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Thinking about taking a contract position? Questions to ask


Over the years, I have accumulated a set of questions that I usually ask the placement firm about a contract position (W2 or 1099) that I am looking at taking.  Many of these questions will also apply if you are thinking about working as a salaried employee for a consulting firm:

- What is the job description?

- What is the length of the contract?

- What is the pay rate?

- What is the company name of your client that I would be working at?

- Where is the work location?

- Is this position W2 or 1099?

- When would you want me to start?

- Any other of your contractors at this company?  Can I talk to them?

- Are expenses paid (flight/car/hotel/meals)?

- What are the chances of the contract being extended?

- Are benefits available (medical/dental/LTD/STD/life/AD&D/vision), and how long before they take effect?  What are the deductibles and premiums?

- Are there any paid vacation, sick, holidays?

- Is there any monthly/yearly bonus?

- Any paid training?

- How long are contractors usually on the bench between projects?  Is bench time paid?  How long will you let someone stay on the bench before you “let them go”?

- Is any overtime expected?  Is it paid?

- What are the typical work hours?

- Is the job location close to a park-and-ride?  Will I be reimbursed if I have to pay for parking?

- What are the pay periods?

- Do you have contractors just in this city or nationwide?

- Are there other contractors in your company I can exchange technical questions?

- Is there a chance the next project will be in a different city?

- Are there promotions?  Annual reviews?

- What is my job title?

- Is there a sign-on bonus?

- Will I be in a cubical or office?

- Is a laptop/computer provided or do I need my own?

- What languages/tools will I be using?

- Is this more of a maintenance role or new development?

- Will I need to be on-call at all?

- Can you describe my day-to-day duties?

- Is there a 401k?  Any employer match?

- Any stock options?

- What is the driving distance to the work location from my house?

- What is the bill rate you will be charging the client that I will be working at?

- Who would be my “boss”?

Hopefully this list will spur you on to ask many questions so there are no “surprises” that happen after you take a contract position.


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