- Determining What Kind of Programmer to Hire
- Writing the Job Description
- Selling the Hire
- Recruiting Full-Time Employees (FTEs)
- Recruiting Contractors
- Reviewing Resumes
- Narrowing the Field
- Preparing to Interview
- Making the Decision to Hire a Programmer
- Making the Right Offer to a Programmer
- Follow Up until the Programmer Accepts
Recruiting contractors is different from recruiting employees.
A large organization may well have a list of six, eight, or ten “preferred vendors” of contractors through which you will be required to hire contractors. One or more of them will be designated as “pass-through” vendors; should you find independent contractors you want to bring in, you’ll typically be required to bring them in through one of the pass-through vendors, which will provide payroll services and bill you enough more to pay taxes and take a cut themselves.
If you’re lucky enough to have this system in place and enforced in your company, your phone won’t ring except with legitimate business. You’ll never be plagued by the swarm of job shops trying to be the one to find you contractors. On the other hand, there goes your largest source of free lunches and presents at Christmas. The real downside is that you’ll have to leave behind the contractor recruiters who have served you so well in the past and whom you have long cultivated to bring you great people (and buy you lunches).
If you don’t have a preferred vendor system in your company, ask your programming manager peers and colleagues for referrals of good contractor houses and recruiters to work with.
Go out of your way to find a “boutique” contracting house that you can trust to find especially skilled contractors when you need them. Mickey says: “While at Gracenote I found a contract house that always seemed to find exactly the right ‘specialty’ contractor when I needed one. They had access to a network of contractors and had them categorized very well, because they found me a contractor in Seattle, a contractor in Toronto, and many local to the Bay Area with exactly the specific skills I was looking for at the time. These skills were not simply programming skills; they were as exotic as experience with Japanese and Korean Morphological Text Matching, or experience in implementing UPnP servers (when the technology was first emerging), and others. I was amazed at how quickly they could respond to my seemingly exotic requests for contractors.”
Preferred or no, cultivate those relationships. You want these folks to see your needs as their top priority and to think of you when their best people become available.
Of course, the best place to look for contract talent is within your own network. LinkedIn provides instantaneous and always updated access to your network, though it is no real substitute for a carefully cultivated database of your contacts that you maintain throughout the years.
Mickey uses LinkedIn for his close set of personal contacts (hundreds, not thousands), but also an address book application that has the ability to store preset fields as well as free-form data that is word indexed. He uses this program religiously to maintain all his contacts, including those whom he would not dream of inviting into his personal LinkedIn network. “This has been one of my best weapons in accelerating the recruiting process for employees and contractors.”