It’s the age of the gig economy. The traditional full-time job is no longer the only option for generating a steady income. In fact, from 2014 to 2018, the number of people working as a freelancer or in the gig economy rose from 3.7 to 56.7 million. For many workers, flexibility and autonomy are an enticing reason to depart from the standard 9-5 office job for a more freeing gig.
At the same time, recruiters are experiencing a talent shortage as a result of an ongoing low unemployment rate. While gig workers may not have previously come to mind as an accessible candidate pool, this highly-skilled group is teeming with top talent for the picking. The only catch is, they’re content in their current situations so they’re going to be harder to persuade to join your organization than the average job candidate.
Here are a few expert tips to help you fill empty roles with highly-talented gig workers:
Show them they’d have comparable flexibility
The first thing any hiring manager needs to understand is why people want to work in the gig economy. For most, it’s flexibility and freedom. We’ve used these four hacks to successfully hire gig workers:
- Start part-time (less than 20 hours per week)
- Allow them to set their own hours
- Enable them to work remotely
- Forgo the need for FaceTime (a relic of the old corporate world – it’s dead on arrival for gig workers)
For recruiting, it all comes down to proving they don’t have to lose their flexibility/freedom to work full-time with you. To keep them happy, let them love the work so they want to do more. This will challenge them instead of burning them out.
You can also show you are adaptable by letting the job fit the person instead of the person fit the job. Set clear goals and measurable outcomes, and if they meet them while adhering to policy, then let them do it whatever way works best for them.
Brian Cairns, CEO of ProStrategix Consulting
Don’t knock the hustle
Finding and hiring gig economy workers depends on what department or niche you are looking for. For example, you can find freelance writers on LinkedIn and social media managers on Facebook groups.
Besides social media, you can look at promoting your open job on the most used job boards by gig workers. For example, pro blogger or flexjobs. That said, a lot of these job boards require you to have a flexible job — preferably — telecommute or work at home job. In many cases, LinkedIn is your best bet.
Believe it or not, the biggest mistake some recruiters make is simply not understanding the gig economy or, sometimes, even making fun of it. My wife works as a freelance writer and she was approached by a recruiter once who told her that she would make much more with a traditional job along with adding she probably couldn’t ever make much as a freelancer anyway.
This put her off. No freelancer will want to work with a company that does not understand the what, why, how of the gig economy.
Amit Khar, blogger at Mrs Daaku Studio & mentor at Hireable Solutions
Offer a chance to identify compatibility
For me, as the owner of a small company, every new hire is a serious decision. Being able to trial a gig worker before bringing them onboard full-time is a serious boon to us. We can determine whether their skills match their resume if they are a good cultural fit, and whether or not they are happy with the work we do.
I suggest using Facebook to join groups where the kinds of professionals you’re seeking freely and frequently associate. These groups not only have a wealth of information to offer but also contain individuals who are professional about their work and motivated to continue developing their skills. Plus, you can observe them to get a sense for how they carry themselves and the reputation they have among other professionals.
Wherever you decide to recruit someone, don’t force it. Take advantage of a gig worker’s comfort with contracts and execute a few trial projects together. You can let them know of the potential for long-term, full-time employment or not — but, be sure to treat them fairly in this contract stage. Starting small with a gig worker is the perfect way for both parties to evaluate one another for best fit.
Reuben Yonatan, Founder and CEO of GetVOIP
Offer them all the benefits
The best places we’ve found gig workers are niche Facebook groups and the networks of course creators or consultants. These people are most likely held by the community accountability and there’s a minimum expected skill set.
To get their attention, I recommend competitive pay, flexibility, and benefits. Our benefits include insurance and healthcare — a lot of remote employers don’t provide that. It’s a great factor for skilled people to consider our offers, especially if they have families.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that higher pay is all that matters when seeking out gig workers.
Karla Singson, Founder of Proximity Placements
Let them know they won’t be giving up their autonomy
I don’t think there are magic headquarters where gig workers hang out. True, there are niche marketplaces like Whitetruffle, Hired.com, HackerRankX, but in my experience, you might as well use LinkedIn to get golden candidates onboard. What has worked best for us so far is inbound recruiting — when you engage passive and active job seekers/gig economy workers through targeted content.
Gig economy workers chose to be such because they value autonomy (being able to work from anywhere) and flexibility (they get to choose what projects to work on.) If you want to sway gig workers to the “dark side,” you need to emphasize they won’t lose either of those things. Plus, they would get to enjoy other perks in the form of job security, stable salary, and being around smart people who can potentially push their career forward.
To keep gig workers happy, emphasize that shifting to a traditional job does not mean giving up on things that are important to gig workers. In the case of autonomy, companies can offer remote days or, based on Netflix’s approach, unlimited vacation days.
Aleksandra Włodarczyk, HR Specialist & Recruiter at InterviewMe