Today, if you run a business – any business – it’s more than likely that you’re in the market for labor. A pandemic-driven exodus from the workforce was followed by mass retirements for some and a lot of careful deliberation by others, even as a strong economic recovery drove businesses to begin hiring again in earnest. The results have left many companies needing help – lots of it, and right now. Because hiring full-time staff is a long, laborious process (which, of course, requires a lot of staff itself), one of the simplest ways to meet your labor needs is through the use of contractors. But bereft of typically methodical process of evaluating full-time staff, recruiting a contingent labor force requires evaluating contractors and developing a strategy for doing so.
Easy to hire and quick to onboard, contract workers give companies the ability to address staff shortages and better support an existing workforce that may be overworked (and possibly looking for an exit). The freelance model also allows a business the opportunity to evaluate new talent while maintaining the flexibility to easily move on if the contractor is not a fit or hire that person on as a full-timer.
If you’re using contractors for the first time, or significantly expanding your roster of freelancers, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to understand how the move affects your books, evaluating the contractors that best fit your business’ needs. (Chances are, you’ve already done this and it’s the exact reason you’ve decided to utilize contractors.) Once you’ve determined your needs – think of contractor staffing in terms of months rather than years – you’ll want to give some thought to the type of freelancers that fit best into your organization and their specific roles:
First-time contractors: You may want to anticipate a longer learning curve for newbie contractors, who aren’t as accustomed as seasoned freelancers to hitting the ground running at a new company. Still, many first-time contractors have plenty of experience in their industry, giving a hiring manager the ability to quickly fill a position with someone who is a proven talent. A strategy for evaluating contractors in this group can not only help develop a pipeline of go-to freelancers but also allow for a more economical way for a business to enter the market.
Full-fledged contractors: Workers who have been in the contractor game for some time tend to make onboarding easy, fit into a company’s culture quickly and get right to the business at hand. A company will have to pay for more experience and expertise, of course, but the cost is often worth it – especially for project and specialty work. Veteran contractors are a good choice when the work is part-time or remote – especially internationally, when time zones may be an issue. These workers are used to juggling clients, keeping their calendars organized and navigating timing difficulties that could flummox a first-timer.
Seasonal contractors: For accounting firms and companies with regularly intervaled project work that requires extra hands or special expertise, seasonal contractors are needed. These workers sometimes work only eight, six, four months out of the year – and prefer it that way. Often, they also find a recurring gig they like and then stick with it year after year. That leaves behind a shallower talent pool of available workers. The best way to land the highest-quality seasonal contractors, then, is to develop a robust network of freelancers, with whom you build strong relationships that are maintained year round – even during the off season – and line up agreements as early as possible.
PeopleCaddie makes it easy to evaluate contractors using our talent cloud. See how it works here.