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Hiring the Best Freelancers: What You Need to Know

Sabine Gillert Corporate Recruiting, Staffing

One of the many era-defining changes recruiters have experienced first hand is the rise of the gig economy. Instead of staying for decades at a company like generations before them, modern talent has increasingly marketed themselves as freelancers, able to hop from one job to the next. According to CNBC, the number of gig economy workers has increased 27 percent more than that of payroll employees in the last 20 years. It’s a valuable development to recruiters, who benefit from the specializations many of these freelancers carry and can make a placement for a subject matter-intensive positions easier, as freelancers come with varied and proven skill sets and work histories.

However, for all the efficiency and effectiveness recruiters gain from tapping freelancers, the age of the gig economy has also created headaches for HR. On-demand work presents particular challenges for recruiters, specifically those that have to do with the sometimes transient nature of freelancers and thorough vetting. Yet staffing professionals are not alone in their endeavor to court and secure the best freelancer talent: Advanced recruiter software is a boon in these situations, and HR can leverage robust tools along every step of the application process to ensure the best candidates are prioritized, while also solidifying workflows in a disruptive job market environment. Here are some more things you need to know in order to hone in on the best talent.

Have a strategy

This goes for any staffing search, but having a strategic plan of action when recruiting freelancers is a top priority. Understanding your ideal candidate is essential to this step, and filling out a profile of this applicant both helps recruiters brainstorm and standardize their search requirements. It’s not often companies are able to dedicate the same resources to freelancers as they would full-time hires, like training and supervision. This means having a motivated, disciplined and competent candidate is a top desire for recruiters, and needs to be addressed in formulating the plan of action regarding which freelancers to target.

Craft a specified job posting

Once you have the candidate persona in mind, it’s time to write a job posting that will appeal to those exact qualities and competencies you’re looking for in a freelancer. A couple points you’ll want to hit on include:

  • Being clear with requirements and expectations for the time commitment.
  • Asking for work samples and references from recent companies worked with.
  • Requiring specific skills or knowledge that the freelancer can demonstrate in a screen or interview.

However, that’s not the end of the responsibilities when it comes to a job posting: Recruiters need to know which sites to market their posts on. One idea is to look for the trade or niche job boards that serve those candidates you’re seeking, instead of generalized forums where you may get a lot of responses, but few quality candidates.

Leverage staffing solutions

Monitoring and updating candidates as they move through the pipeline is already difficult, and yet another task made more difficult by freelancing work. Gig employees may blast resumes and applications, and the duty to track and sort these candidates falls on recruiters. Candidates may drop out at any time, or become unresponsive as other work comes their way. In order for the staffing effort to avoid resource drags, professionals are best served using staffing software designed to help cut down on wasted time and improve effectiveness in engaging those candidates most suitable.