What Do Contractors Really Want? Data-Driven Insights from LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered what goes through the minds of contractor candidates? Contractors – and job candidates in general – have changed over the last few years, with more and more wanting flexible work, perfect for the environment we’re creating. It can feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.

What do contractors really want? LinkedIn conducted a global survey of over 14,000 professionals as part of their annual talent survey. Each person surveyed was asked about how they find jobs, what drives them to make a change from their current situation, and what they’re looking for at each stage of the process.

Stage 1: Reaching out

The first step in the recruiting process is communicating with prospective contractors. And, according to LinkedIn’s survey, contractors want to hear from you. Being contacted by a recruiter is considered a compliment, making candidates feel respected. As a matter of fact, 90% of those surveyed said they’d be open to new opportunities and 63% said they feel flattered when they get a call from a recruiter.

It goes one step further, though. Today’s contractors pride themselves on staying on top of what’s going on in the world, especially among the companies with whom they’d like to work. Their biggest fear? Missing out on the next big opportunity. So when a recruiter calls, they want to be available to jump on the next big thing out there.

That doesn’t mean, though, that candidates are going to respond to every recruiting email or phone call they receive. As a matter of fact, 56% of those surveyed said they’d be more likely to respond if they were being contacted by the hiring manager than a recruiter.

First, start by getting to know your clients well, especially the hiring managers. The more information and background you can get from the hiring manager, the more likely the candidate is going to talk with you. Be as knowledgeable about the hiring manager as you possibly can so you can make the contractor candidate comfortable about the person with whom they’ll be working.

Next, pay attention to your own level of authority. How familiar are you with the positions you’re filling? Can you speak the lingo, talk the talk? If you’re going to attract the right contractors, you have to know their business; otherwise, they’ll turn and walk away.

The best way to improve your standing is to get out there in the community – on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets. Talk about the types of positions you’re filling. Give advice on how to succeed as a contractor. The more you’re viewed as an authority, the more likely you’ll draw qualified contractor candidates to your company, and the more likely they’ll stay.

Stage 2: Improving your messaging

If you’re like most recruiters, you’re reaching out to every possible candidate out there. You’re trolling LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster for the latest resumes. You’re talking to other recruiters, inside and outside your company. But what is the message you’re passing along? How is the message being received by candidates? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

This is where Sense comes in. We ensure your brand is presented in the right way and your voice is consistent through all your communications channels when you interact with contractors.

According to the LinkedIn Survey, there are five critical types of information candidates want the very first time they hear from you (in order of importance):

  • Job details
  • Salary range
  • Company overview
  • Company position
  • Company culture

Stage 3: Distributing your message

With this information in hand, how are you distributing your message? LinkedIn’s survey said 49% of candidates follow companies on social media, with 35% of those relying on LinkedIn to learn more about contract possibilities.

How robust is your social media marketing? For most recruiters, the possibility of using social media other than LinkedIn seems far-fetched. But as social media continues to grow, it’s no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

To grow your following on social media, it’s important to be consistent in your use of social media. Remember, too, that social media is called that for a reason – it’s “social.” Engage in conversations on the different social media outlets. Post additional information about your open contract positions on LinkedIn. Write articles and blog posts about how to be effective as a contractor and post links on your social media channels.

Stage 4: Setting your contractors up for success

Another interesting fact that came out of the survey is that candidates are no longer complacently waiting to be told about potential openings or potential companies—they’re doing their research. According to the survey, 65% of candidates look on a company’s website to find out more information, while 47% go one step further, and use search engine results to find out even more. Contractors are going to Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about your company and what other contractors are saying about you.

If candidates are looking for your company on a search engine, what will they find? Make sure your candidates are successful in finding out more about your company and your client companies by providing the information up front. Give candidates links to company websites and to reviews. Ensure reviews on the web are positive and are actually out there; no reviews can be worse than negative reviews.

Sense helps maintain and grow your online reputation. We help you identify your brand advocates and contractors who have enjoyed working with your team so that you can reach out to them when it’s appropriate, and ask them to leave a review online, talk about your company on social media, or send high-quality referrals back into the beginning of your recruiting funnel.

Another way to set your contractors up for success is to ensure your website is as complete as possible. Explain your processes on your website and set contractor expectations right up front, so candidates aren’t having to guess at what your process entails. Go beyond the basics; you’ll engender more trust among candidates if you treat them as adults and not as children, from whom certain information must be hidden.

Stage 5: Streamlining the interview process

Candidates want the interview process to be as short as possible. The average candidate spends two to three months interviewing for contract positions; do your contractors have to wait that long? And it can take up to three interviews before a contractor actually lands a contract.

Streamline your interview process by asking the most important questions up front. Remove red tape. By setting expectations on your website and not making candidates go through multiple interviews, you’re more likely to fill your open contractor requisitions more quickly, with contractors that will stay through the term of the contract and beyond.

Make sure you cover all the bases in the initial interview. Know the contract and company history like the back of your hand and leave plenty of time for questions. Show your human side, and, while you’re at it, allow your contractors to know as much about you and your company as they will about the companies with whom they will be contracted.

Stage 6: The followup

Don’t make candidates wait for a followup and don’t make them call you. 40% of respondents to LinkedIn’s survey said they want prompt follow-up after the interview and 36% want to know how well they performed at each interview stage.

65% of those interviewed for the survey said they would turn down a potential contract if the interview process went off the rails and if there was no followup. You can lose your best candidates by being disorganized in the interviews, if you make candidates go through too many interviews or if there is little or no followup.

Stage 7: Closing the deal

If you’ve hit all the high notes in each of the previous six stages, more than likely, you will be able to close the deal with both the candidate and the client. Your skills as a recruiter are brought to the fore by your treating the candidates with respect, and giving them all the information up front. If you’d done all you can to set and meet expectations, closing the deal should be a mere formality.

Don’t rely on money to be the final selling point; as mentioned above money is not the sole reason contractors are attracted to positions. Be open and honest with your candidates, giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision and you’ll seal the contract and land a fine, long-term contractor for your company.

Interested in landing higher quality candidates for your staffing company? Schedule a demo to learn more about how Sense can help transform your company today.

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