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Background Screening in the Gig Economy

 In Background Checks, BLOG

Background Screening in the Gig Economy

Research suggests that 38% percent of millennials engage in at least some freelance work. As the popularity of the gig economy grows and expands to surrounding generations, the question of how to vet freelancers has become more and more problematic. In the digital age, anyone can say anything about who they are or what qualifications they have.


Still, freelancers can be a great choice for many businesses. Workers of this kind offer companies flexibility and don’t come with the high hiring costs that traditional in-office employees would. It’s possible to send work out to freelancers as you need to, so you can tweak your expenditures as profits grow. Certainly, it’s possible to get lucky and never have an issue with a remote worker.


Here are some tips about how to safely hire freelance or remote workers in the gig economy to ensure a successful, reliable workforce.


  1. Ask for references.


One of the best ways to determine whether a freelancer is who they say they are is to request that they submit references. This is common for traditional jobs, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t apply to remote workers. Be sure to call the references, as well. Ask lots of good questions about the employees’ reliability, and you should be well on your way to determining whether they might be a fit.


  1. Run a background check.


There isn’t a reason you can’t ask freelance workers to undergo a background check. Yes, the cost of onboarding a remote contractor will rise when you conduct background investigations on each. However, it’s completely worthwhile. You’ll be trusting company information and possibly even client contacts to someone who doesn’t work in your office. You need to know that they are reliable and can be counted on. In fact, research suggests that 86% of companies who use remote workers are now requiring background checks.


  1. Check online profiles.


Whether or not you run a formal background check on a new freelance worker, you absolutely should take a look at their online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest can reveal an awful lot about a person. LinkedIn is also an excellent place to view an individual’s past work experience. This sort of check takes only a few minutes, and it could be the difference between a great hire and a poor one.


If you’re considering hiring freelance employees to pick up some extra work, it’s safest to treat them the same as you’d treat in-office staff. Depending on your state laws and how much work you’ll be doling out, you shouldn’t have to worry about employment benefits, so at least you will enjoy that cost savings.

Alliance Risk Group is well versed in background investigations for a variety of industries and can help you to mitigate risk when it comes to your potential freelance hires and current staff. Even if you have remote workers now, consider running them through a background investigation just to be safe.


At Alliance Risk Group, our background checks do not rely solely on database information. Instead, we use a variety of sources to provide a thorough and complete look at your potential hires to ensure accuracy. Phone interviews with past employers or educational institutions can make a big difference when it comes to providing the whole picture of an applicant’s past. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today!


To read more about background checks and how they can help mitigate risk in your industry, click here.


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