Two Important Things to Know Before Hiring an IT Contractor

11 Dec 2014

Have you had the chance to work with IT or Software Development contractors as part of your job? Maybe your company hired one for a specific development project and you didn't have a great experience. The contractor didn't fit in, didn't take the time to understand the problem and just slapped a solution on it before getting their check and leaving. Meanwhile, you have to use the new tool that you don't want and know it could have been done a lot better.

How do you make sure the next one you hire is better than the last one?

There are some reasons that the contractors that get hired aren't the right ones:

  1. You needed a better understanding of your needs
  2. You didn't know the key things to look for in a contractor

You Didn't Know Your Needs

Knowing what you need is not as hard as it sounds. You may think you need to have a fully-featured spec list for them to get the proper job done, right? Well, you don't need that when you hire quality contractors. Good contractors have experience on multiple platforms and tools and are only looking to solve a problem. If they need more direction than that, they probably aren't suited to running a business.

A great contractor loves to solve problems and just happens to use technology to do that. They will be able to pick the right technology to solve it, as long as you know and can describe what your problem is. Giving them information about what you need and who all is involved is extremely helpful and goes a long way to solving the problem.

Key Things to Look For In a Contractor

Your company might already have a list of vendors they use for special projects that you can look at to pick one. If your company doesn't have a vendor that fits your needs and you need to find someone new, you can do a little research to vet potential vendors. This makes your company's job easier because they don't have to do the work to find someone quality. It also makes you look good because you anticipated the needs of upper management and solved their problem.

In order to know what contractor is the best one once you know you need one, there are a few key areas to focus on:

  1. What is their process for working with clients? If you get to have lots of input and collaboration during the project, that's a good sign that they are focused on your needs and not their compensation.
  2. Can you get their advice without signing a contract? Awesome people just want to help other awesome people. If you can't vent to them and get some friendly advice before pursuing a contract, then they are probably not a good fit.

Good contractors just want to help people solve problems and also happen to want to make money doing it. Their first priority is figuring out what your problem is and working with you to find the best solution that fits your budget, your timeframe, and your needs. That's all that matters.