Many companies depend on a contingent workforce to stay flexible in a competitive marketplace. For these organizations, three critical components must align for success: finding the right 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 seven tips to help optimize your process—four for recruiting and three for onboarding.

4 tips for recruiting ICs

The first step in the process is sourcing the right candidates. 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.

First, gather knowledge of how your ideal business partners prefer to consume information. For example, do independent contractors in transportation and delivery browse LinkedIn and Facebook, or do they prefer online job boards like 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.

2. Make your contracting process portal 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. Conduct quality phone interviews.

Phone screenings are an important part of the contracting process. Often, they can help a quickly identify whether the contracted worker is a good fit for the position; if not, the company can quickly explore more suitable options. Of course, it falls on the company representative to conduct phone screens that effectively accomplish their purpose. Generally, the caller should:

  • Keep the phone screen short.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Ask standardized questions.
  • Take notes during the interview.

A superior process for conducting phone screens will lead to savings in time and resources, as well as better contractor fits.

4. Never stop searching for quality talent through referrals and advertising.

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.

Furthermore, even if your company has no open contracting opportunities, you can continue to seek superior talent in anticipation of future needs. Gather all of the needed information from a potential contractor and keep it on file. By doing so, you’ll develop a queue of contractors ready to step in at short notice if the need arises.

3 tips for onboarding ICs

Once you’ve found the right IC and they want to contract with your company, the next step is to onboard them. An IC management platform such as Openforce can help you do this in the simplest and most efficient way. 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 hoop after hoop 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 in the cloud. It’s easier for candidates and less work for your administrative staff.

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

Openforce’s innovative IC management platform can help you make that happen by simplifying enrollment, streamlining qualification checks and consolidating key information in a single location.

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.