Lining up my first role

Good news, it looks like I've lined up my first contract role.

It's a…

  • interaction design role
  • 3 months
  • remote
  • central UK government
  • inside IR35

I haven't seen the contract yet, so it's not 100% certain. I keep reminding myself that delays happen and orgs can change their mind. But in an effort to share my working as I go, I'm writing this update.


I first blogged about going contracting at the beginning of February, and this role was one of the first that I looked at. A recruiter shared it with me after seeing my LinkedIn post (I think) and it's direct with the department (via the agency) rather than being via another design agency.

I won't be starting until some time in April, so I think I'm lucky to get something lined up so early. I wasn't expecting to have this much certainty so early, as it sounds like most recruiters want to fill roles within 2 to 3 weeks.

Lots of work around

I have to be honest, I was surprised at how many contract roles there seems to be, given that permanent interaction designer roles seem very rare at the moment. It's great for me and others in my position, but if I'm honest it doesn't seem like a sustainable way to grow the profession across government.

The interviewing process seems to be slightly more tipped in favour of the job seeker too (when compared to perm interviews). Interviews are generally shorter, less prep is needed, and more time is taken by the interviewer trying to sell the role.

That all makes sense I suppose, given that I won't be permanent and could be fired much more easily. But it's making me wonder if there's a balance between the contract and permanent hiring process that combines the best of both worlds.

Perhaps a big part of it is that I have been openly looking for work, something I always wished I'd had the guts to do before. Perhaps being more open in my job search when looking for permenant roles in the past would have been a better approach.

Hard work

That's not to say it's been easy though. I've been toying with the idea of contracting for years, and seriously looking into it for about 3 months.

I think my constant tweeting and blogging over the years has helped me to get a good reputation.

Some tips

These are some rough tips (caveat: I'm still working through these, your mileage my vary).

  • Get some savings (6 to 8 weeks) – I haven't got this yet but it's part of my plan
  • Learn the difference between inside IR35 and outside IR35
  • If you go inside IR35, you'll need an umbrella company to work through
  • Get a MacBook (probably) – sounds like some roles supply these, some don't
  • Speak to people: recruiters, heads of design in gov, head of design at design agencies, get on talent pool lists, get recommendations from past colleagues, friends who are doing the same role as you
  • Find out if the role is remote or not, find out who pays for travel and accommodation if travel is required
  • keep your CV and LinkedIn profile up to date
  • work in the open, share what you know
  • network little and often – a few minutes each day makes it easier to manage