A line of five people of varying ethnicities and genders sits in a line of chairs against a light blue marble wall. All five people look expectantly and smiling at the person in the foreground, who is out of focus and partially off-screen. The only part of this person that can be seen is one arm, which holds a clipboard.
To attract the right candidates, you have to post job openings on the right websites. There are many job sites specifically for freelancers and others looking for contract work. — Getty Images/Paperkites

In the early stages of a business, hiring contract employees can be an ideal way to grow. Companies hire contract employees for a predetermined length of time or for a specific project — after which the employees’ status with the company is reassessed.

Often considered independent contractors or freelancers, contract positions are common for those who are hired for their specific set of skills or expertise on a short-term basis, such as graphic designers, writers, and musicians. Here’s how to attract contract employees to your small business.

Define the contract role and its responsibilities

Hiring a freelancer over a W-2 employee for certain positions makes more sense financially and can help a business scale faster. To attract contract employees, a company should understand the types of projects or roles that freelancers generally look for and ensure that the jobs they are offering fill that need. The roles should be clearly defined, with specific job responsibilities and the prospective duration of the contract laid out in detail.

[Read more: W-2 vs. 1099 Contractors: Tax Differences Explained]

Designate a time frame for the contract

The time frame of a contract can vary greatly depending on the needs of your small business. For example, you could hire a freelancer to fill a temporary role while an employee is out sick or on leave for several weeks. Other companies may choose to hire a temporary employee on an as-needed or ongoing basis. Regardless of your position's required time frame, you should clearly define it in the contract.

Offer competitive rates and benefits

Temporary contractors won’t settle for a low-paying contract when many other options are available, so it’s important to budget for fair and competitive compensation to attract talented independent workers.

Contract employees have much less of a cost burden on a company as opposed to full-time salaried employees, as the employer does not have to offer benefits and or pay any part of the employee’s tax liability. To ease the tax burden and make the role worthwhile, contractor employees generally are paid more per hour.

[Read more: Working as an Independent Contractor? These Resources Will Help You Manage Your Taxes]

Hiring a freelancer over a W-2 employee for certain positions makes more sense financially and can help a business scale faster.

Create challenging opportunities

Challenging work often attracts contract employees, as the best freelancers are motivated by difficult tasks or projects and see them as opportunities to improve themselves and their skills. In addition, a challenging opportunity is a great way for temporary employees to build up their resumes and make themselves more appealing candidates to future potential employers.

Attract contract candidates by highlighting the most challenging aspects of the prospective freelancer’s role so they understand precisely the tasks they will be expected to perform. This will show you who is serious about the role and appeal to those hard workers who are looking to take on a new, challenging opportunity.

Post your job descriptions and openings on the right sites

To ensure that your listings get the most views from relevant and high-quality candidates, research where freelance candidates in your industry look for work. There are many industry-specific career sites for contract positions; however, if you don’t choose the right ones to list your job openings, then your business will likely end up wasting a lot of time and resources, while ultimately not finding worthwhile candidates. You may also want to consider paid listings on sites like LinkedIn to boost your exposure and potentially find a wider pool of potential candidates.

Create an easy and short recruitment process

Don’t put contract workers through rounds of interviews that delay the hiring process. Contract workers have many options and likely won’t wait around — and a long process could cut into your business’s revenue and productivity. Instead, shorten your recruiting process and be decisive and swift with your hiring decisions.

Don’t linger on your decision of which contract employee to hire, because you could end up missing out on your top choice if another company makes the decision faster. Instead, determine who needs to be involved in the hiring process and try to keep it to only the absolutely necessary individuals.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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