How to Win Over AI During the Hiring Process

This article originally appeared in The Sun in April 2023. 

ARTIFICIAL intelligence has hit headlines with Tesla boss Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak calling for a six-month halt on research into it.

But the tech is already used to screen job app­lications.

Here HR expert Tim Rowley, from the platform, reveals how to win over the AI hiring managers.

1. Include your LinkedIn URL in your CV.

AI bots can check your LinkedIn profile to verify content in your CV, confirm your contact details, and identify connections who can be strong references.

2. Use AI tools to optimise your CV and cover letter.

Tailoring these can take time, so explore AI chatbots and prompt them to help you alter the wording you use.

But ensure what the bots suggest is still accurate.

3. Put your skills in context. Nowadays bots are advanced enough to analyse your skills.

Ensure you list yours and also demonstrate how you use them at work.

4. Prepare for your first interview/screening to be by AI.

Consider using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, to generate a set of common questions, based on the job description, to practise answering.

Bots can also be trained to evaluate your clothes so dress appropriately.

5. Maintain a professional online presence.

Because AI can alert employers to undesirable or inappropriate social media content.

If you’re interested in working with AI to make the most of your job search, join the PeopleCaddie Talent Network and receive notifications for jobs you’re interested in.

kmulletHow to Win Over AI During the Hiring Process

Unlock the Power of AI in Recruiting to Position Yourself for Your Dream Job

Are you tired of having to rewrite your resume multiple times or endlessly searching online for the perfect job? What if there was a way to make the process easier and gain an advantage over other applicants? The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing recruiting, and it’s not just employers that benefit – job seekers can use AI too! With AI technology at your fingertips, you have the potential to write tailored cover letters and format resumes specifically crafted to match job requirements. Whether you’re actively looking for a new opportunity, are working as a contractor, or want to stay on top of trends in the current workplace – discovering how you can maximize AI tools helps put you on track for success in finding your dream job. Learn more about leveraging this cutting-edge technology below!

Understand the Impact of AI on the Recruiting Process

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the recruiting process and changing the way employers hire. With AI in recruitment, employers can now quickly identify the best candidates within a large pool of applicants. AI-based applicant tracking systems can screen resumes, track candidate engagement, and even conduct initial interviews. The use of AI is not only saving time but also enables recruiters to make better data-driven decisions. As a result, candidates need to change the traditional way of positioning themselves to match the new AI-driven recruitment processes. Understanding the impact of AI on recruiting processes will give job seekers an edge in the job market and help them stand out from the rest.

AI Job Search Tips to Automatically Generate a Customized Resume & Cover Letter

When it comes to applying for a new job, having a customized resume and cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and being passed over. But let’s face it – not everyone has the time or skills to tailor their application to each specific position. That’s where leveraging AI can come in handy. With the right tools, you can automatically generate a unique resume and cover letter that are tailored to the position you’re applying for. It’s a game-changer for job seekers who want to stand out from the crowd and increase their chances of getting hired. So why not let technology work for you and make the job search process a little bit easier?

Use AI to Research Companies and Spot Trends in Hiring Practices

As you prepare for an interview or networking opportunity, use this powerful tool to help you do your research. AI can be a game-changer when it comes to researching companies or people and spotting trends in hiring practices. However, it’s important to note that AI is not always up to date and may not be able to identify nuances in hiring practices that a human would. Therefore, while these tools can be incredibly useful, they should be used with caution, and combined with your own research for a more comprehensive view of a company or person. Nonetheless, the potential of AI in this field is undoubtedly exciting and worthy of exploration.

Utilize Text Analysis Tools to Perfect Your Pitch & Target Your Resume

If you’re looking to nail your next interview, text analysis tools might just be your secret weapon. These innovative tools can help you analyze job postings, company websites, and even your own resume to tailor your pitch and improve your candidacy. By using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, these programs can identify important keywords and skills that you’ll want to incorporate into your resume and interview answers. With the market as competitive as it is, it’s never been more important to prepare for the interview process as thoroughly as possible. By utilizing text analysis tools, you’ll be in the best position to stand out from other candidates and land your dream job.

