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Long COVID and the Workforce: How It Impacts Independent Contractors

Sick of hearing about the pandemic? You aren’t alone. But imagine instead, more than a year after COVID peaked in the United States, still being sick because of the pandemic. Long COVID isn’t a myth or a triviality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the condition, which affects people who have previously been infected with the COVID virus, can include symptoms such as severe fatigue, respiratory issues, brain fog, depression and anxiety, and may linger for months or years. And beyond the human toll, research suggests Long COVID and the workforce is costing business, too — particularly the independent contractor market.

A recent Brookings Institute report found that about 16 million working-age (18-65) Americans currently have Long COVID, and among them as many as 4 million are out of work because of the condition. That’s an enormous drag on the job economy – roughly the equivalent of a third of the nation’s current labor shortage. No specifics were offered as part of the report, but undoubtedly a significant number of those absences represent the independent contractor market. With no clear end to the effects of Long COVID in sight, what other implications might the condition have for the contractor market?

More Options and Flexibility

For those coping with the physical effects of Long COVID, work may be the furthest thing from their minds. But for those whose symptoms are somewhat milder, or for those who feel they have no choice but to grind through them in order to pay the bills, there may be some comfort in knowing that work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair.

Employers struggling to overcome the labor shortage, forced to think out of the box, are increasingly looking to nontraditional roles and employees to bridge the gap. Flex work, remote roles, part-time hours, work-as-needed – any of these opportunities may be available to a contractor. And when it isn’t specifically cited in a job listing, just ask. You might be surprised by what you hear back from an employer.

Today, there are more opportunities than ever to work remotely, part-time, and on shorter contracts – all of which could make the difference between a Long COVID sufferer earning enough to get by or earning nothing at all. Thousands of these jobs are listed on the PeopleCaddie platform, allowing contractors in our network the flexibility to avoid a commute, work comfortably in their own homes, and select positions and projects that suit their individual situations best.

Health Benefits When They’re Needed Most

In addition to opening doors financially, PeopleCaddie can help offer peace of mind – especially to those still in need of ongoing medical care. Many retirees have supplemental health insurance plans, but that still leaves a vast majority of those estimated 4 million out-of-work Long COVID sufferers without coverage – at a time when they likely need access to medical care more than ever.

Every PeopleCaddie contractor who signs on to the platform as a W2 employee has the opportunity to join our health insurance plan. It’s a perk that all our contractors find valuable, whether they are pushing through a chronic illness, have a family, or are just looking out for their well-being. For single parents, individuals caring for an elderly family member, Long COVID sufferers and any others facing special circumstances, PeopleCaddie provides more flexibility to earn and ensure your health.

sgruenLong COVID and the Workforce: How It Impacts Independent Contractors

Reasons Contracting Beats Full-Time Work

Since the onset of the Great Resignation, many workers are approaching their careers, and employment in general, with a new outlook. Job candidates that may have only considered traditional full-time work in the past are now weighing the benefits of independent contracting. And there are many reasons contracting beats full-time work.

The flexibility and variety of contract work offers freelancers the ability to live life on their own terms – live where they want to live, work when they want to work, care for loved ones, travel, you name it. Although full-time employment works for some, anyone in the job market should be aware that there are other viable paths – some of them that may suit you best. With that, here are five ways contracting beats full-time work:

Schedule

The primary reason contracting beats full-time work is the flexibility it provides. Many contract positions are work-from-home setups, allowing contractors to skip the commute, take care of children or family, or just work in a comfortable environment. The ability to pick and choose contracts allows freelancers to build new skills and keep their work-life fresh while helping them carve out more personal time between projects if they like.

Compensation

Contractors typically make more money per hour than their full-time counterparts, but there are a number of reasons it pays to freelance. For instance, 1099 employees are able to deduct business expenses, which results in lower tax liability and more cash in their pockets. And because projects usually require specialized skills (and thus pay more), contractors can work fewer hours for the same amount of money – particularly in specific sectors, such as accounting and information technology.

