As the gig economy continues to grow with 43% of the current workforce expected to be self-employed by 2020, it’s time for recruiters to take freelancers seriously.
We’ve seen the evolution already. Remote working is becoming more popular, and companies are looking to more freelancers for help with individual projects. On paper, these are people who don’t come into the office regularly (if ever). They also don’t have much of a connection to the workplace culture outside their digital environment.
That’s not a jab at all to our freelance friends out there, it’s just a fact. Most companies know less about freelancers because they’re simply not part of the team the way a regular, full-time employee is. That mentality, however, needs to change to create a screening process that takes freelancers into account.
Think about it from a logical standpoint: freelancers have the same access to sensitive company data and information as a regular employee. Why wouldn’t they have to undergo a background check the same way? It seems a little crazy when you think about it like that. We’re here to take a deeper look into the gig economy and whether you should screen freelancers as a result.
The Growing Gig Economy
As we pointed out in the introduction, the gig economy is booming. This has created a lot of opportunities for self-employed experts to land different projects as companies now turn to them for help.
If we want to look at regular employees versus freelancers, the stereotypical difference between them is a matter of location. A regular employee comes to work every day from 9 to 5, while a freelancer generally does their work from home or a different location. That idea is really changing as of late.
Depending on the company, there are regular employees who can now work on a flexible schedule from home or wherever they want. On the flip side, employers expect freelancers to communicate on a regular basis via different communication channels like Slack or HipChat. When you think about it like that — who’s spending more time in “the office”?
A survey found that 55% of hiring managers agree that remote work among full-time permanent employees is becoming more common. The lines are becoming blurrier by the day as remote and freelance workers are starting to become the new norm for a lot of companies.
Should You Screen Freelancers?
The short answer to that questions is a resounding yes. It’s simple: you need to screen anyone with access to confidential and sensitive company information. Just because they don’t come into the office every day doesn’t make a difference on that front.
Recruiters should treat the screening process for freelancers the same as they do for a regular employee. They should verify their identity and see if their credentials match up. Another layer of complexity is that freelancers need to be more self-sufficient. That means you need to talk with companies they’ve worked with in the past to understand their work habits and communication skills.
Take the word “freelancer” out of the equation and think about them as contributing members of your company. You want to do your due diligence to make sure you have the right person taking care of a particular project. The only way to do that is through a screening process and with recruiters who know exactly what to look for.
Whether you’re looking to screen your next freelancer or full-time employee, we’ve got you covered. Book a demo today to find out how we can help you find the right candidate for your company.