A great plan to hire independent contractors right the first time means you’re investing in the selection process so you don’t hire the wrong person and have to start all over again. It’s a huge investment of your time and theirs to understand your business, their responsibilities and get up to speed doing the work.
Hiring Independent Contractors Right the First Time means at least doing the usual:
- Ask the right questions
- Check references
- Review their past work
It's especially important to put time and effort into selecting your Independent Contractors talent, before a big project (lots of dollars or a big client) or when you’re planning to work with them longer term.
You can follow the usual hiring approach and still find out when the rubber hits the road, it just doesn’t work.
What else can you do to hire the right independent contractor the first time?
It's a best practice is test out your top 2 or 3 independent contractor choices. Testing (nothing to do with #2 pencils) means you’re saving yourself time, effort and money by finding out how they will work on YOUR projects up front.
It’s important to narrow down to no more than 3 top choices. Any more than 3 and you didn’t go a good job during the initial selection. Testing independent contractors at the top of your list means you’ll also get a sense of how well you work together, aka the chemistry. Chemistry (luckily this doesn’t involve a periodic table or Bunsen burners) is whether you ‘click’, not that you are BFFs. Do you feel there’s a good amount of listening AND input. Do dread talking to them or do you look forward to getting work done.
Testing can give you a chemistry check with your contractor before you hire
It’ll let you know if they understand your business and can pick up details quickly. You’ll get a feel for how they deliver and quality of the work.
4 ways you can test before you hire independent contractor talent:
- Request your top 2-3 choices do the exact same small project at the exact same time.
- Start with your first choice and initiate a small test project. If it’s unsuccessful, you move to your next choice to test.
The first two options do require you spend money to do a test. The good news is you can use a small project you actually need completed for your business. Its money well-spent and you'll get the best results from testing actual projects.
- A no money option, is to request your top choice talent prepare a project outline and budget proposal showing approach and methods based on a project you’ve already had completed. You’ll be able to compare it to a finished project to know if they’re on the right track.
Caution (flashing neon sign)! You can’t directly compare a new independent contractor's proposal and approach to a previous contractor’s completed project. This is a directional comparison. Directional meaning did they get the main points of the approach and is the estimated cost in the right ballpark.
The previous contractor had the advantage of a lot more details and information from directly working with you. The proposals you’ll be reviewing from potential independent contractors only have the information you provided and limited contact with your brain.
- Another no money option is to request a case study. The case study should about a similar business or scope of work. This will give you a flavor of their work and directional quality, but again be cautious (cue flashing neon sign again!) in any direct comparisons.
How to choose the best option to test your independent contractor talent? Famous business advice…it depends.
3 Factors to determine how to test a contractor for your business:
Time. How much time you have to conduct the test before you need real work done. The less time you have, and assuming you have some bucks to spend, use a small project to test with your top choice. Less time and no bucks to spend, use the project outline/proposal approach or a case study.
Money. How much money you have to do the test. I realize everyone's going to say they don't want to spend extra money for work that's not going to be done right, but think of how much money you’ll spend if you get the wrong partner. If you only have a few bucks, test using a small project that will solve one of your business needs.
Size of project or length of contract time. Is it a $5,000 project or a $25,000 project? Is it less than a four-week project or a six-month, year or two-year project? The longer the project or the bigger the expected cost, the more important it is to get it right and to do a preliminary trial test before you make your final decision.
It makes good business sense to set up a test project to increase your success and hire independent contractors right the first time.
There’s no comparison for doing live, real work especially when you plan to spend a significant amount of money or time.
Testing your top 2 or 3 talent choices means you’re saving yourself time, effort and money down the road. You’ll find out how they will work on YOUR projects up front. They will know if they want to work with you too. It’s always a two-way street for working relationships and avoiding collisions is always a good thing.
You can always use a no money test option if the stakes aren’t as big or you need it quickly. Remember, these results are just pointing you in the right direction, but not necessarily giving you the only answer.
Lastly chemistry, and ‘clicking’ with your contractor talent is important. You don’t want to dread working with someone you’re actually paying, no matter how brilliant they seem.
Tried a test of one sort or another? Oooh I’d love to hear how it went, tell me!