What to Look for When Hiring an Independent Contractor

The next time your small business needs a virtual assistant, a copywriter or someone to remodel your office space, consider hiring an independent contractor. Almost one-third of Americans consider themselves to be independent contractors, and they stand ready to help you and your business meet deadlines, perform specialized services or work in another professional capacity. Here are a few things to look for when you hire independent contractors.


Your employees and their actions, appearance and work reflect on your company. Even though independent contractors aren't full-time employees, they should be completely professional. Look for this characteristic as you interview and assess potential independent contractors.


From the time you schedule an initial meeting to the moment when you receive a proposal, look at an independent contractor's responsiveness. You need to hire someone who is dependable and able to keep you in the loop about project progress. An independent contractor who takes days to return communications or one who isn't on time to meetings will probably not respond better after the work begins.


You expect independent contractors to display a proactive, decisive and determined person, but are they also team players, willing to take constructive criticism and able to compromise? The independent contractors you hire should have an attitude that fits with your company's culture and values as you all work together toward achieving a common goal.


As you would inspect the resume of any potential employee, give your independent contractors' resumes the same attention. Check references, ask to see completed projects and feel free to ask them to perform a test project to make sure the skills they claim to have are accurate.


Despite your best intentions, projects sometimes fall behind, the wrong products are ordered or other things go wrong. The independent contractors you hire should be flexible and able to go with the flow and adjust to get the job done.


You wouldn't dream of hiring an employee who lies, so don't hire dishonest independent contractors. Anyone who wants paid under the table, asks you to fudge the books or lies about damages is not a good candidate for your company.

Before you advertise for another employee, stretch your existing staff thin or let important project go undone, check out independent contractors. They're skilled professionals who can help your small business finish projects on time or fill temporary voids in your staff. These listed traits assist you in finding the independent contractors who are right for your business.
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