Recruiting Tips That Will Make You Rethink the Gig Economy

Are you measuring the quality of your hires and onboarding process? Maybe you should start.
Recruiting Tips That Will Make You Rethink the Gig Economy
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The "gig economy" is rapidly growing as more employers embrace contract work. This is changing how employees consider their position in the workforce.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer

ReportLinker’s survey from December 2016 found that one-third of the 1,008 U.S. respondents said they would consider exiting the traditional workplace to work as a freelancer or independent contractor, with nearly half saying they might do so within three years.

So, the gig economy is growing. And this trend is forever changing the American workplace as contract work continues to gain popularity. Intuit’s survey in August 2015 estimated that freelancers could make up 43 percent of the workforce by 2020.

Now is as good a time as any, then, for employers to refine the way they recruit talent in order to attract the gig economy A players.

Let’s look at how employers can ensure their recruitment process is effective for the gig economy and how they can best evaluate their performance:

Measure quality of hire and onboarding.

Bad hires are always costly, especially when it comes to hiring contractors. To prevent investing too much time and money in bad contractor hires, companies are turning to data.

"Quality of hire" data measures how a hiring team makes decisions and how well its hires fit into their roles and the company. The review process for quality of hire decisions considers performance and goal achievement.

Related: Should I Hire a Contractor or an Employee?

Use your own company's quality of hire metrics to refine your process, in order to hire more efficiently. For example, if contractors are failing to accomplish their goals, look at how your hiring team has been assessing candidates. Perhaps they need to reevaluate their process.

Quality of onboarding is another important measurement. It shows how satisfied new hires are in terms of being set up to succeed, how well they understood the goals and how longer-term employees made them feel as they entered the culture.

Imagine that a contractor you used complained that communication of expectations was unclear. That means that a gap in communication occurred. In that case, you would train managers on how to communicate objectives in a more thorough way.

Use predictive analytics.

Data can be leveraged to predict how well contractors will perform. The first step is to identify some top performers who have held the position that’s open. Then, compare their skills and competencies with those of your candidates.

How do the skills of the contractor you're considering align with those of employees who have been in these positions? Assess a contractor's potential for success by basing your hiring decisions on competencies.

Competency-based systems use predictive statistical models to identify which candidates offer the competencies you need. These metrics can give your hiring professionals confidence in making offers. Knowing competencies is also beneficial when a contract ends.

Perform exit interviews.

When employers know their contractors’ competencies, they can set benchmarks to compare future contractors to. That's why when contractors complete their project, it’s wise to perform an exit interview.

Exit interviews give employers a full perspective from the perspective of the gig worker. Make it clear that the purpose of the interview is to get the contractor's honest feedback, to determine how the company can improve the talent life cycle.

Before asking questions, encourage this individual to summarize his or her experience. Then, ask about how the job met expectations. Ask if the person felt equipped to do job effectively, and if the job aligned with his or her professional goals. Use this data to improve performance management for future gig economy workers.

Build a talent pipeline.

Build a pipeline of top-performing gig workers to ensure the hiring team is making high-quality hires in a faster, more efficient way. Typically, employers need contractors for immediate needs, so timing is crucial.

With a talent pipeline, hiring managers won't be rushing into questionable decisions. By knowing what "A" players they can rely on, they can cut down on the time being expending in hiring. 

Time to hire, in fact, continues to increase. Glassdoor’s June 2015 report entitled Why Is Hiring Taking So Long? found that, from 2010 to 2014, the average time it takes to hire an employee in the United States increased from 12.6 days to 22.9 days. Building a pipeline of top performers from the gig economy is the best way to cut these numbers down.

Related: Addressing the Backlash: What's an Accurate Picture of the Gig Economy?

Overall, employers can and should continue to build a stronger relationship with workers in the gig economy. A stronger relationship, in turn, may lead to a full-time offer if the employer needs it and the contractor says yes.