Take Advantage of Chatbots to Interact with Potential Employers and Answer Questions

With the rise of chatbots, job seekers have the opportunity to interact with potential employers and ask questions in a new way. These automated messaging systems are designed to simulate human conversation and provide quick and efficient responses. By taking advantage of chatbots, job seekers can show effort and curiosity, which are highly desired traits by employers. Don’t wait for an invitation to ask questions about the company or position. Initiate the conversation and demonstrate your interest in the company. Chatbots can be a powerful tool to make a memorable impression and increase your chances of landing a job.

AI is transforming the recruiting process for employers and job seekers alike. There are a multitude of ways that job seekers can leverage AI to give themselves an edge in the competitive job market. From automated resume writers to text analysis tools, there is a wide variety of innovative technologies available to job seekers needing to boost their chances. Taking advantage of the power of AI can catapult your career forward by ensuring that you have the tools necessary to stay one step ahead of others in your field.

PeopleCaddie combines revolutionary AI technology with proprietary algorithms to match contractors with potential recruiters and professionals within their field. Start taking advantage of AI in the job search today by joining our contractor network.

kmulletUnlock the Power of AI in Recruiting to Position Yourself for Your Dream Job

The Protect Laid-Off Workers Act: Breaking It Down

The recent raft of layoffs in the U.S. technology sector has brought renewed attention to the federal WARN Act. Passed in 1998, the legislation required employers with more than 100 workers to provide those employees with at least 60 days’ notice when a business will be closed or mass layoffs are planned. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is still regarded as the golden rule in Silicon Valley for such situations.

But there’s a significant caveat that comes with the legislation: The WARN Act doesn’t cover contractors. That’s a significant provision given the number of independent contractors working today – not just in Silicon Valley, but across the country. In light of the recent handling of layoffs at Twitter and certain other companies, California has proposed the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act – legislation that would not only build in new layers of worker protections but also extend to contractors. Here’s what it means to those involved:

How the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act Affects Contractors

Under California’s proposal, the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act includes several significant differences that essentially beef up the federal WARN Act:

  • All employers laying off more than 50 workers at a time must give employees 90 days’ notice
  • Employers would be prohibited from pressuring workers to sign waivers, nondisclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements in exchange for severance pay
  • Employers in violation of the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act would be liable for civil penalties in addition to back pay
  • Contractors would be covered the same as permanent employees under California’s proposal

The Protect Laid-Off Workers Act is a well-intentioned reaction to recent events that will add safeguards that should be welcomed by anyone who values worker rights and, specifically, the contributions of the contractor community. The legislation attempts to correct a loophole in the WARN Act that couldn’t have been anticipated 25 years ago, before the flourishing of the contingent labor market. For contractors, the proposal would help reduce or prevent unexpected gaps between gigs while keeping employers from strong-arming cut employees into giving up their rights.

How the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act Affects Employers

As deserving as independent contractors are of the protections tied to California’s proposal, the legislation would dramatically alter the contingent labor economy – and in a way that could not only handcuff employers but also bring unintended harm to workers.

A company that employs dozens of contractors across multiple departments may be reluctant to spearhead new initiatives under the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act, which would add layers of complexity and risk to building timelines around the contract terms of contingent laborers. A notice requirement of 60-90 days under the new legislation would eliminate much of the flexibility from 3- and 6-month contracts, for instance. The effect could stifle innovation and even discourage the use of contractors, which no one wants.

Similar legislation doesn’t end at California’s borders. In New Jersey, the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (better known as the NJ WARN Act) takes effect in April, and other states may soon follow suit with their own versions. In the days ahead, state lawmakers will need to take special care to strike a balance that protects contractors while ensuring the continued health of the contingent labor market.

For more insights on the labor market, check out the PeopleCaddie blog.

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Return to Work Programs: What You Need to Know

As recently as five years ago, a significant gap in a job candidate’s resume would have been a dealbreaker for many hiring companies. But after the pandemic pushed hundreds of thousands of workers into caregiver roles and early retirements, numerous organizations have experienced difficulty staffing up in the corporate growth cycle that has followed. Particularly in specialized sectors of industry (technology, for example), an extended hiatus from the working world is no longer the red flag it once was. In fact, some companies are even actively courting these candidates with return-to-work programs.

Returnships and return-to-work programs are designed to provide support, training and mentorship to employees seeking to reboot their careers after an extended absence from the workforce. These programs typically provide participants with short-term, paid assignments or internships that allow them to refresh their skills, gain new knowledge and get up to speed on the latest trends and technologies in their field.