There’s more: A full-time, salaried employee might work 60 hours per week and not be paid for that extra time. But a contractor gets to bill for every hour, so any overtime is compensated. And what about inflation? Full-time employees are stuck at a pay rate that won’t be adjusted for an increased cost of living (which, incidentally, we’re experiencing now). Meanwhile, a contractor can adjust their hourly rates as needed to earn the market rate and adjust for inflation.

Meaningful Work

Contractors have the ability to pivot to different projects and clients much more easily than traditional full-time employees. Whether you have a sense of duty or wanderlust, freelancing means never having to stay in one place too long.

Let’s say an IT professional wants to learn a new skill or broaden their experience in a specific area, and their best option is working for a company with a large carbon footprint. If protecting the climate is important to them, perhaps they contract for a short time – long enough to sharpen that skill – and then move on to a carbon-neutral employer when the time is right. Independent contractors have the agility to switch projects as they see fit, for any reason.

Advancement Opportunities

Contractors don’t necessarily have to jump from client to client to build their careers. While working for a single client, a contractor can take on increasingly higher-level assignments and potentially work their way up to the management level within a company. And for a contractor who finds the perfect fit, sometimes projects can even lead to a full-time offer with an employer who finds value in that employee’s work.

Remote Work

Working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. Want to hit the beach? Bring your laptop! Remote work allows a contractor to move anywhere in the country (or even out of the country) and still work in a specific field. And for the remote worker who lives in a low-cost area but whose employer pays in accordance with the higher cost of living where headquarters is located, contract work can even translate to yet another financial benefit.

There are advantages to both full-time and contract work, of course. But if you value flexibility and the ability to modulate your life-work balance, contracting might be the better choice for you.

Looking to shift to contract work? Set up your profile on PeopleCaddie and start searching for contract jobs today.

sgruenReasons Contracting Beats Full-Time Work

Ways the Inflation Reduction Act Affects the Job Economy

The Inflation Reduction Act recently signed into law by President Biden is expected to create 9 million jobs over the next decade, primarily in the clean energy sector. That is, by all accounts, a positive development for the job economy. But it also presents some logistical challenges that will ripple across industries and keep businesses occupied creating solutions for the foreseeable future.

The Blue Green Alliance prepared a breakdown of the different jobs expected to be created by the Inflation Reduction Act, outlining the sectors where they’ll be added – including clean energy, clean manufacturing, clean transportation, efficient buildings, environmental justice and natural infrastructure. The upshot: The largest piece of legislation to date aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change holds the promise of more fulfilling jobs, greater skill development and higher pay for those employed in these sectors. But let’s first consider what it means to the companies tasked with hiring for all those jobs.

Impact on Employers

The first thing hiring organizations should know is that jobs created by the Inflation Reduction Act will be rolled out over the next decade. In other words, employers won’t wake up tomorrow to find themselves competing for talent in a job economy blown wide open by 9 million new positions.

However, concerns that the labor pool is thinning are valid: Baby Boomers are already retiring, and many more will reach retirement age soon – a significant knowledge and expertise drain as a generation with enormous numbers exits the workforce. According to CNBC, about 4 million baby boomers are retiring each year. Subsequent generations don’t have the same sheer numbers to meet the demands of newly vacant positions, let alone fill those that this legislation eventually will create. Employees who move into these new jobs will also leave vacancies elsewhere. And because international work visas have been reduced in recent years, fewer employees from abroad are available to help buoy the job economy and ease the transition.

A shallow labor pool puts a strain on the hiring apparatus of many companies, but employers aren’t completely out of options. One of their most flexible and efficient alternatives: independent contractors.

Good for Employees

For Generation Z, the verdict is in: acceptable terms of employment no longer begin and end at a competitive salary and good benefits. Many Zoomers crave the flexibility and variety they find in contract work. Gen Z, currently the youngest generation engaged in the professional labor market, also have made a priority of landing fulfilling jobs in industries that engage their passions. A top choice: climate change.

