This article, on a repeat contract, is a follow-up to our previous article of the same name. We said that it’s crucial you have an end-of-contract meeting with your client to maximise your chances of coming back.
What should you do at that meeting?
Well, the first thing to do is to ascertain whether your client would employ you again. That is the first question to ask. If there is an obfuscation, you‘d best let bygones be bygones. However, leave your contact details anyway.
Once you have obtained a positive that the client would employ you again, you should open as many channels as you possibly can. That’s so that he, or she, can get in touch with you again.
You need to give a phone number, preferably your mobile. If you are likely to move around a lot (or even once), leave also the phone number of someone who isn‘t likely to move, e.g. your parents.
You also need to leave your email address. As you well know people change their email addresses quite often. If someone contacted you in three years time, would you still have the same email address?
At least leave the email address that you have that is least likely to change. If your parents have an email address, give that too. They are unlikely to hop from ISP to ISP, even if you talk them into it. How many of them have changed from BT even though they could get their calls cheaper elsewhere?
You should also let the client know that you are more likely to be able to take on the new work if the agent is not involved. At least, they should contact you first, so that you can cut a better deal with the agency.
Keep in Touch with Permanent Employees
Another very important tip is to give the names of permanent employees whom you are most likely to keep in touch with after you leave. I can tell you for a fact that senior clients are more likely to say to one of those people that you have kept in touch with, ‘Tell Mike to give me a call’ rather than pick up the phone and call you.
It‘s easier for him to just call your agency and ask them to get in touch with you, rather than to call you himself. Also, he has a lot less chance of embarrassing himself, which senior people don‘t like. He wants to be seen to be offering you something. That’s rather than call you up asking you if you want to come back. The order that a senior manager would most want to handle this is:-
1) Tell one of his employees to ask you to give him a call
2) Tell your agency to contact you. They‘ll be suitably grateful
3) Call you up, with the chance of rejection over the phone from someone lower down the hierarchy than himself. He might even get your partner or kids, or you might be out.
It is also important to ask the client if you can call him at regular intervals, e.g. every three months, to see if any work has come up. If you don‘t do this, and call him out of the blue, he may be taken aback. It may be a slightly embarrassing conversation. If you have arranged to call him every few months, then it is not embarrassing when you do make one of your regular calls.
One thing that contractors don‘t do enough of when their contract at one site has come to an end is to ask if there is any work elsewhere at the company. Often it is a case that one manager is laying off contractors at the same time that another is taking on contractors.
Ask the Question
At the crucial end-of-contract meeting with your manager, ask him if there are other managers or parts of the company that are looking for contractors. Ask him for their names, and even better, if he could contact them on your behalf.
He may not know exactly what stage other managers are at on their projects. He may not know whether they are hiring or not. At least, if he gives you the names of the other managers, you can look them up on the internal phone directory. You can say, when you call them, that YOUR manager suggested that you get in touch to see if any work is available. If they say that there is none at the moment, tell them your skills (preferably face to face). Give them your contact details.
Ask them, also, if you can contact them every three months or so to see if the situation has changed. You should also ask them when the situation is most likely to change. That’s so that you can call up when he is most likely to need someone like you.
Leave him with a copy of your CV. This is best done in a short meeting with the other manager rather than over the phone. However, do it over the phone if he can‘t meet you.
Maximise Your Chances of Repeat Contract
If you do all of these things then you are in a much better position to get a call out of the blue asking you if you want some work. You owe it to yourself to make sure that, if there is a possibility of a repeat contract, then they will be able to find you.
Wouldn‘t it to be awful to think that, when you are at your lowest ebb, that there was someone out there desperately looking for you, but couldn‘t find you.
I know that it has happened to people that I have tried to find without success. Perhaps it has happened to you.
Make sure, if it has, that it doesn‘t happen again!
There are ways and means to get an advantage on other contractors and score a precious repeat contract.