For the sponsoring organizations, return-to-work programs can be a supplementary pipeline to access skilled, experienced professionals who may only require a bit of seasoning before being ready to bring their abilities to bear. The number of return-to-work initiatives has more than doubled since 2016, with employers from Amazon and Pepsi to Deloitte and Morgan Stanley launching programs, and other companies endeavoring to grow and augment their own. If you’re a worker who has been out of rotation for even just a year, here’s how to approach your own return to work.

How to Approach Return-to-Work Programs

Tell a compelling story. Writing a snappy cover letter and preparing to dazzle recruiters in interviews are good rules of thumb for any job seekers, but they’re mission-critical for candidates who have been on the shelf for long periods. Reluctant retirees and overtaxed parents affected by COVID’s fallout are likely to encounter sympathetic ears during their job search, but they should still be prepared to rationalize their absence from the workforce. Others should be ready with a locked-and-loaded narrative. “I just needed the break” won’t get a candidate very far with a hiring manager. But “I used my downtime to explore my interest in entrepreneurship,” then following up with a few details, shows drive and an evolving skill set.

Investigate situation-specific programs. Plenty of returnship and return-to-work programs serve the general employee population, but it’s worth doing some digging to learn about any initiatives that align with your individual circumstances. Working mothers have traditionally faced a mountain of challenges over the years, but the alternative – taking extended time away from the workforce to raise children – can be just as daunting. Thankfully, those candidates can turn to programs like The Mom Project, which helps connect mothers with companies eager to work with them and provides upskill opportunities to improve moms’ chances to land preferred positions.

Consider all your options. If you’re a returner who has had no luck landing a job on the open market, return-to-work programs can help. But don’t limit yourself. Be sure to examine any independent contracting opportunities that can help you hop back on the career ladder – or find a foothold in a new area. Many businesses want a contractor with recent experience and the ability to hit the ground running, which means a returner coming off a long work absence may not be the ideal fit. But with unemployment still near record lows and specialized talent in especially high demand, you may be surprised to find some work suitors willing to think (and hire) outside the box.

For more labor market insights, check out the PeopleCaddie blog.

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AI Candidate Search Evolving Hiring Strategies

Working in human resources and talent acquisition today means facing the same fears that spooked auto workers back in the 1970s and ‘80s: advanced machinery that automates manual tasks – and threatens the livelihood of the humans currently performing them. Artificial intelligence may be a modern marvel and a potential boon to companies’ bottom lines, but the hum of progress sounds far more pleasant from the chair of the executive or board member than it does, say, inside the walls of the HR department. Or does it? There’s no doubt that AI is changing how organizations search for and evaluate prospects — AI candidate search is being tested in corporations around the world — and it seems just as certain that these changes will affect the jobs of hiring professionals.

But when? And in which ways, exactly? Should the folks currently tasked with talent acquisition be polishing up their own resumes right now, or might AI’s influence simply make their professional lives easier? Let’s first consider how companies are using AI and the changes the technology has already had in the industry.

How Companies Are Currently Leveraging AI Candidate Search

Sifting through resumes is a long, labor-intensive process, and humans simply aren’t equipped with the processing power to give equal consideration to hundreds of applications for a single job. That’s where AI steps in, identifying attractive prospects based on keywords, phrases, and other pre-selected qualifiers and narrowing down the field to a number that allows for more scrutiny and critical thinking from hiring professionals.

But that’s just the simple stuff. AI is capable of much more: If you have a LinkedIn account, for instance, chances are you’ve been engaging with artificial intelligence in a talent acquisition setting for years. Job recommendations that are emailed to members and contacts from recruiters are generated or facilitated by AI. It’s even possible that the message from a hiring professional was written by an AI-powered chatbot. And it should be noted: These advances have yet to curtail opportunities for human beings in the talent acquisition space, which is thriving like never before.

The Future of AI in Hiring

Consider a scenario: An Atlanta-based company is in urgent need of filling its director of marketing role, which has very specific specifications. The organization wants the new hire to work in the office 2-3 days a week, which immediately limits the talent pool to a 30-mile radius around headquarters. The company is looking for a specific skill set and a prospect who is interested and available, which likely indicates a contractor rather than someone already in a permanent position. AI candidate search has the power to supercharge this process, but it can’t generate those inputs on its own. Nor would any sane executive leave the ultimate decision of who to hire to a machine. What ultimately matters to the company is that AI helped its people arrive at the decision faster – and beat the competition to the ideal hire.