In the coming years, the Inflation Reduction Act will help create millions of positions in the climate change field – and not only for engineers and installers, but for accountants, auditors, and many other industry-adjacent workers. Growth and advancement opportunities will abound. And because highly-skilled contractors tend to place more value on work-life balance than past generations, the chance to contract for businesses in this space – maybe for a few hours a day, or for only six months at a time – figure to be wholeheartedly welcomed by a wave of workers due to spend the next 30-40 years in the workforce. That’s a boon not only for employees, but also for employers.

As organizations related to climate change siphon off workers from other industries in the years ahead, many businesses will need to stay nimble to fill the void left behind. PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud has the power to make quick, rewarding connections – whether you’re a contractor seeking work or an employer seeking workers.

Looking for contract work? Check out the jobs available in PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud.

sgruenWays the Inflation Reduction Act Affects the Job Economy

Should You Hire Based on Skills or Experience?

With another half million jobs added to the U.S. employment rolls in July, and amid a dearth of applicants for jobs, hiring managers are changing the way they recruit talent. Traditionally, they have pored over resumes, checking them for qualifying education and experience. Today, however, artificial intelligence-based application reviewers, combined with applicant testing that can confirm whether a candidate has the skills for a particular job, are causing hiring managers to look at the process in a different light. It all begs the question: should you hire based on skills or experience?

When Skills Stand Out

Hiring managers often find they need to fill a position quickly, and with the advent of AI-based recruitment, they can now turn to skills-based assessments to determine if an applicant is right for a position. Sixteen percent of companies have even dropped degree requirements for jobs, looking instead to candidates who have completed skills “boot camps,” or self-study programs.

For example, a hiring manager is trying to fill a coding position. One applicant’s resume lists two years of experience coding in a language similar to the employer’s desired language. The applicant has worked on similar projects, so it can be assumed that they’re capable of working within a team environment. A second candidate has completed a boot camp specific to the desired language, but has no experience. Today’s hiring manager may take a second look at the coder who has taken the initiative to learn on their own time and can demonstrate knowledge of the language, knowing that it’s easier and less time-consuming to train an employee how to work as part of a team than it is to build their technical proficiencies.

Evaluating ‘Soft Skills’

Skills-based assessments aren’t just being used for professional jobs, such as programming and accounting positions. They are also being used to evaluate so-called “soft skills” for positions in customer service, retail and hospitality. Candidates are asked to take assessments that present hypothetical customer service scenarios that help evaluate an applicant’s ability to work under pressure and provide excellent customer service.

Other soft skills that companies want to evaluate include communication, project management and time management. Hiring websites like Indeed.com offer assessments for these skills, and applicants can complete these assessments in addition to submitting a resume for consideration. Hiring Managers can also ask behavioral interview questions during the hiring process to get assess the soft skills needed for the position they’re hiring for.

The PeopleCaddie Difference

Whichever way you lean when evaluating a candidate for a particular role – determining whether you should hire based on skills or experience – PeopleCaddie can help. Each candidate in our PeopleCaddie independent contractor network is vetted by a human, not just a machine. Candidates’ project experience and skills are evaluated by experienced hiring managers and can be explained in nuanced detail to any interested employer. Candidates are also reviewed by engagement: Those companies that have employed contractors through PeopleCaddie can rate and leave feedback on their skills and the employers’ experience with them.

In an employment economy that continues to be a job seeker’s market, hiring managers may find it necessary to bend or reconsider their traditional hiring criteria. And whereas employers once found certain degrees and experience levels to be essential, bare-minimum qualifications for a job candidate, a single skills class may, in some cases, elevate a less educated and experienced applicant over others in the eyes of a hiring manager.

