News & Insights
Too Many Projects, Not Enough Resources
If you find yourself with a pile of newly signed off projects, some of which you might have been fighting for since last year, then it’s difficult to start complaining that you don’t have enough resource.
Hopefully the need for additional resource was costed into the approved project budget. If not, perhaps the cost benefit shows that the incremental cost of bringing in additional resource is far outweighed by the benefits of the project. Either way, bringing in short term contract (or temporary) resource is a logical way of dealing with peaks in resource demand.
So, what is the best way to go about recruiting contract staff to ensure you get the right people at the right time at the right cost AND they add sufficient value once they start?
If you have not established a strong working relationship with a recruitment organisation such as ourselves, here are some points to consider:
- Ask for full visibility of potential costs, including the agency commission on contract staff. Do they charge a standard percentage?
- Consider the differences between contracting and permanent employment, this could be between paying an hourly rate versus a daily rate. An hourly rate contractor working long hours could work out to be much more expensive. Also make sure there is full visibility of overtime & weekend working rates.
- Make sure you are happy with the contract notice period for both parties.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate, from the terms of the contract to the rate & the notice period. A role offering longer term opportunities conveniently located for the contractor is obviously more attractive than a 3 month engagement with a 2 hour commute.
- Ask for details on how the agency searches and selects candidates. Who is going to perform the short listing & what is their level of project management expertise?
- Ask to only see their best candidates, not a continual stream of CVs for you to work through.
Whether you are using an external recruiter or rely on your own HR department, the more clearly your requirements are defined the better. What skills are required to perform the role? Break these down into must haves and nice to haves and be realistic with the skills and recruitment time frame.
Explain the purpose of the project and the responsibilities of the role. Candidates are keen to know as much as possible about a role before deciding to commit their CV. If the recruiter or HR department can’t talk knowledgeably about the project & the role then this can put good candidates off.
This is particularly true with senior contractors who are often quite selective about the roles they apply for and want to look through a details job description before making a decision. The role has to be sold to the contractor just as much as the contractor has to sell himself or herself to you.
Any Italian-speaking Project Manager with knowledge of machine tool installations may not be available to start tomorrow in Cardiff.
How long are you willing to wait for the best-fit candidate?
Recruiting a resource is a project, so set a target completion date for holding interviews and stick to it! Remember that you need to invest time into the selection process and make a decision quickly once the interviews are complete. It is likely that candidates will be interviewing elsewhere. This means that if you wait a couple of weeks before inviting to interview & then another couple of weeks before making an offer, it might be too late.
A candidate that might not have the exact background, but is genuinely enthusiastic about the role, keen to contribute and has a good positive attitude ticks a lot of boxes for me.
Remember that this is a contract position so shouldn’t follow as long a process as if you were recruiting permanent Project Managers so try and be as flexible as possible, particularly if you need to recruit quickly.
Finally, consider what the person needs to know about your organisation, the project, the people, the politics and the processes in order to be successful. Think about it from their perspective and plan a thorough induction to get them up to speed as quick as possible.
Again, the more time you invest at this early stage the better.
Set clear responsibilities and measurable objectives.
In summary, the market in the UK is well stocked with many excellent professionals, so help is at hand. If this resource is recruited and managed correctly you will be well on the way to achieving the project priorities your organisation has finally approved.