10 August 2018

I need an ‘expert’ – insource, contractor outsource, are these my only options?

Blog Musings

You need a specific skill and need it now?

So you need a highly specific skill, probably to do some maintenance or a change request on a system.  It doesn’t happen often enough for you to bother maintaining the expertise in house – after all, if you do train someone up, chances are that they will leave before you get full value from that investment.  And of course, you can never just have one capable person if you are going to offer any kind of meaningful SLA so the investment would be two or three times as much.  No, the skill is not available in house, so where do you find it?

For most organisations the immediate response is to go to the Contractor market.  All large Recruitment business maintain databases of Contractors searchable by skill, so it should be easy enough to create a short list, shouldn’t it?  But of course, it isn’t.  Those databases don’t necessarily know who is available, and most Contractors are on more than one database.  The field of hundreds of potential people with the required skill soon drops into single figures.  Often the choice is very limited indeed. The issue can be further complicated by the fact that the skill required is for an old version of a product, or for migration from old to new, and the field of candidates have experience at best in one or other version; at worst in neither.  And if you can find someone remotely capable, it may be that their minimum contract duration is 6 months, where you thought that the issue could probably be resolved in 4 weeks or a few days.

Instead of this consider an alternative proposition.  Find a business that employs trained and certified specialists in the fields that you need.  Approach them with your problem and see what they offer.  You are likely to be able to get access to the resource that you need, in the timescales that you want, for the duration that you expect.  The resource will be more expert, have a support structure supporting them if they do experience difficulties and when they have finished there will be the possibility of getting an agreement in place to make the process even easier next time.  The inflexible day rate plus support contract of the past is undoubtedly on the way out, replaced in the main by managed service offerings that might make the recruitment consultant a thing of the past.

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