PeopleCaddie is attracting the next generation of employees to its talent cloud. Find out how we can help you hire highly-skilled contractors for your open roles.

sgruenShould You Hire Based on Skills or Experience?

Navigating Workforce Challenges Post-Pandemic: Why Contractors Are The Answer

In most parts of the country, we’re dealing with heat waves and the back-to-school hustle. Who’s thinking about winter? If they know what’s good for them, it’s corporate leaders and hiring managers. In March 2020, as business and commerce ground to a halt due to the Covid pandemic, companies were forced to quickly implement work-from-home programs, restructure communications and make other adjustments to keep employees and the public safe. They also learned soon enough that certain changes to the workforce may be required, and contingencies built in to account for future restructuring, should it be needed. It provided a framework for dealing with public health challenges.

Winter will force us indoors and closer together, and ultimately create viral conditions we can’t ignore. While companies are identifying workforce challenges post-pandemic, they can’t ignore the fast-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 Covid variants and the newly declared public health emergency of monkeypox. Companies may again have to confront the task of adapting and reorganizing a workforce on the fly. But this time they’ll know what’s in store.

What’s Coming This Winter?

In addition to Covid and monkeypox, flu season is nearly upon us and is among the public health challenges that companies may have to overcome. Health experts are looking to Australia to determine how severe the U.S. flu season will be – and the news is not good. The current flu season in Australia is its worst in five years, with children being hit the hardest.

We can assume that a percentage of American employees will come down with a flu virus that sends them home and removes them from a company’s operations for at least a short time. But more may be forced to stay home with sick children, or perhaps elderly relatives in their care. And when combined with other viral threats, and given the effects of long-tail Covid, the flu could leave some companies short-handed for long enough to make a contingency plan a must-have going into the winter.

Creating a Plan for Workforce Challenges

While committing to prevention measures, such as having employees stay home when they or a family member contracts a virus, companies must also keep the trains running on time, so to speak. A flexible workforce will be key to ensuring that projects stay on track and the needs of clients are met.

Example: Let’s say an employee tests positive for Covid but is asymptomatic. That worker can work from home until they’ve tested negative for the virus and can return to the office. In this same vein, parents who are Covid-negative but need to stay home to care for family may still be able to work, given that the infrastructure is there for most companies to accommodate work-from-home options.

Additionally, a hybrid work schedule might help slow the spread of these viruses within companies, reducing the time that employees spend face-to-face and allowing staff to spread out physically while sharing time in the office.

How Contractors Can Help

There will be times when employees are not only unable to come into the office but are also too sick to work. In these situations, it might be necessary to pull in a contractor or freelancer to take over for the sick employee. For instance, a CPA tests positive for Covid and is symptomatic. Even after testing negative for the virus, this employee might need to continue to recover at home, either because their symptoms are severe or they’re suffering from long-tail Covid. Public health challenges are very dynamic. 

This is where PeopleCaddie shines. Employers can access the PeopleCaddie talent cloud and select independent contractors to fill in for staff employees who are out of the office. Managers will know they are selecting from vetted contractors, and they may be able to select contractors that have worked with the company in the past. Some companies will even want to bring one or more freelancers on board in advance of the winter as a sort of insurance policy, onboarding and training contractors to gain experience and work on a limited basis until (and only if) there is a need to ramp up their hours to backfill while other workers are out.

Like it or not, winter is coming – and with it we can expect more cases of Covid, monkeypox and the flu. Companies that prepare now, putting the necessary contingencies in place, will be in the best shape as these challenges arrive.

Contractors are the next generation of employees. See how PeopleCaddie is attracting them to its talent cloud.

sgruenNavigating Workforce Challenges Post-Pandemic: Why Contractors Are The Answer

Resume Red Flags to Reconsider When Hiring

The labor market remains tight, which puts the onus on employers to review more candidates and perhaps open their minds to new possibilities – including former resume red flags or blemishes in a different light. Accordingly, examining resume blemishes has taken on new meaning.  