As industry invests more capital in AI initiatives – and companies are doing, and will continue to do, just that – the evolution of the technology can be expected to accelerate further. (The introduction of ChatGPT-4 in November 2022, for example, represents a quantum leap forward.) AI’s burgeoning capabilities will lead to the automation of more human tasks and, at some point in the future, likely lead to the downsizing of certain traditional talent acquisition roles.

But we aren’t there yet. At the same time that Meta has publicly staked its future on AI, it has cut 11,000 jobs – with another 10,000 layoffs to come. And Facebook’s parent company isn’t alone. The entire technology space is still reckoning with last year’s overzealous hiring spree, which means the “AI takeover” may manifest as more of a slow creep than a dead sprint. 

More importantly, there will always be a need for the human touch in hiring. AI can’t properly perform its function without up-front inputs from hiring professionals. Its results will need to be carefully and constantly scrutinized for biases, and the inputs adjusted accordingly. And there are complexities in hiring that even the most dynamic AI tools can’t fully account for. People will indeed need to adapt to the changes brought on by AI – but they aren’t in any danger of being replaced by it.

Interested in learning more about how you can augment HR initiatives with technology? Check out how the PeopleCaddie talent cloud.

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Tech Layoffs: What They Mean for the Labor Market

Recent waves of layoffs in the technology sector have received plenty of mainstream attention, from shock at the sheer numbers involved to concerns over how they may handcuff ethical tech innovation. But what has been discussed less often in the public forum are the real-life effects of those cuts on the future job prospects of the tens of thousands of people recently turned loose by tech companies.

Amid recent reports that Salesforce was considering another round of layoffs – adding to the 10 percent of the CRM software company’s workforce that was lopped from its rolls in January – it’s impossible for anyone following the tech sector (and employment in general) to wonder: What happens next? Should we expect other organizations in the space to continue downsizing? Can progress – true product-and-services innovation, not just smoke-and-mirrors growth on quarterly reports – be achieved with the skeleton crews left behind? And what does it all mean for the workers currently on the outside looking in?

How Contractors Can Help Companies Avoid Layoffs in Technology 

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the recent tech layoffs is the lack of evidence that they even work. Reducing staff may be the swiftest and boldest way to demonstrate to a board of directors and the public that a company’s leadership is serious about cutting costs and achieving solvency. But if anything, research on the subject suggests that payroll-slashing organizations may simply be trading long-term pain for short-term relief.

Even if the intention of these companies is to simply rebalance their workforces, it’s important for everyone involved to understand how we arrived here. High times and ambitious initiatives led to a gold rush on tech talent in 2022 – just ahead of a gut punch of an economic downturn. Could those conditions have been anticipated? More importantly, is there a way for savvy organizations to strive for growth while hedging against exactly these sorts of unforeseen market declines?

The easy answer is yes. Cultivating and strategically curating an independent contractor workforce may be the best method for companies – in tech or otherwise – to avoid over-committing to permanent staff while continuing to take steps toward meeting their organizational goals. Even now, in the aftermath of (or perhaps amid) the waves of layoffs in the tech sector, employers have an opportunity to sift through the best available prospects to land skilled talent that they may not have previously been able to access.

An Open Window of Opportunity

For all the professional chaos and personal heartache that layoffs in technology have caused over the past few months, there is a silver lining of sorts – and not only for employers. No worker wishes for the rug to be pulled out from under their feet, but the reality is that a layoff in the tech sector at this time can create a window for professional advancement. Top tech companies that have scaled back staff won’t simply sit on their hands until the economy turns again. Objectives must be met. Growth must be spurred. Talent must be acquired to meet these demands.

Independent contractors are often paid at higher rates than permanent employees, and contracting can offer the foothold into a coveted company that a worker searching for a staff position may have otherwise been denied. Opportunities to hone new competencies or pad a resume with experience working for a preferred employer are some of the advantages of contract work.

