5 Best Practices for Hiring Independent Contractors

by Allison Reilly

Independent contractors can be tricky to hire. They aren't employees,
so you can't treat them as such or offer them the same compensation benefits. Since they aren't employees, independent contractors can be a bit tougher to manage, and can easily walk out on the job if they aren't happy with the arrangement for whatever reason. How do you find contractors that are as good as employees, and will stick around like employees? Here are the five best practices for hiring them:
1) Pay an Industry Standard Wage 
This is one of the best practices for hiring in general, but is much more vital with contractors because independent contractors know what their industry-standard wage is, and won't work for anything less. By paying less than the norm, you'll only get substandard work and incredibly high turnover, wasting more time and money. Pay the norm, or maybe a little extra, to get someone who can do the job well.
2) Be Incredibly Clear About the Job 
Unlike new employees that you can easily check on and help with answering questions, your independent contractor could be thousands of miles away when doing their work. If you aren't explicit on what you want and expect out of this person and their work, then you're only going to end up with confusion and disappointment. By explicit, we mean including the tasks at hand, what they are for, and the minimum qualifications you are looking for.
3) List the Jobs in the Right Places 
One of the best practices for hiring is finding the right people, and to find the right people you have to know where they are. Independent contractors aren't on the normal job sites, but on websites dedicated to them like ElanceOdesk, and Freelancer. Listing your independent contractor job on those job boards for full-time positions won't find you the right people.
4) Have a Written Contract or Agreement 
Before starting work or paying anything upfront, make sure to have your company and that contractor sign a written contract or agreement. It not only gives the contractor assurance that you will pay them for their work, but it also give you the chance to hold the contractor accountable. Without a contract or agreement in writing, the contractor could easily run off with your money or change the price at the last minute.
5) Interview, Test Capabilities, and Check References
Whether this contractor will be on board for one month or one year doesn't mean that you don't take the time to make sure the person can do the work and would be pleasant to work with. You may not be working with this person for long, but best practices ensure that you'll be working with the right person, and that's what you need whether it's an employee or a contractor.

Independent contractors may be a good solution to getting a quick job done or to keeping labor costs down, but just because they're not employees doesn't mean that the best practices for hiring go out the window. 
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