17 mm Contractors: How Do I Pick the Right One?


Many companies large and small are finding independent contractors ideal resources to get things done, complete unfinished projects or narrow the skill gap among their existing workforce. Independent contractors are ideal for scaling up or down your workforce.

I have been hiring and using independent contractors for the last 12 months in rebuilding KeenAlignment and the Wealth of Talent. Honestly, just like employees some are great and do what they say they will and some are not.

I have been promised everything from a beautiful best selling book, to a world class website, to accurate accounting records. What I have learned about independent contractors is worth sharing.

  1. Define exactly what you want done, what success looks like and how involved you want to be in ensuring success happens. Create the work specification as if it is your validation tool for paying for the independent contractors service.

  2. Create a check in schedule with your independent contractors and require progress reports, if they do not have reports ready and they are not aware of status and milestones of the project; this is a red flag and may mean you need to pull the plug.

  3. Get recommendations; validate whom these recommendations are coming from. Is it a previous customer making a referral or a member of their business development group referring to get points or praise?

  4. Assess the personality traits and the skills these people are saying they have. Using a project manager for a website that has little or no organizational skills and poor ability at keeping people on track and doesn’t understand how accountability works only scales the cost of the project and leads to boatloads of stress for the person ultimately responsible for success and for the person paying the bill.

  5. Select a few behavioral interviewing questions that dig into the core abilities that you need. If you are hiring an editor ask about how they manage detail and the process they use for spotting errors.

  6. If you are using Elance make sure you are clear about the conversion rates for commerce. I hired a wonderful graphic designer, however when the conversion fees were applied it cost me almost 60% more than I planned.

I personally believe that the Independent contractor is the wave of the present and the future. Authors like Maynard Web, Dr. Charles Handy predict this is the future, so if it is true; we all need to hire our contractors consciously and hold the same standards for them as we do our internal workforce.