The rumors were true. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 40.4 percent of America’s workforce are considered “contingent workers” as of 2010. After almost a 10 percent increase over a five year span, it is crucial to prepare for this new trend in job offerings.
Freelance and contract workers provide a company with the benefits of new ideas and expertise, while saving them from unnecessary overhead spending when the employee’s project is over. But with more variables for each candidate and the looming lack of job security, it can be difficult to onboard contingent employees.
So how do hiring managers adjust their practices?
Our recruitment experts have compiled a list of 5 tips and tricks to help you adjust to this shift in the workforce:
1. Sell the company and the project
Job postings can make or break the hiring process. They are the initial point of reference for a potential candidate and the information provided drives prospects to their ultimate decision to apply. When dealing with freelancers or contract workers, this is particularly important because the description must incorporate the company and the project. In order to entice recruits, discuss things like payment, long-term potential and workplace culture. These features not only appeal to the top talent, but ensure that applicants are clear on expectations in order to streamline the process after they are offered an interview or a position with the company. If you work with a staffing company to fill your contract openings, make sure they can articulate your company culture and what it’s like to work at your company.
2. Tap into your social networks
Recruiting online can go far beyond LinkedIn job searches. Casting a wide net across all social media channels allows for more people to engage with your job postings and, more importantly, the chance for more referrals. With just one post about the company and the where to find your opportunities, you can connect with hundreds, even thousands, of potential applicants. And the best part? You’ll be able to obtain a basic knowledge of the people who reply by taking a quick look at their profile. This can ease your mind during the recruiting process and help better ensure the quality of a freelance candidate beyond their resume.
3. Collect references and sample work
Many applicants will impress you with their resume, but are they as good in reality as they are on paper? In order to relieve some of the unknown variables, insist on professional references and relevant project work. Even if they’re with you for just a short time, references give a glimpse into their work ethic, ability to collaborate and can fact check their resume or review any potential issues that might have arisen in the past. A portfolio of previous projects can also help you determine whether or not the type of work and the quality of projects align with the job you need done. Combining the two can offer a more comprehensive overview of the candidate than a resume and interview could do alone, ensuring a more qualified candidate for your company (and possibly even considering them for a direct position in the future).
4. Know the regulations for contract workers
Contract employees and freelancers vary in many ways from full-time workers. This is why it is crucial for hiring managers to understand the correct terminology and laws that govern freelancers or contract employees. When drafting a new contract keep in mind the company conduct policy, potential benefits packages, minimum and maximum hours, project requirements and salary. All of these should be outlined in extreme detail to prevent any confusion. It is also important to remember that the laws for contract employees sometimes vary by state. Be sure to consult the IRS website and your state government site to make sure you are in compliance with their regulations. If you work with a staffing provider, make sure all non-work conversations around things such as pay, benefits and performance are handled by the staffing provider, not the hiring manager.
5. Communication is key
One of the first indicators of success in a candidate is how they communicate and how often they’re reaching out. Prospects should demonstrate open, clear communication and of course, the more responsive they are, the better. Their eagerness to create a relationship and learn more even before they start working for you is a clear indicator of their desire to work for your company and on this project in particular. Also pay attention to their language. Depending on what kind of job they’re looking for, the way they speak about past projects or trends in the industry could say a lot about their industry-intelligence.
Of course, there is no scientifically proven method for selecting the best candidates every time (we’re working on that!) However, knowing these key components of the process can help reduce the risks that come with a contract worker or freelancer and short-term project hiring. If you know the laws, utilize your resources and keep open lines of communication, you’ll end up with happy workers and a job well done. Most importantly, you, as a hiring manager, will have fewer headaches and get your projects done!