Whether it’s a prospect who bowed out of the job market to care for his children during the pandemic or an applicant who was let go under odd circumstances from a previous job, these resume blips may contain just-below-the-surface context that renders them moot. Being open to diverse applicants and digging into these circumstances during the hiring process can unearth quality candidates whose potential may not be expounded on their resumes.

In addition to recognizing the signs of false resume red flags, employers can use PeopleCaddie to help vet applicants prior to hiring, opening the talent pool to even more candidates.

Resume Red Flags That Shouldn’t Stop You From Interviewing a Candidate

Job Discontinuities

It’s August 2022, and a mid-career worker is attempting to reenter the workforce. She has spent the past 18 months caring for her father, who has been slow to recover from long-tail Covid. Her resume shows this stretch only as a gap in her employment history. But this gap had nothing to do with her job performance or employer’s satisfaction with her work.

In a post-Covid world – especially one with the limitations of a tight labor market – job discontinuities shouldn’t be immediately disqualifying for a prospect. A closer look at certain candidates with seemingly suspect work histories might reveal character that can rarely be identified on a resume or in a job interview. Examining resume red flags and asking for explanations regarding job discontinues could ensure good candidates aren’t lost based on inaccurate assumptions. 

Non-Traditional Employment History

Traditionally, hiring managers target applicants with recent references, while also looking for any evidence or indication that a candidate was let go by a previous employer. They might also keep an eye out for applicants who had been demoted, or for other perceived red flags – brief stints with employers or step-down moves. These are strategies that, in the past, may have been part of a reasonable early-stage culling process in a candidate search.

But as more of the talent pool turns to independent contracting, and as many workers reprioritize their work-life balance, these “blips” aren’t – or shouldn’t be – the disqualifiers they once were. Contracts are often meant to be temporary and short-term, and some applicants may balance contracts with other responsibilities, demonstrating a tireless work ethic. An employer may do their company a disservice by failing to fully clarify these details.

PeopleCaddie Vets Applicants 

With PeopleCaddie, our clients benefit from insights that can make or break their candidate search. Contractors in our network have been through a face-to-face interview in order to better understand their qualifications and work history, and every applicant who is put in front of a PeopleCaddie client has undergone a criminal background check. If a candidate has worked for other companies in our network, their profile may feature reviews that offer hiring managers additional information about a worker’s character and performance.

With unemployment still low and companies facing a dearth of top-quality talent, a deeper dive into resume blips, or discontinuities, should be part of the process of investigating any worthy independent contractor. At the least, a conversation around context – a step that PeopleCaddie takes for its clients – can help a company avoid the mistake of overlooking or writing off an excellent job candidate.

PeopleCaddie can help hiring managers examine resume blemishes. Find out how by clicking here.

sgruenResume Red Flags to Reconsider When Hiring

Attracting the Next Generation of Employees

Hiring managers, it’s time to pack up your Pokémon cards and download TikTok. Generation Z is entering the workforce, and its members have a different outlook on employment than their Millennial predecessors. Their priorities: influential jobs and careers, work-life balance and a work environment that values employee well-being. Companies that hope to tap into this tech-savvy, flexible-thinking workforce would do well to consider their approach and policies around those areas. It’s key to attracting Gen Z talent.

Attracting the next generation of employees requires organizations should start by focusing on the following items:

Location, Location, Location

Many workers on the post-pandemic employment landscape have discovered the joys of work outside the traditional in-office, Monday-through-Friday 9-to-5. But no group of workers has embraced nontraditional employment models more wholeheartedly than the newest generation of employees.

In a new report from ADP Research Institute titled “People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View,” the organization surveyed over 32,000 workers worldwide, finding that 71 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds said: “If my employer insisted on me returning to my workplace full-time, I would consider looking for another job.” That number easily tops the percentage of older workers who were asked the same question. The ability to work from home, at least on a part-time basis, is a key perk for Generation Z.

