Contract work is new norm for many people. Do you know the traps to avoid when taking a contract job?
It’s quite common for job seekers to accept contract or temporary jobs with the hopes that they will turn into full-time employment. Even without the potential of a new job, the contract assignment has become a crucial piece to any employment scenario.
However, many people are destroying this opportunity within the first two weeks. In the contract world, these mistakes may not only cost you the immediate job, but other contract work down the road.
1. Demanding special payment arrangements
Yes, we know that your finances are tight because you’ve been out of work for a while. However, requesting wire transfer payments before you start to work for an employer can raise eyebrows. When negotiating a contract assignment, be sure to ask how they normally pay their vendors and try to accommodate their established procedures.
If you need to request payment in advance, do so in a professional manner – and only ask for this consideration once. Always asking for money early plants a negative seed in the employer’s mind – such as questions about why you can’t manage your finances.
2. Unreasonable expenses
Even though you are a contractor, try to stay within the company’s guidelines for employee expenses. For example, if you have to travel for the company, ask beforehand what the per diem rate is for meals and other expenses. This shows that you are willing to work within their defined limits.
Calling in sick
True, you might really be sick, but anytime you give short notice that you won’t be in to work it will be questioned – especially if you are being evaluated in a temporary position. Find a way to get the work done, even if it means working from home.
Skimpy paperwork trail
The IRS has very specific rules to define an employee from an independent contractor. Keeping your paperwork straight – submitting your own invoices/ expense reports, signed contracts, completed W-9’s – will help the employer keep this relationship well defined. Plus, if you are pro-active about the necessary paperwork, it is a positive reflection on your own follow-through skills.
Scheduling interviews during your work hours
While you may still be looking for a permanent job elsewhere, make sure you do it on your own time. This may mean scheduling interviews several days in advance so that you can give your contract company plenty of advance notice. Saying that you “have an appointment” is a legitimate reason to step out for an hour or two, but don’t let the employer know it is to interview with another company.
To avoid all of these problems, show your contract employer that they are priority #1. You will be more likely to get a permanent job offer by being professional, attentive and focused on their needs instead of your own.