There have never been more people working independently in the U.S., according to MBO Partners research. In 2022, there were 64.6 million independent workers in the U.S., an increase of 69% from 2020. Contrary to popular belief, this workforce isn’t just younger workers. It has come to demographically resemble the American workforce overall. The independent or “gig” workforce is comprised of 23% baby boomers, 28% Gen X, 34% millennials and 15% Gen Z.
With today’s tight labor market, employers are looking for talent anywhere they can find it. The pandemic and the economic uncertainty it has brought has made many knowledge workers reconsider how and where they work. Some who became independent during the pandemic may be ready to join an organization again. Long-time independent or freelance workers are open to new opportunities. With the rise in hybrid and remote working, bringing these skilled workers into the fold is easier than in the past.
Does Independent = Great Hire or Red Flag?
You’ve uncovered a candidate with the skills and capabilities you need, but they’ve been working on their own for some time. The transition from gig worker to employee may require some mental shifting, so it might feel a little risky. On the other hand, they may be your best hire ever. After all, they must be intelligent, self-motivated and service-oriented to successfully earn a living on their own. The following questions may help add insight into your hiring decision:
Why do they want to move from independent to employee? It’s key to understand a candidates’ motivation. Is it for security? Benefits? Perhaps they want to work in a more social environment, or to develop skills and experience in new areas. Keep in mind that when working alone, gig workers typically have fewer chances for on-the-job learning and mentoring unless they purposely seek it out. Your candidate may see interesting opportunities in things you take for granted about working for your organization.
Will they be able to collaborate effectively? Don’t assume they can’t. Few independents work in isolation. Many enjoy working as part of a virtual team and have the collaboration skills to do it well. Especially with the sophistication of collaborative technology (e.g., Zoom) today, communication with others is a part of their work life. In your interview, ask for examples of successful projects, and how the candidate talks about being part of a team.
Will they fit your culture and structure? Independents are used to having more control over their schedule. But flexibility has become table stakes for many jobs today. The question for you is: Does your role and organizational culture meet their needs for flexibility and working independently within a larger workforce? If there is room for negotiation, you may be able to meet in the middle on these.
Use Interviewing Technology to Find the Right Candidate
In any hiring scenario – independent worker or not – you need to quickly and accurately assess a candidate’s skills. Modern Hire’s assessment, screening and interviewing tools streamline pre-employment screening with automated, on-demand text and pre-recorded phone and video interviews that are based on relevant job competencies and skills. These tools are rooted in more than a billion candidate interactions, advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, and almost two decades of diligent, data-driven client research and practice.
Modern Hire’s platform provides the information you need to hire the right person and reduce turnover risk in multiple ways:
- Convenient for the candidate. Modern Hire’s on-demand interviewing screening tools enable candidates to record their answers to your custom questions when it’s convenient for them. Then candidates who meet your qualifications are automatically advanced to the next stage. Candidates can also self-schedule their interview, choosing the day and time that works best for them.
- Talk face-to-face sooner. You can easily get into a live video interview with your candidate the same or next day after first contact. That face-to-face dialog helps you rule them in or out right away, so you don’t spend time and energy on a candidate who is clearly not right fit. If your candidate shows promise, you can keep the hiring process moving swiftly.
- Candidates can experience the job. What if your candidates could get a taste of the job before interviews even begin? If it’s not a good fit, you can save time for everyone. Modern Hire’s Virtual Job Tryout® simulation measures job-relevant competencies that are proven to be crucial to new hire success in the role. No guessing or over-reliance on resumes. This objective tool also reduces bias in selection.
- Follow up with ease. With video interviewing technology, it’s easier to have a follow up conversation without inconveniencing your candidate. And you can ask the hiring manager, potential team members, or other TA colleagues to join in a live panel interview to get their input. They can join using their smart phone, tablet or right from their desktop PC.
- Customized interview questions. Modern Hire’s Automated Interview Creator provides questions based on competencies and behaviors critical to success in the job. This results in 50% more accurate interview question selection and more than 70% bias reduction.
- Create a great impression. Even if you don’t hire this independent, you’d still like to create a good impression – you might want them in the future. A purpose-built video interviewing platform provides a branded, positive experience for candidates so even if they don’t get the job, they’ll tell others it was a good experience.
If your gig worker candidate turns out to be a great hire for your organization, perhaps you’d like to find more people like them. You can do so by socializing your postings via video interviewing technology. Use LinkedIn to invite a group of independents into your on-demand video interview with a single click, and you just may have found a talent pool with new potential for 2023.
To learn more about Modern Hire’s science-based hiring technology, request a demo.