Making a Difference

Gen Z is the most hyper-informed age demographic yet, its members plugging into the news as it happens on Twitter, Discord and other social outlets (yes, including TikTok). Known for having strong opinions on social, political and environmental issues, Gen Zers are often drawn to businesses that make a difference in the world, such as those that focus on sustainability or protection of marginalized populations. Some even consider it a requirement.

The ability to make a greater impact within an organization can also win over workers from this generation. Small ponds often give young employees opportunities to operate as big fish, accelerating their professional learning curve and career growth.

Salary and Benefits Aren’t Unimportant

The number on a paycheck isn’t the only priority of most Gen Zers, let’s face it: money still talks. The priority for young people in today’s labor market, however, is finding work that pays appropriately for the job. For example, a contractor asked to prepare audit documents for an accounting firm as part of a broader project might command a lower pay rate than another contingent worker tasked with overseeing the entirety of a client engagement. 

These are the sort of philosophical questions Gen Z seems to weigh with a more critical eye than many workers of the past. If an employer provides pizza on Fridays, are they doing it in lieu of paying employees what they’re worth? Do a beer fridge and ping pong table in the office offset the lack of an attractive benefits package? A generation that is being squeezed coming and going, graduating with unprecedented levels of debt into an economy of skyrocketing inflation, is far more practical and frugal than it’s given credit for. Gen Z is hardly too cool for health insurance and a 401k. 

Ultimately, the Gig Economy offers the alternative to staff work that many younger workers seek. By scratching the itch for variety and the ability to indulge in life outside the office, employers are more likely to connect with an entire generation of up-and-coming employees with the skill sets to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s workplace challenges.

Interested in attracting Gen Z talent? Reach out to learn how PeopleCaddie can help.

 

sgruenAttracting the Next Generation of Employees

Should You Quit With a Recession Looming?

We’re in a booming job market, with an unexpectedly high number of jobs (372,000) having been added in June. Yet most economists agree that circumstances are ripe for a potential recession. Some workers who don’t remember the economic times of 2008 might be wondering what job hunting will be like, and whether or not it’s wise to make quit during a recession.

Even in light of the “Great Resignation,” the current bullish job economy is not sustainable. If the tide begins to turn, how might the fallout affect workers who are considering making a career move?

What Happens to Jobs in a Recession

In the economic recovery phase following the initial waves of Covid, jobs have been readily available for those seeking work. The unemployment rate has dropped as low as 3.6 percent, while compensation has increased and employers have bent over backwards to attract and maintain talent. It may not feel quite like boom times (thanks, inflation), but workers are indeed enjoying a moment.

A recession, on the other hand, tends to prompt instinctive belt-tightening around many industries. In 2008, for instance, companies and workers faced hiring freezes and layoffs. The unemployment rate ballooned, ranging from 5-10 percent. It’s not unreasonable to presume that a recession in 2022 or 2023 could lead to similar outcomes.

Preparing for a Recession

Although economists’ predictions of a recession looming range from 30-50 percent, workers would do well to prepare as if a recession is likely. This leads to the question at hand: Should an employee quit their job with a recession looming? The answer isn’t a simple one, but here are a few takeaways that can help:

  • There’s an old adage that has some value here: It’s easier to get a job when you have a job. Employers are looking for established employees who are willing and able to go with the flow as industries and the economy change. Equally beneficial: during periods of high inflation, which can precede a recession, there’s opportunity to generate competition for your services amongst employees. That results in higher pay.
  • More than ever, focus on producing quality work. If layoffs do become necessary, companies will prioritize holding on to the more proactive and productive members of their staff.
  • Evaluate job opportunities with longevity in mind. Until now, workers knew that if a particular opportunity didn’t pan out, several more would likely be there for the picking. In a recession, that’s less likely to be the case. A position with better security or long-term prospects may be more valuable during a recession than another job that is more fulfilling or that pays slightly more.
  • Situations may present themselves where quitting a job is a necessity during poor market conditions. If a company offers attractive severance packages in exchange for voluntary resignation, it becomes easier to capitalize with emergency savings in hand. Even better, one could turn to contract work and a talent cloud like PeopleCaddie. That allows these people to collect severance in addition to a contractor’s salary. With PeopleCaddie, when contractors work at least 30 hours a week, they gain access to our benefits package which includes health insurance. 
  • While a recession may slow full-time hiring, it may open up opportunities on the contingent labor side. Examine how you can leverage the benefits of contract work to secure opportunities with companies engaged in full-time hiring freezes. 

