Building a network is the most important key to success in successfully placing consultants and contractors; and the most important piece of building a network is relationship building, with the skilled candidate and the client.
Relationship building with the client pays dividends in getting a "heads-up" before other recruiters on upcoming needs. Let them know about your best candidates a month or so before their contracts are up to build interest, and always stay well informed of their level of satisfaction with your consultants.
To build your relationship with the candidate, take time out to listen to their concerns and what they are looking for, not just in a "job", but in their career and in life. While it may be inappropriate to probe personal issues, take note of and inquire about those that the candidate shares with you - these are obviously issues that they feel relate to their career path. Make sure you "stay in touch" by sending greetings, cards and voice or e-mail to keep your name in their mind and foster a relationship that allows you to really tune in to their needs.
Gathering referrals is another benefit to building relationships. Eagles fly together and your best consultants will supply you with the best referrals. You also start in a position of trust with a new consultant based on your successful placements in the past with their colleague.
Tip: The most efficiently sourced skilled candidate is a quality referral. Never forgetting to ask for referrals will lower your cost per hire and cycle time.
W2s and 1099s
One way to look at consultants and contract employees is in terms of their tax status. Usually people will be classified as a "W2" or a "1099". W2s will be paid as a regular employee, often with full benefits and other perks associated with full-time employment, and most importantly, they will have their tax with held by the employer.
How do these two types differ in the recruiting process? The "hot-buttons" of a "W2" will usually be geared more towards benefits, career advancement, technological training and challenges. They may be more willing to compromise on their rates for the right position that meets these needs. Other important motivators include location, company environment, and the possibility of advancement or transition to a full time permanent position. In short, probe the areas that you might associate with a candidate seeking full time permanent employment to establish clearly where they would want to be placed.
"1099s" on the other hand are "true independents". They function like an autonomous company and are wholly responsible for providing their own insurance and other traditional benefits. Their financial needs are often greater and they may tend to compromise on the issues that are important to the W2 or full-time perm. Typically, they will be more money motivated.
Tip: In establishing a good fit between your candidate and the client, make sure you get detailed information from the employer on the tax status of consultants they are seeking - this could make or break a placement if discovered in the 11th hour.