And PeopleCaddie can help. Whether you’re an employer needing specialized, short-term help or a skilled candidate searching for new and more lucrative opportunities, PeopleCaddie can connect you with the resources you need. Our proprietary platform allows prospects to add their profiles to our contractor network, from which our partner clients identify the talent that best fits their needs. In and outside the technology space, PeopleCaddie quickly connects employers and employees in professional engagements that reward workers and organizations alike.

If you’ve recently been laid off, you may want to consider entering the contingent labor pool. Contact PeopleCaddie to find out how our talent cloud helps contingent laborers build their businesses.

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The Shadow Workforce: Rallying Support

Headlines dominating recent news cycles have grimly tallied the number of layoffs at high-profile corporations, especially those among organizations in the technology sector. The figures measure the toll on permanent employees, but they almost never include the job cuts among contingent laborers. There’s a reason this group sometimes goes by another name: the shadow workforce.

Too often, there are workers who go unrecognized or unaccounted for by organizations, industries or governments. They may be temps, freelancers, gig workers or independent contractors, and may work off the books or outside of traditional employment channels. Even in professional settings, where employees tend to escape the sometimes-harsh treatment of seasonal and migrant workers, and other blue-collar temps, members of the shadow workforce may face unfair labor practices, lack certain rights and protections, and receive unequal compensation for the same work as permanent employees.

These workers are far less visible, but no less valuable than their permanent counterparts – even as the former group outnumbers the latter in many organizations. Google, for instance, employed 120,000 permanent employees as of March 2019, while using 123,000 contractors and temps, according to the New York Times. But the company’s shadow workforce didn’t just find recognition elusive. Its members were often separated from the company’s permanent workforce in significant ways, not only being denied perks (such as free company shuttles to the office) but even basic safety considerations (an email regarding workplace security concerns that only permanent workers received).

The Value of the Shadow Workforce

It’s hard to imagine any industry today remaining productive and profitable without the contributions of the shadow workforce. Contingent workers provide specialized skills and expertise on an as-needed basis, providing organizations with access to valued human capital without the long-term commitment and overhead costs associated with permanent employees.

This relationship can be a win-win, with contractors and other members of the shadow workforce often able to work at higher income rates and take advantage of flexibilities that may not be afforded to permanent employees. But this isn’t always the case. And the less attention that is paid to this workforce, the more likely its members are to be exploited or given fewer opportunities for pay increases, advancement and even more basic workplace considerations.

Shining a Light on the Shadow Workforce

Certain requirements under U.S. legislation should theoretically level the playing field for the shadow workforce. The WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) is a federal law that requires employers with 100 or more full-time employees to provide advance notice to workers ahead of a mass layoff or closure. Under the WARN Act, qualifying employers must give at least 60 days’ notice to workers – in writing and including specific information about the event – or risk liability for back pay, benefits and possible civil penalties.

But many smaller companies use contractors, too, meaning that members of the shadow workforce contracting at 30-, 60- and 90-employee operations are unprotected by the WARN Act. And although many companies treat their contingent laborers with dignity and fairness, there are too few protections in general for the shadow workforce. Given their ability to allow organizations to scale operations and staff projects as needed, the shadow workforce is an incredibly valuable commodity to industry – a group that should be celebrated, nurtured and safeguarded from exploitative practices.

Want to learn more about how you can leverage contingent labor? Contact a PeopleCaddie representative today.

sgruenThe Shadow Workforce: Rallying Support

Step Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Whether explicitly or unofficially, employers have always classified their workers based on those employees’ perceived utility to the company. To be clear, this classification doesn’t fall along the lines of permanent workers and contractors, full-timers and part-timers, or staff employees and temps. It’s about value. Even if organizations no longer publicly refer to workers using phrases such as “skilled” or “unskilled” labor, they still categorize their employees in other telling ways. When technology companies think about their contract workers, for instance, they tend to label them as “critical talent” or “support staff.”

Critical talent usually includes employees who write code or provide specialized, difficult-to-replace labor that is key to driving revenue. Support staff can encompass many types of employees, but they generally are viewed by the company as being less essential than their “critical” counterparts.

