With the explosion of the gig economy and on-demand delivery, many companies depend on a contingent workforce to stay flexible and maintain capacity in an ultra-competitive marketplace. For these organizations, three critical components must align for success: finding the best independent contractors (ICs), sourcing 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 six tips to help optimize your process, beginning with strategic recruiting.  

3 ways to recruit quality ICs 

The first step in the process is finding the right ICs. 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.

How do your ideal ICs and gig workers prefer to consume information? For example, do independent contractors in transportation and final-mile delivery browse LinkedIn and Facebook, or do they prefer online job boards like Indeed.com? The bottom line is that your business partner 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 opportunity’s required skills, qualifications and duties. Vague or misleading descriptions will only frustrate interested ICs and attract unqualified candidates. At the same time, your vetting 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 very outset of the process, it will save both your company and the IC a lot of headaches later on. 

Bonus: Openforce’s pre-screen feature allows you to embed links in your listings to send candidates right to our mobile-friendly portal so you can ask and gather the pre-qualification questions up-front, in one convenient portal.

2. Make your contracting process mobile-friendly.

Never underestimate the impact of a mobile-friendly contracting portal in today’s market: At least 94% of American job seekers use their smartphone to conduct research, and half have completed the required forms 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. Never stop searching for quality talent through referrals.

ICs who enjoy contracting with your company can be excellent referral sources. For instance, they may recommend a contracting opportunity to another IC with similar skills and qualifications. You may even want to ask these ICs to send solid contractors your way. Never discount the impact of this built-in network. 

Bonus: Openforce’s IC Recruit solution gives clients exclusive access to 14,000+ ready-to-work drivers. 

Onboarding your ICs 2.5x faster 

Once you’ve found the right IC and they want to contract with your company, the next step is to immediately onboard them. An IC management platform such as Openforce can help you do this simply and efficiently.   

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 with the 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 hoops 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) contracting opportunity. 

You can avoid this outcome by streamlining and simplifying your onboarding process as much as possible. For example, give prospective contractors 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 contractors 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 securely for ongoing access. It’s easier for candidates and less work for your administrative staff. 

We get it – onboarding several ICs at once is time-consuming and can be daunting, even with the assistance of software. Openforce offers a Managed Onboarding program where an Enrollment Coordinator will guide your new contractors through each part of the enrollment process.

Openforce Enrollment Coordinators act as an extension of your team by:  

  • Being fully versed in your specific enrollment process  
  • Creating and managing bulk enrollment invitations 
  • Providing email assistance to ICs throughout enrollment 
  • Collecting and approving compliance documents  
  • Sending regular reminders on stalled enrollments  

Don’t let enrollments result in costly delays or even contractor drop-offs. Check out our information page to see how Managed Onboarding dramatically reduces enrollment cycle times.  

Companies must invest in their contractor sourcing and onboarding processes to stay ahead of the competition. By implementing the seven tips above, you and top-notch ICs can both enjoy the benefits of a fast, efficient and intuitive contracting process. 

About Openforce

Openforce is the leader in technology-driven services that reduce operating costs and mitigate risk for companies using independent contractors. Our cloud-based applications help companies and contractors alike achieve more sustainable, profitable growth by removing financial, operational, and compliance barriers to getting business done.