7 tips for recruiting and onboarding independent contractors

Openforce
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Many companies depend on a contingent workforce to stay flexible in a competitive marketplace. For these organizations, three critical components must align for success: finding the right independent contractors (ICs), recruiting them efficiently and effectively, and sealing the deal with a smooth onboarding process.

With more and more businesses vying for the services of skilled ICs, it’s no easy task to make all three phases work. Nevertheless, with proper planning and execution, it can be done. This article outlines seven tips to help optimize your process—four for recruiting and three for onboarding.

4 tips for recruiting ICs

The first step in the hiring process is locating the right candidates. Then you’ll need to persuade them that your company is a good fit for their skills and preferences. The following suggestions can help you achieve these goals:

1. Advertise openings on the right platforms, in the right way. First, gather knowledge of how your ideal candidates prefer to consume information. For example, do independent contractors in transportation and delivery browse LinkedIn and Facebook, or do they prefer online job boards like Indeed.com? The bottom line is that your candidate search will yield a higher ROI if you advertise on platforms that your target demographic uses.

In addition, it’s important to provide a clear description of the advertised position’s required skills, qualifications and duties. Vague or misleading job listings will only frustrate interested ICs and attract unqualified candidates. At the same time, your screening process will become more stressful and time-consuming.

The best way to avoid such issues is to provide a transparent description of the work. For example, if certain certifications are required, make that clear right away. If you practice transparency at the outset of the hiring process, it will save both you and the IC a lot of headaches later on.

2. Make your application portal mobile-friendly. Never underestimate the impact of a mobile-friendly application portal in today’s job market: At least 94% of American job seekers use their smartphone to conduct research, and half have actually filled out an application over the phone. Leverage this trend by ensuring that your website, and especially your candidate portal, is mobile-responsive and easy to navigate on a smartphone or tablet.

3. Conduct quality phone interviews. Phone screenings are an important part of the hiring process. Often, they can help a recruiter quickly identify whether the candidate is a good fit for the position; if not, the company can quickly explore more suitable options.

Of course, it falls on the recruiter to conduct phone interviews that effectively accomplish their purpose. Generally, the recruiter should:

  • Keep the interview short.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Ask standardized questions.
  • Take notes during the interview.

A superior process for conducting phone interviews will lead to savings in time and resources, as well as better contractor fits.

4. Never stop searching for quality talent through referrals and advertising. ICs who enjoy working with your company can be excellent referral sources. For instance, they may recommend an open position to another IC with similar skills and qualifications. You may even want to ask these ICs to send worthy candidates your way. Never discount the impact of this built-in network on the success of your talent search.

Furthermore, even if your company has no current openings, you can continue to seek superior talent in anticipation of future needs. Encourage ICs to fill out an application and assure them that it will stay on file until an opportunity emerges. By doing so, you’ll develop a queue of candidates ready to step in at short notice if the need arises.

3 tips for onboarding ICs

Once you’ve found the right candidates and they want to work with your company, the next step is to onboard them. An IC management platform such as Openforce can help you do this in the simplest and most efficient way.

These three tips can help you onboard ICs:

1. Streamline qualification, verification and negotiation. Making the qualification and verification process faster and easier allows ICs to get through it more quickly—which means fewer will abandon it before they’re contracted. Not only that, but Openforce provides a way for clients and ICs to do interactive rate negotiations within enrollment workflows. Having documented negotiations can help reduce misclassification risks.

Plus, with Openforce, active follow-ups with ICs can help get them through every stage of enrollment. Our onboarding coordinators will call, email, and text ICs to help them through enrollments, prevent and overcome stalls, and remind them to complete critical steps such as drug screenings. This helps you contract IC more quickly, relieves the contracting company’s internal team from needing to perform frequent follow-ups, and vastly reduces average enrollment time.

2. Simplify the onboarding workflow as much as possible. Jumping through hoop after hoop to onboard with a new company can be frustrating for even the most interested independent contractor. Ultimately, they may decide to move on to a better (read: easier) opportunity.

You can avoid this outcome by streamlining and simplifying your onboarding process as much as possible. For example, give candidates an overview or “map” of the process and explain where each step fits into the overall framework. Not only will this help you get top-notch talent, but you’ll also spend less administrative time on onboarding, which could save thousands of dollars.

3. Enable candidates to easily access, sign and store important documents online. Onboarding a new contractor always involves paperwork. However, you can reduce a lot of the friction in the onboarding process by allowing the IC to access and sign necessary forms online, and then store them in the cloud. It’s easier for your candidates and less work for your administrative staff.

In summary, companies must invest in their recruiting and onboarding processes to stay ahead of the competition. By implementing the seven tips above, you and ICs can both enjoy the benefits of a fast, efficient and intuitive hiring process.

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