Mar 13, 2007

Why Contractors Get A Bad Name

Ok, I know you should never post angry, but I'll run the risk in this case.

Because of the shortage of skilled .NET developers I often have to turn to contractors to get quality people in the door in the timeframe I need.  In the past I've picked up some top notch quality people.  People I am proud to have worked with (or am currently working with), who are integral parts of their teams, who work as much for the team as for themselves and who are genuinely missed when they go.

Then there's the bad eggs.  You hear stories of those who misrepresent themselves in interviews, those who stop putting in after a few weeks elapse, or - like the one I had today - those who commit to a 6 month contract and resign 2 weeks into it because a job they've been holding out for was offered to them.  Being used by someone as a short term cash source while they wait to see if the job they really want is offered to them is an unethical and dishonest way to behave, and hearing excuses about how they "don't normally do this sort of thing" doesn't make their behaviour any more palatable or acceptable.

I really value and appreciate the contractors I've met who are genuine and open about their situations.  This other type of contractor just gives everyone else in the industry a bad name.


  1. Contractors really are a hit and miss affair. In the last couple of years I've hired two through a Sydney agency and both were disastrous. One turned up 3 hours late on the first day! Both turned out to be prima donnas who needed way too much hand holding and micro-managing. On the other hand I currently have 2 contractors who were referred to me by word of mouth and they are some of our most valuable developers.

  2. As a contractor myself I feel the need to point out that sometimes contractors do get a bad name, but interestingly enough customers/clients do not. I personally have worked at places that I should not have and against better judgement have, but we can't always predetermine what a contract role is going to be like at the get go. So what happens hypothetically if I accept a 6 month contract at a very average company do I stick it out or do I cut my losses? Hard to say, but definitely needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    So i know where you are coming from Richard but spare a thought for the contractor sometimes.