What may seem surprising about this dynamic – and what should be considered most important to contractors – is that an employee’s status can shift over time. A worker who may be deemed “critical” upon hiring may find themselves in a supporting role if, for instance, the innovation project they were brought aboard to complete is suddenly decommissioned by leadership. This may be doubly concerning to contractors, who are generally considered to be more expendable than permanent workers. So it begs the question: How does a contractor go about stepping up from support staff – or, if they’re already there – maintaining their status as a member of an organization’s critical talent?

How Employers Assess Contractor Value

Generally speaking, the process companies follow when evaluating their talent amounts to a two-dimensional analysis: reviewing a worker’s skillset and examining the total expense that employee represents on the company’s bottom line. But much of the evaluation hinges on that first component.

Consider a scenario: A tech contractor is hired to shore up a hot project for which the company has high aspirations. But within two years the initiative fails to pan out, so leadership decides to reduce or eliminate the company’s investment in that area. In the meantime, the worker’s skill set hasn’t changed – and, in fact, has probably been enhanced. But those skills no longer align with the organization’s strategic priorities. This is how a contractor with specialized expertise, a worker who may be highly valued by the general market, can suddenly find themselves with a target on their back.

How to Play a ‘Critical’ Role

The same recommendations given to any worker with career ambitions or concerns about job security apply to contractors seeking to stay on the right side of the support/critical axis: take advantage of training opportunities, learn how other areas of the business interact with yours, make efforts to be a strong collaborator and team player. But returning to our theoretical tech contractor, there’s even more work that can be done.

For any specialized tech talent, it may seem to go without saying, but it is crucial to stay on the cutting edge of technology. The tech world moves quickly, and there is always new talent coming up that has more recent schooling or training on new innovations. Additionally, keeping your profile and resume updated to reflect your key skills – and any training or experience in new technologies – can be a differentiator

Equally as important, however, is periodically taking an objective look at your organization’s strategic priorities. If your own skills and experiences align with those priorities, you’re more likely to land in the company’s critical talent group. If, on the other hand, you seem to fit into your organization’s support staff, you’ll want to seek out specialized training or volunteer for opportunities in areas that are higher priorities (read: revenue drivers) to the company. Network to find mentors or advocates in departments that are more closely aligned with the company’s goals than your own department. Make your efforts transparent so that management and perhaps leadership are aware that you understand organizational objectives and are taking a proactive approach to making them your own.

Interested in learning more about PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud? Here is how talent clouds help improve a company’s HR strategy.

sgruenStep Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Part-Time Executives: Everything You Need to Know

One of the more significant effects of the pandemic on the business world was the mass rethinking of work-life balance that followed. For some, that meant carving out more free time, travel opportunities or work-from-home flexibility. For others, it meant answering a simple but hugely significant question: Should I continue working at all? Most of the attention around the topic has landed on rank-and-file workers, but they weren’t alone in pondering these thoughts. Many executives who had already spent years (and in some cases decades) serving in C-suite positions also sought change. On the surface, that might have seemed implausible: Companies typically have high expectations of the time and focus their leaders invest in their duties. But as employee empowerment has grown in recent years, business has begun adapting and developing new opportunities based on the shifting tides. In the same way that other workers have recently discovered more flexibility and fulfillment in contract work, many C-suiters are finding a new, gratifying professional path as part-time executives and through consulting engagements.

Why Part-Time Executives Are on the Rise

As front-line workers have used their leverage to push for – and earn – more consideration from employers in recent years, C-suiters have gotten in on the act, too. More executives are negotiating nontraditional arrangements with employers, especially as companies are discovering the advantages of bringing on “fractional” leadership.

“This is a solution to a problem that a lot of small- to medium-sized, rapidly growing companies have, which is they need certain sets of skills in order to grow effectively,” Jesper Sørensen, an organizational behavior professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, recently told the Wall Street Journal. “But oftentimes they don’t have enough scale to get the kind of experience and expertise that they really want.”

So will the C-suite of tomorrow resemble the contingent workforce of today? To a certain extent, yes. Fractional executives can bring extensive experience and valued thought leadership to businesses that otherwise might not be able to afford a full-time exec with similar expertise. And because fractional executives essentially operate as contractors, they reap benefits by working on their own terms, sometimes for more than one client at a time, while continuing to build their executive resume in positions such as chief financial officer or chief marketing officer.

