Everybody wants to be good at their job. Contract employees are no exception. When working in a temporary job, there is much incentive to bring your all.
But how do you know you’re doing well? What if there’s a difference between what your on-site manager tells you and what your recruiting partner tells you? And how do you ask for more information about your performance on the job?
We talked to Aerotek Account Recruiting Manager Jbeth Adkins to get expert advice on all things related to job performance feedback. She suggests three steps to getting more detailed feedback while you’re on a contract.
If feedback about your job performance is important to you, make sure you let everyone know. People (employers included) love honesty.>
Tell your on-site manager, your recruiting partner, your peers and your colleagues that getting regular updates about how you’re doing will help you do the best job you possibly can. “It can only help your cause when you go to an on-site manager and tell them, ‘I want to do a really good job for you so I need you to tell me when I'm doing something wrong or if there is something I can improve on,’” says Adkins.
Or, if the direct approach is not your style, talk to your recruiting partner about what kind of feedback you need, and let them advocate for you. “I’m always happy to talk to the employer and ask for feedback on behalf of the contractors I work with,” says Adkins. “It just helps me get more information so I can be better at my job.”
For more about fostering honest communication, check out a previous article on the subject: The Value of Open Communication With Your Recruiter.
Contractors manage multiple professional relationships at the same time, navigating a role within a triangle that exists between employee, employer and staffing firm. This series of relationships works best when communication is honest and open between all parties.
As much as receiving feedback is important for contractors to be able to perform well, it’s also important that contractors share their feedback.
“I always want to check in with the contractors I work with to get their feedback as well,” Says Adkins, “because I need to know that what you’re doing on the job aligns with the expectations set by the employer. It helps not only moving forward for future contractors, but if you're not happy, I want to know as soon as possible so I can fix it.”
Be on the lookout for a “no news is good news” mentality, where each party involved in the contract — employee, employer and your recruiter — assumes that not hearing anything means that everything’s fine. If you’re not getting regular feedback from your on-site manager, or from your recruiting partner, know that you have the ability to go ahead and ask for what you need.
One of the benefits of contract labor or working with what many call a “temp agency” is getting to try new things and explore career options in a variety of settings. Yet due to their temporary status, some contractors are reluctant to dive in and take control out of fear of making waves.
Perhaps as a result of this, one of the most common forms of feedback shared by companies who employ contract workers is that they’d prefer to see less hesitancy. “I remember one company gave feedback about a contractor not answering service calls as proactively as they would have preferred, and the only reason he hadn’t been was because he wasn’t sure they wanted a contractor to do that for them,” says Adkins. “Hearing that feedback actually gave him the confidence of ‘they hired me because they believe in my ability to do this, and I can just go for it.’”
When you really lean into your responsibilities with the mindset of taking the opportunity to really be proactive in this new role, it has the added benefit of making the feedback you hear all the more helpful to your continued career development.