Companies in many industries are required to screen nearly everyone their business hires. This often includes freelancers, contract workers, or other kinds of casual labor. This type of business relationship is exploding in market share in the last several years. In fact, it is estimated that a shocking 40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020 according to an Intuit study. As evidence of this, there were 1 million more freelancers in 2015 than the year before.
With this fascinating shift in the traditional employer/employee relationship, employers need to stay aware of several unique challenges to background screening this growing population of workers. Keep these tips in mind when working with your flexible workforce:
- Decide if you want to rely on other’s background screening.
- Many freelancers or contractors come from agencies that have a contract with your company. But should you trust the screening they performed? Evaluate their screening processes against yours for vulnerabilities, and if they don’t stand up, decide if you want to rescreen the candidate.
- Make regularity a priority.
- Freelancers by their very nature don’t have the kind of connection to your company that your employees do. Managers will definitely notice if an employee goes to jail, for instance. By doing more regular checks on your freelancers, you keep a pulse on your company’s possible liability ties to them.
- Secure their permission.
- Don’t forget this very important step! Be sure that you have had the freelancer sign the proper permission and disclosure forms before you run your background screen. Keep the documents on file, exactly like you would a direct hire.
- Stay aware of the laws.
- The same laws that apply to screening of employees apply to freelancers. Just because you employ casual labor, doesn’t mean that your knowledge of the law should be casual too! Make sure you apply the same rigor you would when processing a new hire.
- Be mindful of their time.
- An applicant who has a job offer contingent on their background screen may be willing to jump through every hoop and wait to hear back. A talented freelancer, however, has many options to find work, and won’t hang on forever. Be expedient, fair, and transparent to attract the best flexible workforce talent.
Flexible work forces are in demand and growing. Keep your company safe by background screening, and following the law when you do!