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How to Hire in the Gig Economy

In Hiring Strategy — by Dave Anderson


Advancements in technology are continuously providing people with new ways to make money. Not long ago, the majority of professionals worked a usual 40+ hour week in an office or traditional workplace. While full-time jobs aren’t going away anytime soon, it’s no longer the only option people have to generate income.

People are now taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the “gig economy” to find unique ways to make a living. Mobile apps like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and TaskRabbit allow people to use the internet to easily connect with others in need of simple services, like a ride, food delivery or handyman work.  

The real size of the gig economy is difficult to quantify. Some reports say it’s growing but currently accounts for a small portion of the workforce. However, Intuit CEO Brad Smith believes 43 percent of professionals will be gig workers by 2020.

The rise of alternative employment options means your company may need to rethink its hiring process. You could soon have a difficult time finding quality candidates as more shift into the gig economy. In this article, we’ll explore some trends your company may encounter in the future and provide tips for overcoming these challenges.

The rise of 1099 contractors

Even though the apps used to make money in unique ways get the majority of media attention, most gig professionals work for a single company as a 1099 contractor. Unlike a W2 employee, 1099 contractors don’t have income tax withheld and aren’t provided benefits by the company.

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The trade-off for 1099 contractors is they enjoy more independence than their full-time counterparts. They’re not required to adhere to a nine-to-five schedule and are able to work from home or a remote location. They’re simply judged on the quality of work they deliver, not how they go about getting it done.

Many people are happy to pay a large annual tax bill and buy their own health insurance if it means they can avoid a commute, workplace politics and the general grind of a regular job. When hiring, it can be worthwhile to consider if your company will benefit from a temporary contractor who will work off-site on their own, instead of bringing on a new employee who will be with the company long term.

An increase is self-employed service providers

The internet also provides people with the ability to start their own business and serve clients around the globe. As the gig economy grows, many specialized workers are choosing to leave their full-time jobs and offer their skills on a freelance or project-basis.

Self-employed service providers are similar to 1099 contractors and often classified as such by the companies they work for. However, instead of working a fix numbered of hours for a single company for a few month period, they often work for multiple organizations at once. They commonly complete a specific project for a company, then bill for the hours they worked when it’s done.

There are a number of websites freelancers use to advertise their services, such as Upwork and Additional, many self-employed freelancers use social media to promote their business and LinkedIn to pitch their services to company representatives. Use these websites to your advantage if your company needs a freelancer to complete a one-off project.

The employee experience matters

Despite the flexibility, the gig economy offers, most the positions your company hires for will be full-time. That means you could have a difficult time attracting top talent as more people opt for alternative employment.

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The takeaway is that employee retention and employer branding will be more important than ever. You have to provide your current team members with a great experience so they don’t ever feel compelled to leave. And you have to promote that experience as part of your recruiting efforts so great candidates apply to your company. Here are a few ways your company can build a careers page on its corporate website that promotes a favorable employer brand.

    • Highlight your company values and points that sum up your culture
    • List all the benefits your company offers and perks of being an employee
    • Include photos of your workplace and employees
    • Publish testimonials from your employees sharing what they love about their job
  • Record a recruiting video that highlights the employee experience in a compelling format

The points above will help your company build a detailed careers page that showcases the employee experience. From there, your recruiting team can promote the employer brand much like marketers do so the best people available are attracted to your career opportunities.

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