6 Steps You Need to Take Before Hiring Contract Workers
NOV 10, 2016 15:56 PM
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6 Steps You Need to Take Before Hiring Contract Workers

By Drew Hendricks

Businesses are increasingly turning to contractors to help them accomplish various tasks. They save money on salaries and benefits and workers enjoy a flexibility they can’t achieve when they’re on the payroll. But finding top contract workers for each position can be complicated, especially for businesses that are new to the process.

Before you hire your next contract worker, it’s important to put a process in place to ensure you get the best.

“As a company that specializes in handling freelance tech talent, I can confirm that the companies we work with most effectively have a thorough and well thought out freelancer plan of attack,” says 10x Management Founder Rishon Blumberg. “It starts with the sourcing process and carries all the way through to the completion of the engagement.”  

It begins long before you place the ad and continues throughout a professional’s work with your company. Here are a few essential steps you need to take to successfully hire contract workers.


Too many businesses start hiring contractors without completely thinking through what they need. Before writing your job ad, create a detailed Statement of Work that includes all outcomes and timelines for your project. You may not need to present this during the interview process, but you’ll have in mind exactly what type of worker you need. A worker who has successfully completed similar work will be able to give you an idea of whether or not the work you’re requesting can be performed in the requested timeframe.


As you plan, you should also consider which freelancer qualities are most important to you. For many employers, it’s a matter of balancing out three attributes -- speed, quality and price. Many say it’s reasonable to expect getting two out of those three, but it may not be reasonable to assume you can get all of them. At the very least, you should figure out up front which two are most important to you before embarking down the path towards hiring.


Once you’ve determined the type of worker you need, you’ll be able to start recruiting. You can hire a specialist to connect you with the ideal person for the position or use online job posting services to generate applications. If you choose the latter option, you’ll need to outline the exact skills necessary to complete the work you need performed, which may involve intensive research. If possible, ask a colleague or employee in that field to help with outlining those qualifications.


You wouldn’t hire a salaried worker without one or more interviews and background checks. That same process should be applied to each contractor selection. For best results, use behavioral interview questions to determine each person’s technical skills and ability to work as part of a team. You should also pay close attention to every candidate’s communication skills, since interacting with team members and leaders is an important part of every job, even those that aren’t customer-facing.


When you’re finally ready to hire, take your initial planning documents and your Statement of Work to create a detailed, written contract. It should outline everything the contractor agrees to perform for you in exchange for the money you’ll pay. You should also define when and how payment will be made over the course of the project. Most importantly of all, your contract should include an exit clause that will give you an “out” if the contractor fails to perform up to your standards.


Once your contractor is on board, the real work begins. It’s important to manage contractors without micromanaging them. While this approach is often recommended for all managers, it can cross legal boundaries when contractors are involved. It’s important that independent contractors be treated as businesspeople rather than employees, which means they should be in control of their work methods. Refrain from dictating the contractor’s daily working hours and focus solely on the work outcomes rather than the process used to complete that work.


The best way for both business and contractor to learn and grow is to evaluate the experience once the work has been completed. This is especially important if you obtained the worker through a third-party company, which will want to be aware of any issues with that professional. If you are wholly satisfied with the contractor’s performance, let both the contractor and third-party referrer know about it and offer to give recommendations. Even one client recommendation can make a dramatic difference in a contractor’s career.

Contract workers can bring value to your projects at a significant cost savings over salaried employees. However, it’s important to take the right approach in sourcing and managing contract workers. With a well-prepared plan in place and thorough documentation, you can make your freelancer relationships a success.


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