We’ve seen the explosion of the gig economy in the workforce coming for years, and now as recruiters we are trying to engage, recruit, and hire those same gig workers. Hiring for the gig economy is no easy task. It’s a challenge because immediacy is important when it comes to compensation, communication, and incentives. Great gig workers, like their full-time, non-contract counterparts, are in demand, which makes recruiting this fluid workforce a test of even the most experienced HR and recruitment marketing team’s skills.
Many of our candidates are juggling multiple jobs or gigs. The key to reaching the best gig workers is going to be what makes your company different (and better) than every competitor out there. What are you offering that your competitors aren’t? And how do you communicate this to gig workers who may be looking for their next contract?
Gig Job Recruiting: Focus on the Funnel
Fluid work arrangements require flexible hiring strategies. In order to hire and scale hiring, recruiting teams must now operate in “always on” mode, meaning that our jobs to reach candidates and fill our hiring funnel are constant, not cyclical based on requisitions. Your job listings are key to this strategy, as is your candidate engagement.
Your gig job listings should be designed to fill your hiring funnel. You can engage and qualify candidates later. Speed is of the utmost importance, as gig workers have become accustomed to job shopping (not to be confused with “job hopping”) in the same way we’d shop for a large appliance or new car. If your organization needs gig workers, you have to use your listings to highlight your employer brand and what you offer that every other company doesn’t.
Your career site is a showcase for your brand. In the gig economy, your career site becomes a dynamic tool to help you reach targeted candidates, from landing pages to on-page content for SEO. If you don’t know what your ideal candidates search for to find your jobs, you’re already two steps behind your competitor. It is important to ensure that you are reaching candidates via the words they search for and not your company lexicon.
Constant movement. I cannot emphasize the importance of continuously evaluating your pay structure, role titles and descriptions, as well as internal growth opportunities enough. Stagnancy in the gig economy means a dry talent pool, period. Your ability to be nimble and competitive is the best way to ensure that gig candidates not only accept offers but also consider re-upping or returning to your company. This means that your job descriptions, career site, recruiting and engagement strategies are unlikely to be evergreen for your gig jobs.
Learn from the pros. Companies like Lyft, Postmates, TaskRabbit, Spin, Favor...there are literally hundreds of companies that started out small and scaled rapidly in a short period of time, all with hiccups along the way. The good news is that you can learn from them.
Uber is now in 364 cities in 67 countries, with nearly 200,000 “driver partners” employed. Like the other companies hiring gig employees successfully, Uber does candidate engagement right. It knows where its candidates are (early recruiting pushes were on Twitter), it calls its employees “partners” and offers next level benefits, and has resources and messaging to keep its workforce engaged and continuously working for them. Despite the challenges it has faced, Uber is still referenced as the gold standard in any article about recruiting the gig workforce.
The Candidate Experience is Key for Gig Workers
What happens when gig recruiting fails? Some companies are finding recruiting and retaining gig workers so challenging, they’re moving to a salaried model. According to a Wired article in March 2019, Bird is transitioning from using contractors to hiring salaried workers to charge and fix its scooters in several cities, including San Diego, Dallas, and Austin. As someone who has personally tested the candidate process for a scooter company, I can say that engagement absolutely matters. If a gig worker signs up and waits weeks or months to receive an email, they’re absolutely going to move on. Additionally, training, onboarding and ongoing engagement is imperative to maintaining this business model. Scooter-share is a new business, and not yet a profitable one; this shift is a sign that companies like Spin, Lime and Bird are still working out some weaknesses in gig worker engagement.