Should You Quit During a Recession?

A move or career change might seem like a good idea now, but as the possibility of a recession draws nearer, job hopping could be a risky choice for those who depend on a steady, reliable income. Job numbers are expected to decrease in the coming months, and the reward for those who sit tight in the interim might be remaining gainfully employed when companies start cinching those belts.

Of course, what comes at a premium during any recession is stability. Full-time work is binary. A layoff reduces income to zero. Contract work can provide more security during times of economic upheaval because a “40-hour work week” could be allocated in pieces to different companies. 

Lose one of those jobs and you haven’t lost your entire income. Essentially, contract workers hedge their income by diversifying risk across a number of different companies. 

Interested in learning how you can do so? Join our talent cloud to see the opportunities available to you. 

sgruenShould You Quit With a Recession Looming?

Pitfalls of Contract Work and How to Avoid Them

Freelancing is often sold as a dream job. “Be your own boss!”Set your own hours!” Although those elements are certainly part of the package, the reality is that there is a downside to independent contracting. Some of these hazards are avoidable, some are less so. But being prepared offers a freelancer the chance to live their best life. Here’s how to identify and, when possible, avoid the pitfalls of contract work.

When Demand Dries Up

In most situations, an agreement between contractors and employers will outline the expected duration for any given assignment. Occasionally, this information isn’t available, and often circumstances can change. Example: For event-related freelancers such as graphic artists, event coordinators and performers, 2020 proved to be a black hole due to the pandemic. Most of these contractors expected to earn a certain level of income throughout the year, but when on-site events disappeared, so did their work. Circumstances changed.

In a less dramatic example, an accounting contractor who expects 40 hours a week from a client may suddenly learn they’re needed for only 10. How do they adjust to this new reality? While these scenarios are sometimes unavoidable, it helps to secure work well in advance and include scenarios such as these in contracts so they are accounted for when planning bills and finances.

When the Cup Runneth Over

When trying to plan finances around freelance work, some contractors have a tendency to overcommit. Avoid putting yourself in the position of stretching your bandwidth to the breaking point – particularly if it means doing so to keep up with a lifestyle beyond essential expenses.

No judgment – we all like nice things! – but a freelancer risks a lot more than a few luxury items if they come up short on a project. Failing to deliver, or late delivery, can be a reputation-killer. It could cost you future work with that client and may even end up in non-payment, depending on the severity of the situation. Take care to commit to only the amount of work that can be reliably delivered on time and at a high level of quality.

When the Taxman Comes Around

When receiving money as a 1099 contractor or freelancer, it’s important to set aside money for the IRS and to educate yourself on tax laws and procedures. This will help avoid being stuck with a huge tax bill (plus penalties) come April 15. Paying expected taxes quarterly and putting away 25-30 percent of earned income will help prevent an unwelcome surprise at tax time. It’s also advisable to consistently track business expenses and keep documentation. Hiring a CPA can help.

When Payment Is a Problem

Freelancing comes with some risk, depending on the clients a contractor does business with. Sometimes payment arrives late and the worker must make a choice: continue working and wait for payment or cease working. Although it’s tempting to keep working to avoid losing the contract, the client has breached the freelancer agreement. Hauling the client into court shouldn’t be your first instinct, but it’s important to hold them accountable and steer clear of clients who are late or absent on payday. Chances are, it won’t be the last time.

