For the IT sector in particular, there is a vast pool of full-time and independent contractors globally who are up for grabs. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2016 Contractor and Full-Time Talent Trends study, a whopping 84% of professionals (both full-time and independent) are interested in hearing from recruitment firms and headhunters. 

Now you might be surprised to find that independent contractors are also incorporated into this piece, but it actually makes perfect sense. Let’s face it, in today’s working environment, independent contractors can make up as much as 20% to 30% of the working age population.

Further, according to McKinsey Global Institute, as much as 42% of American executives want to hire more independent contractors in the years to come. This is also supported by research that suggests that as much as 40% of American workers would be independent contractors by 2020.

This trend has got some experts to believe that contractors can make up as much as half of the workforce within a decade. With an influx of millennials in the workforce, globalization, and technology all converging, people now work in teams (negating the need for hierarchies). But the full-time permanent worker isn’t obsolete and will probably be around for a very long time.

But how do you go about attracting the next IT ninja? Keep reading as these findings will help you build a strategy to hunt down the best minds in the business.

1. Right Message for the Right People

We have already found out that contractors and full-timers are quite open to hearing from you, so you need to make an effort to create the right messages to attract the right people.

On a social platform like LinkedIn, there are both contractors and full-time workers looking at jobs. However, contractors (43%) are far more active than full-time workers (30%) as they are always on the move.

Most contractors have over four years of experience and are open to moving between different industries. They are also more active in job seeking and professionally oriented activities.

So if you want to get their attention, you have to tell them what they want to hear. According to research, 64% of contractors state that they want excellent compensation and benefits, but they also value a good work-life balance (59%).

Other important factors are as follows:

  • IT contractors want to work at a place that they would be proud to work at (35%)
  • They want a culture that fits their personality (44%)
  • They want the ability to make an impact  (40%)

So when you start hitting them with content, make sure that you highlight the characteristics mentioned above.

2. Independent Contractors want to be Challenged!

Contractors face a lot of hurdles during the hiring process than their full-time global counterparts. These can range from applying for a job and never hearing back to negotiating a title and a salary.

They are also often contacted by recruiters who don’t match them, so make sure not to turn them off by repeating this mistake. Further, once you recruit contractors, you have to make an effort to retain them.

Compared to full-time employees, independent contractors have the freedom to keep switching jobs whenever they feel like it. So although they might be accepted into the company as part of the family, it’s a little tricky when it comes to managing them.

Those who left their last job cited the following reasons:

  • Not feeling challenged (30%)
  • Poor career advancement (26%)
  • Bad cultural fit (23%)

For the last one, maybe it would be better to first check if anyone who’s already working for you has worked with the prospect before. This also applies to full-time hires as making sure that it’s a good match before hiring the individual can save you time and money.

Another thing to note when wanting to retain talent is the fact that most independent contractors want to become permanent full-time employees. So if all the boxes are checked, maybe it’s time to dangle that carrot and get the conversation started.

3. How do you Find the Next Full-Time Worker or Contractor?

Both contractors and full-time workers usually hear about job openings from third-party recruitment firms, someone already working at the company, or a hiring manager. But once they hear about the job, they don’t apply right away.

This is the digital age after all, so they check out the website, look at employee profiles (and talk to some of them), and read articles about the company. If it feels like a good match, they will update their resume.

So make sure that your company website and LinkedIn profile are up to date and encourage your staff to do the same. Usually, your HR consultant will be the first touch point in their journey, so empower them.

Branding strategies also come into play if you want to attract and keep the best talent. So make sure that your business is positioned to stand out from the competition.

Now I have to admit that this post was a little heavy on the contractor side, but that has to do a lot with me on a personal level. I have been an independent contractor for over five years now and most of these findings resonated with me. And what's been your experience so far?

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Andrew Zola is a freelance writer, designer, and artist working in branding and marketing for over ten years. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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