What are the best job sites for contractors?

Trawling through job websites is a full-time occupation in itself. Part of the challenge of being a contractor is the sheer amount of hours you have to put into searching for opportunities and leads. Some job boards make this easy and some of them, well, don’t.

You probably know about micro-gig websites like Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr and, if you’re just starting your contracting career, they might be sites you’re interested in trying out. However, due to the labour-to-fee imbalance common to these sort of assignment-based sites, we’re going to focus on gigs that usually involve some element of face-to-face interaction with a client and a more project-based approach.

We’ve reviewed three quite different contractor job sites to evaluate just how good they are at getting you work.

YunoJuno

What is it and who is it aimed at?
Founded in 2011, YunoJuno’s slogan is “The Future of Work” and is an online, vetted freelance jobs board that gives you access to world class brands and creative agencies on the lookout for temporary hires. The majority of the gigs are situated in London and New York, so it might not work if you’re based out of Basingstoke.

YunoJuno’s key selling points are that it’s completely free for freelancers and contractors to use, as they charge the client a fee once they’ve filled their vacancy. The other important selling point for contractors is that you’re paid by YunoJuno, not the client, so, as long as you get your timesheets approved by your client on time, YJ will pay you with a two week turnaround.

You can also chat freely and directly with the client using the YJ messaging system.

YJ convers the following professions:

  • Creative (art director, copywriter)
  • Client services (account managers, business directors)
  • Design (freelance digital and 3D designers)
  • Development (freelance IT professionals, back-end and front-end)
  • Film and motion
  • Project management
  • Strategy
  • Studio

YunoJuno promises access to over 500 high-quality brands and agencies looking to hire freelancers. However, you have to meet certain criteria in order to apply for the jobs YunoJuno advertises and you won’t even be able to see them until you’re accepted. YunoJuno operates an approval system to keep the quality level of the freelancers high. To join YJ, prospective contractors have to fill out a profile and supply references. Once approved, you have access to jobs in your industry and clients can search for you based on keywords you supply in your profile.

Any extra features?
Aside from their quick payment turnaround, YJ offer a number of member benefits, including up to 25% off co-working space rental, discounted contractor insurance and 15% off Moo.com business cards.

Any negative points?
While it’s excellent that there’s a 14 day payment turnaround, YunoJuno’s payment system is only as good as your client’s responsiveness to it. You might not be chasing invoices, but you might find yourself sending regular reminders for timesheet approval. If your client misses YunoJuno’s approval window, your payments can be delayed by a least a week. That said, YJ’s accounts department is good at noticing backdated invoices and will rush through payment, though it is never immediate.

There also aren’t usually a lot of jobs to choose from, although once you’ve been accepted as a YJ member, you’ve passed the quality control test and a lot of the hurdles to employment have been removed. If you click “Apply” on a job, you stand a good chance of getting through to at least the interview stage.

Also, you need quite a lot of tolerance for – how to put this – Shoreditch patter. YJ’s company tone has improved a lot in the past few years, but there’s still an air of London media matey-ness that can be a bit off-putting.

To sum up

YunoJuno is a genuinely effective way to get well-paid freelance work and contract assignments. Their offerings can range from a single days’ work, up to a few months. Though it can be challenging to pass their approval process, once you do, it opens up significant opportunities, particularly if you’re looking for contract jobs in London.

Wired Sussex

What is it and who is it aimed at?

This Brighton-based job board is particularly good for contractors looking for IT jobs. It focuses mainly on projects in the Sussex area but there are plenty of opportunities for remote working, so don’t discount it on the name alone.

Wired Sussex covers the following professions:

  • Administration
  • Project management
  • Creative
  • Design
  • Programming and development
  • Strategy
  • Sales
  • IT Support
  • Gaming

Wired Sussex has a friendly, non-corporate feeling, and often the people who post vacancies are the very people who’ll interview you, so there’s much less hoop-jumping then you’d get with a larger recruitment site.

Any special features?

Unlike YunoJuno, everyone can access Wired Sussex’s freelance work opportunities. There’s a Projects Board where employers can search for potential collaborators, so there’s a looser, more collaborative feel to the whole enterprise.

Any negative points?

This site is most useful for contractors looking for IT jobs. There are plenty of vacancies in other industries listed but they’re often for more permanent roles. The job selection is obviously a lot more limited than some of the larger recruitment sites.

To sum up

Yes, the selection is smaller than you’d see on one of the bigger recruitment websites, but the jobs are interesting and if you fit their specific niche, it can be a way of circumnavigating a lot of agency red tape.

Indeed.co.uk

What is it and who is it aimed at?

Indeed is an aggregate job site that covers literally everything: contractors, permanent work, full and part-time, in every possible industry. To make the site useful to contractors, you need to use their advanced search tools effectively so that you only see the contracts that are relevant to you.

When we searched, we uncovered almost 19,000 contractor jobs across the UK, with a third of them in London and then Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol coming up behind.

Any special features?

Indeed offers job alert emails that can be set to your specifications, so if something special comes up, you’ll be one of the first to hear about it. You can check out average permanent position salaries for various industries, so you can make sure that you’re charging in line with the economy,

Any negative points?

The sheer scope of Indeed is both a blessing and a curse – there’s lots to choose from but the opportunities are open to everyone and competition is fierce. A single contract opportunity could elicit hundreds of responses and it’s often the case that if an agent is sifting through enquiries, once they’ve found a likely couple of candidates, they’ll stop looking at any new submissions. It definitely pays to be quick off the mark when it comes to sites like this.

Conclusion

So, what are the best job websites? The answer to that is “the ones that last got you work”, which is to say that there’s no one failsafe option that will always see you right. Instead, it’s about taking different approaches at once.

If you’re experienced enough, it’s very useful to gain access to more exclusive job sites like YunoJuno where your competition has thinned out and the clients are generally of a higher tier. If you haven’t quite got the stripes yet, using tools like Indeed for targeted search and keep your rates relevant is a good way to go. Regional sites like Wired Sussex give you access less corporate/brand-centred assignments which can build you up a portfolio and roster of contacts.

Remember: it may be a slog at first, but you only need one yes and you’re away. Good luck!