Independent professionals play an important role in creating a well-rounded workforce for many organizations today. Independents offer numerous benefits such as helping companies minimize employment costs through staffing flexibility. Rather than adding to company payroll by hiring an employee, enterprise managers can engage an independent contractor who can bring a specific set of skills to a project.
However, as many managers are aware, actually finding top independent talent can be a challenge. A candidate-driven market has increased competition for these workers—89% of independents say they have some or a lot of choice in who they work with. In order to find independent talent who have the skills their organization needs, managers often have to cast a wide net and search a variety of places. Here are five strategies managers can employ to find top independent talent.
1. Get Referrals from Your Network and Trusted Colleagues
Referrals are a great way to find independent talent who may be a good match for your organization. Talk to people in your network who you know and trust who work with independent contractors. Let them know the role or project you are looking to fill and ask if they can recommend someone they’ve worked with before. While seeking out referred independent talent can take a bit more time and effort, it often results in a credible lead.
2. Research Professional Websites
Just as managers are seeking out the right talent for their needs, independent professionals are marketing their services, looking for the ideal client. Most independent professionals will have their own website, or, at the very least, describe their services and link to examples of their work on their LinkedIn profile. Searching LinkedIn or even some old-fashioned online research can help you find consultant websites.
3. Work with a Staffing Agency
Staffing agencies specialize in filling temporary, contract, and full-time roles for organizations. They act as a broker in connecting companies with talent looking for work. Staffing agencies are a common way for companies to find talent that will only be engaged on a temporary basis. The staffing agency will typically source, screen, and interview candidates in addition to handling payment and taxes. The downside to sourcing talent through a staffing agency is that they can be quite expensive, and they don’t typically specialize in independent contractor compliance and engagement. If a staffing agency is not well-versed in applicable laws and regulations, they can expose their clients to misclassification risk.
4. Make Use of Company Career Sites
Posting an opportunity on a company career site is another way to seek out independent talent. However, because most career sites focus on full-time jobs, independents themselves tend to search for opportunities elsewhere. If you plan on using an existing career site to attract independent talent, consider creating a section on your website specific to independents. Make it clear that the opportunities listed are for independent contractors and provide information about what engagement with your company looks like.
5. Explore Freelance Marketplaces
Freelance marketplaces are online platforms that connect independent contractors with projects. A marketplace enables the transaction between contractor and client directly online, eliminating the need for a third party such as a staffing company. After filling out a profile, independent talent can either search for or be matched with opportunities that fit their skillet. Then, managers can evaluate available candidates and engage the right person for the job.
Marketplaces are quickly becoming a popular way to find top talent because they are easy to use and can automate tasks like onboarding, payment, and engagement documentation. Check out MBO’s marketplace to get on-demand, direct access to highly-skilled independent professionals.