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it worker future

Minimizing employment gaps for contractors

May 26, 2017

By Lisa Dare

Better pay, more variety, a chance to learn new skills: all things people love about IT contracting. But as attractive as consulting sounds, many professionals are wary of one potential downside: the possibility of gaps between jobs.

Year after year, IT consultants tell us their No. 1 concern is maintaining continuous employment. “Consultants with an in-demand skillset who stay up on tech and industry changes—and are good at working with clients—are usually easy to put back to work,” says Jen Doran, consultant program manager for TEKsystems.

But the staffing industry has faced some challenges to deliver continuous employment for everyone. We’ve made it our mission to overcome those obstacles and give each consultant the best possible chance to work as long and often as they want.

The proactive approach to eliminating employment gaps

Some key changes that have made a huge difference in being able to keep consultants employed and happy:

Verify, verify, verify. A realistic assessment of a project end date helps us start looking for the consultant’s next job match six weeks out, but project lengths change all the time. We’ve introduced technological and cultural shifts to enable us better visibility into position end dates, such as building routine check-ins with managers.

“We don’t want to make desperation matches. When we have more runway, we can partner with a consultant better to find the right opportunity that will advance their career,” says Doran.

Develop deep relationships. Building relationships of trust with consultants and clients pays big dividends, which is why we’re sticklers about thoroughly vetting candidates before presenting them. Getting to know candidates helps us spot position matches that suit their career goals, and it also helps us proactively market them to clients, whether or not there’s a current opening.

Bring reality into the equation. Being a good partner to our clients sometimes means telling them hard truths, like when their job description requirements are unrealistic. Our investment in trust-building helps when we ask them to them to widen their search profile and look at a great candidate who doesn’t match the requirements to a T.

Collect supervisory references. Once a consultant does a great job for a client, placing them in the next assignment gets a lot easier because we routinely collect references from their assignment supervisors. That peer-level reference goes a long way to helping the next manager trust a candidate’s skills and professionalism.

Providing continual employment is one of the cornerstones of our Consultant Placement Process, which emphasizes long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with IT professionals. Learn more about what it’s like to work with TEKsystems or apply for a job today. 

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