IT contractors are one of the hottest commodities in the UK talent pool. Their skills are increasingly sought after by employers looking to dominate the digital space, and lucrative job opportunities are on the rise.

With demand high and supply low, contractors are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting their next jobs. They’re in prime position to cherry-pick the best roles in the market, able to play the professional field and be highly selective about where they offer their services. In short, they won’t be enticed by second-rate job adverts.

So, how can you tailor your job description to attract the best talent to IT contract jobs?

Use a clear layout

Contractors in developer jobs spend their time crafting elegant, readable, and well documented code. It should go without saying that they appreciate a well-constructed layout. A job advert in the form of an excessively long, rambling paragraph won’t appeal to a developer audience, nor will one which presents an illogical structure.

The layout is the first part of the job description that catches the contractor’s eye. Make that first impression count by creating a simple, systematised advert which is broken up into digestible sections. A great format to follow is:

  • An opening hook outlining the opportunity
  • A description of the job and its daily duties
  • A specification of necessary skills and experience
  • A summary of the rewards on offer in return
  • A closing sign-off


Ensure quality copy

Even if it’s embedded within a strong structure, poor copy will put off top IT contractors. When you have the pick of the bunch, you’re going to opt for excellence. With that in mind, it’s well worth spending extra time ensuring that the content within your advert is correct, coherent and as engaging as possible to appeal to more of your target audience. You can’t expect high calibre candidates off the back of low quality copy.


Offer full transparency

A vague, un-descriptive job description isn’t going to win results. IT contractors enter companies to work on specific, high-priority projects: let them know the specifics! This means including a detailed summary of role responsibilities, ideally broken down into 5-10 concise bullet-points. It means outlining the length of the contract, its location and its full range of requirements. It means providing details on the client and, wherever possible, the salary. If you fail to offer clarity, you fail to encourage applications.


Focus on end results

IT contract jobs are all about achieving desired end results within designated timeframes. The candidate is not applying for an ongoing role – they’re applying to work on a planned, specialist project. So, you need to convey the project’s desired end results within your job advert if you want to pique the contractor’s professional interest.

Is this a project to which they could successfully lend their expertise? Is it one which they could complete within the specified time? By giving an indication of what you would ultimately like the contractor to achieve, you encourage them to imagine themselves in the role as well as appealing to their thirst for challenge.


Pique interest around the client

Never make the mistake of assuming that contractors aren’t particularly interested in clients due to the brevity of their employment. The opposite is true. Contractors are renowned for being difficult to recruit, and to entice them you need to leverage every tool in your arsenal: including your client.

Your client could be a fast-growing start-up with an ambitious appetite and an urgent need for a contracting expert. They could be a well-established brand now looking to place themselves at the forefront of digital innovation. They could be a business undergoing significant change and needing talented contractors to fuel their transformation. Whatever the scenario, you need to sell it as a story within your job advert.

It’s simple: only by giving the client an identity can you expect contractors to identify with them.


Be realistic with your person specification

Yes, contractors are some of the most skilled workers in the marketplace. This doesn’t make them magicians. Too often, job adverts for contractors list every IT skill under the sun, demanding fluency in every programming language ever created as well as a host of personal qualities.

Attracting contractors is difficult enough without asking for ‘purple squirrel’ candidates. In instances where person specifications are unrealistic, a good recruiter should always try to educate their client and manage those expectations.

By reining in idealistic requirements, your advert will benefit from sharper specificity and a more focused objective. In turn, you’ll win more applications from more of the right people.

Article written by Roxanne Abercrombie, PR, Content and Social Executive at Uniting Ambition.