good team chemistry together creates good ideas

Finding the Right Contingent Workers

Heather Myers, Ph.D.

Chief Psychology Officer | PhD | Analyzer/Mentor in Work

The contingent workforce -- workers hired on a need-basis, such as freelancers and contractors -- has been increasing steadily for many years. Indeed back in 2018 Deloitte reported that more than 40% of the workforce was made up of contingent and part-time workers; with 37% of organizations expecting the numbers to continue to climb.

Now with businesses struggling due to the pandemic, many are looking to contingent workers to fill the gaps in their line-up, as mentioned by my colleague Dan Sines recently. That’s because hiring contingent workers allows organizations to complete projects without having to commit to a long term hire. Such projects are also great for individuals looking for short-term work or who are excited about a particular opportunity.

Numbers are up

With unemployment rising exponentially the number of talented individuals available for contingent work is increasing dramatically. With such a large pool of individuals available, and more roles to fill, it’s vital to find efficient ways to evaluate and select talent. However, often the hiring processes used for contingent roles are inefficient and time consuming. Typically the process is high-touch with many people needed to evaluate candidates.

In addition, the hiring process differs significantly from the one used for evaluating permanent employees. For example, often contingent candidates do not complete any pre-hire assessments --a standard step for applicants applying to established positions. This means that objective information on person and organization fit is not available.

Nevertheless, the fit between the contingent worker and the role, the team, the organization and its culture, is surely an important precursor to the success of any project. When projects fail it is often because of poor chemistry, and inadequate communication, with the rest of the team. In this situation the cost of a poor fit can be pretty high.

Good chemistry

One way to fix the problem is to include a personality assessment as part of the application process. This can tap into the things that are considered important for contingent workers. For example, nextSource identifies four key attributes: accountability, independence, diplomacy, and efficiency. These map onto the Five Factor Model of personality -- the guiding force behind the Traitify Big Five questionnaire -- which can then provide powerful insights into whether an applicant has the personality needed for success. This information can also be used to carefully prioritize applicants.

Prioritization based on fit can produce significant savings. When used alongside resumes it can dramatically decrease time-to-hire. This is often mission-critical when a job is time-sensitive. And of course, having a worker who is a good fit from the start improves the odds of buy-in and increases the likelihood of getting a project done well.

Giving back

For applicants, adding a fun and engaging assessment makes the process more attractive. If it also includes positive feedback -- in the form of core personality strengths -- it adds a PR element that provides strong perceived value, even if an applicant doesn’t secure the job.

In short, if your organization needs to add to its contingent workforce, consider including a personality assessment in your hiring process. It will provide a positive and engaging experience, and help you to quickly find the best candidates. This is good for the individual, the team, your business, and the bottom line.


To hear more about why candidate fit is critical for the contingent workforce, join me and our partner Beeline for a webinar June 2nd at 3pm ET.

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