they are looking to contribute less,” Mr Hoiberg said.

He said he had spoken with many experienced professionals who had identified that they had achieved what they were looking to achieve in their career, or who were at a stage where they were looking to assess their future but wanted to ‘keep busy’ and continue to contribute to a business and industry.

“More often than not, the candidate has a realistic understanding of the specific requirements of the position, and they don’t necessarily have any further aspirations. So they feel they can completely dedicate their time to a business. From a hiring manager’s perspective, what is there to lose?” he said.

A common concern managers or businesses had with bringing in contractors was that they may affect the culture of the team.

“These candidates go through exactly the same recruitment process as that of a permanent role. A manager has the same opportunity to assess their suitability culturally, but if they have already had a career within the industry, it is more easily assessable from references and their work history.

“A good contractor has the ability to hit the ground running and potentially minimise business interruptions, and if a manager is thinking about hiring a candidate permanently, but is unsure of their fit within the role and/or business, using a fixed term contract allows them to see how they go.”

“It’s ‘try before you buy’, if you like.”

Mr Hoiberg said the other comment he often heard from clients before they had discussed the candidate’s suitability was ‘We can’t afford this candidate’.

“Often, without even investing the time to have a conversation with the candidate, it is difficult to really know what you might be missing-out on,” he said.


Source: Rimfire Resources.


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