The downside for an executive working on a part-time or contingent basis? Although wages can still be lucrative, companies are paying only for an exec’s time – likely something in the range of the going rate, but at a percentage of a typical full-time C-suite salary. Additionally, compensation for fractional leaders (like so many contractors) likely doesn’t include health benefits. Bonuses, pensions, stock options and other components of the traditional executive compensation package may also be harder to come by for leaders in a fractional arrangement.

The PeopleCaddie Advantage

Executives who might be interested in increased flexibility in both their lifestyle and professional opportunities might be reluctant to give up their benefits, and may also view part-time employment as a downgrade of sorts. But PeopleCaddie helps turn both of these potential disadvantages into plusses for aspiring fractional leaders.

A talent cloud that strives to find superb mutual fits between contractors and employers, PeopleCaddie uses a proprietary platform to put executives in front of top companies – many that are open, and even eager, to explore fractional relationships with C-suite leaders. PeopleCaddie also offers its contractors health insurance benefits, which would provide a semi-retired exec both schedule flexibility and peace of mind while allowing another C-suiter to earn like a full-time exec but engage multiple companies and expand their opportunities. Nothing “fractional” about that.

If you’re an executive looking to remain in the workforce under more flexible circumstances, PeopleCaddie can help. Contact us today to add yourself to our talent cloud.

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Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Many organizations today have talent needs for seasonal or project work, while others find that fluctuating business demands require a flexible, on-demand workforce. Independent contractors can be an excellent solution to both challenges. But the savviest businesses don’t simply hire contingent laborers as needed – they take measures to learn the value of those workers, identify how to best deploy them and then build a comprehensive contractor strategy that optimizes their skill sets and availability. Part of that process includes regular evaluation of a company’s strategy and looks to build contractor relationships.

The Importance of Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Most organizations that employ independent contractors already keenly understand what contingent labor brings to the table: virtually instant access to specialized, high-quality expertise. A contractor’s terms of engagement – as needed, and without the commitment and administrative overhead associated with permanent employees – help make for an affordable, flexible contingent workforce. But taking a plug-and-chug approach to contractor hiring, while possible, sells short the benefits this talent pool can deliver.

Any company that employs (or is considering employing) contingent laborers would do well to follow these basic steps toward making the most of that workforce:

  • Conduct a full-scale assessment of short- and long-term production needs, workflow projections, and staffing estimations
  • Create and curate an in-house network of trusted contractors with proprietary knowledge of your business
  • Engage a third-party hiring agency or talent cloud, such as PeopleCaddie, to recruit additional experienced, high-quality contractors

From there, consider quarterly, annual and/or end-of-term relationship evaluations with all of your independent contractors – even those you plan not to use again or who are believed to be underperformers. Sometimes they can tell you more about your business – and specifically about pain points in the employer-contractor connection – than your best contractors can.

End-of-term relationship evaluations may be the most valuable of all. A worker who has fulfilled their contract with a company will still have fresh thoughts about their employer and potentially fewer inhibitions about full transparency in a post-employment interview. They likely also will have begun or just completed the process of finding their next contract, a period during which they’re thinking critically about what they want to get out of their contractor engagements.

Questions to Ask Contractors as Part of Evaluations

So you’ve scheduled meetings with each of your independent contractors to discuss their relationships with your company. What now? Is there a standard line of questioning for each? And what do you do with all that feedback once you’ve gathered it?

Simplify your approach to independent contractor relationship evaluations as much as possible. Codify certain questions about the company, separate departments and a contractor’s specific role. Spend a little time with each contractor’s supervisor to develop a few unique questions – these can lead to key insights. Be sure to ask every contractor at the end of the conversation if they would like to discuss anything they weren’t asked about or have anything further to add. The content of questions could cover (but need not be limited to) an employee’s performance, professional aspirations, morale and more.

Compare feedback from standard (and similar) questions and home in on common themes and details. Closely examine and discuss feedback from the individually customized questions. Gather leadership and supervisors to discuss broad findings, then discuss the disparate finer points of contractor feedback individually with supervisors.

There’s no single step-by-step approach to evaluating contractor relationships, but every company can benefit from developing their own best practices. Investing time and organizing resources to ensure a robust and regular evaluation process can lead to better decisions about the contractors you hire, stronger retention rates and more productivity over time.

PeopleCaddie can help your organization develop more relationships with contractors.

sgruenEvaluating Contractor Relationships