Freelancing can be a dream job, but it’s important to watch out and prepare for the potential pitfalls of contract work. PeopleCaddie can help by making it simple to find work, structure agreements, get paid consistently and on time, and take care of taxes and insurance, allowing independent contractors to sidestep some of their toughest challenges right out of the gate.

PeopleCaddie can help you navigate the pitfalls of contract work. Contact us to find out how.

sgruenPitfalls of Contract Work and How to Avoid Them

The Unique Value of the PeopleCaddie Ratings System

The Unique Value of the PeopleCaddie Ratings System

One of the more difficult aspects of job seeking for independent contractors has been conveying the value of skill, experience and past results to hiring professionals. Creating and updating resumes and portfolios takes time and effort, which can add up for workers on shorter contracts. Companies don’t always invest in or track the performance of contractors as they would their full-timers, leaving them at a disadvantage when attempting to attract future employment. For a contractor, putting your best foot forward often feels like an elaborate game of Twister.

And it’s no picnic on the other side. Recruiters increasingly rely on algorithms to sort through the first wave of job applicants. Even the old stand-by – references – are no longer a reliable resource. The transparency of information from candidate-provided sources has always been suspect at best, of course, but companies have also become skittish over time about potential legal liability, most commonly defamation.

PeopleCaddie has an answer to the problem: a unique ratings system that helps recruiters who access our talent cloud to better understand what a candidate may provide their company after hiring. Rather than relying on the vague qualitative analysis and uncertain motivations of traditional references, PeopleCaddie’s rating system quantifies the hiring and job-seeking process, transforming crowdsourced data into insights that help both employers and employees. Here’s how they work:

Quantitative vs. Qualitative: Making Hiring More Reliable

The varied priorities and personalities among managers and supervisors might lead one to draw dramatically different conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of an employee than another. Rather than basing the hiring process on subjective criteria and opinions – qualitative analysis – PeopleCaddie is reinventing traditional hiring using standardized quantitative measures. And because every PeopleCaddie contractor is required to accept our terms of use, all reviewers are indemnified against any liability related to their feedback, allowing them to provide ratings without fear of legal ramifications.

The PeopleCaddie ratings system covers three key areas:

  1. Quality of work
  2. Timelines of work
  3. Contractor professionalism

Contractors are rated by former employers on a scale of 1-5 stars within each of these categories, and PeopleCaddie combines those scores to assign the contractor a composite star rating. This helps employers searching for contractors to quickly identify top candidates and compare them against one another.

Trustworthy References: No More Unverified Sources

Under the traditional hiring system, checking references was a difficult, time-consuming process that often couldn’t be verified. A hiring manager might know that a candidate worked at Company X, but they couldn’t be certain who that candidate worked for or reported to directly. A candidate had the ability to cherry-pick their best references – perhaps even peers or friendly colleagues willing to speak in glowing terms.

On the PeopleCaddie platform, however, a candidate’s rating must come from a person who was responsible for approving their timesheets or directly supervised the contractor at a previous employer. Our database even indicates how many ratings a contractor has received from employers within our network, as well as who within each company provided that contractor’s rating. And if a candidate hasn’t previously worked for a company in the PeopleCaddie network, we take the necessary steps to verify the person identified as the candidate’s supervisor, leveraging resources such as our proprietary user network, LinkedIn, Zoominfo and others in order to ensure that our clients have the benefit of full transparency.

Hiring is an inexact science. The stakes are high and the success rate historically has tended to be lower than most employers care to think about. But with a quantitative candidate evaluation system and reference verification, PeopleCaddie clients have the resources to remove the guesswork from hiring to bring on contractors confidently.

Interested in learning more about the PeopleCaddie ratings system? Contact us!

sgruenThe Unique Value of the PeopleCaddie Ratings System