Contractor Insights Survey - How effective are recruiters in matching contractor’s skills to their roles?

Friday 5th June, 2015
Agency Info

In earlier findings from our Contractor Insights Survey, we found that 75% of contractors turn to recruitments agencies when seeking their next role. Since then we have taken a closer look at how effective recruiters are when it comes to matching contractors skill set to their roles.

Our survey, asked the opinions of 1,600 umbrella and limited company contractors to find out their feelings on everything from what motivates them to get to work every morning, to their relationship with their agencies. All our findings we’re then compiled into our very own Contractor Insights Survey.

As mentioned earlier, three-quarters of contractors opt to go through recruitment agencies when seeking their next contract, however in light of the growing skills shortage concern which is having an impact on many of the UKs industries, how effective is this channel?

What are contractor's opinions of recruiters?

With just 7% of survey respondents saying they never use agencies, it is clear that the majority of contractors rely on recruiters as some point in their career.

Our survey asked contractors their thoughts on recent interactions with recruiters and 73% of responses were positive, with contractors highlighting that the professional nature in which they were handled with and the seamless end to end process delivered were sought after aspects of the service that agencies delivered.

Furthermore, participants went on to mention that having their skills effectively matched to a contract, alongside having their work capabilities well understood and their personality matched to their clients company culture, is what really sets recruitment agencies apart.

The survey findings pinpoint that contractors have confidence with recruiters when it comes to effectively matching their skills set to roles, but how is this put into practice?

What are agencies doing to prepare contractors for roles?

We wanted to understand what agencies did to prepare contractors for potential roles. Our survey revealed that just 44% of contractors had been given support with interview preparation.

However our findings also indicated that the level of support provided varied depending on industry sector, with individuals operating in the construction industry least likely to be provided with interview preparation and those individuals operating in accountancy and finance most likely.

It was highlighted that 23% of respondents desired support on how to present themselves during an interview, however 53% stated they had little interest in this type of support.

On the whole, 84% of respondents claimed that the interview preparation they were given by agencies was either 'very useful' or 'quite useful', with only 3% saying it was unhelpful.

Paul Malley, our Managing Director here at PayStream, said that "In light of this, agencies may want to look at offering this kind of support more often because some contractors may not appreciate the benefit of interview preparation until they've actually received it."

For the most part, 76% of recruitment agencies favoured face-to-face interviews when finding out about a contractor's skill set, with 60% favouring telephone interviews and just 12% going digital with video interviews such as Skype or FaceTime.

What other methods are contractors using to secure roles?

Taking into account that not all respondents use recruitment agencies, we also wanted to take a closer look into what alternate methods contractors use when securing roles.

3% of those surveyed said that they had compiled a video profile to highlight their personality and skill set, which was sent to potential clients or recruitment agencies. Despite the majority having not attempted to make a video profile, 27% of respondents said they would potentially consider doing this in the near future. This figure supports the changing trends with technology and its use to seek contractor roles.

Additional methods open to contractors for developing and showcasing their skill set include having an active and engaging presence on social media sites, especially the likes of LinkedIn, alongside setting aside time to build on or learn new skills and qualifications to boost their expertise and give them a competitive edge against fellow contractors.

If you'd like to know more about the findings in our Contractor Insights Survey, please get in touch with our Sales Director, Ashley Olliver at

On the whole, 84% of respondents claimed that the interview preparation they were given by agencies was either 'very useful' or 'quite useful', with only 3% saying it was unhelpful.