This is How You Recruit Hourly Workers in the Gig Economy

For gig workers, using the traditional hiring methods simply won't cut it.
By: | February 8, 2019 • 4 min read

The gig economy is exploding, and employers are scrambling to keep pace. The National Association of Counties reports that the gig economy’s share of the U.S. workforce increased from 10.1 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2015. Today, it’s estimated that about 20 percent of the workforce is working in the gig economy. These statistics mean drastic adjustments for employers accustomed to relying on traditional hourly workers with steady, predetermined schedules. The advancing gig economy requires major adaptations in recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and general HR practices.


What Is the Gig Economy and What Do Workers Want?

Also known as the freelancer economy, independent workforce, sharing economy, or agile workforce, the gig economy is a workforce environment involving temporary contracts, short-term engagements and independent contracting. A gig is an individual task, job or assignment representing a small portion of the worker’s income. Workers may perform a variety of tasks or shifts for different companies or clients. Cumulative earnings may be comparable to full-time employment or simply a way to earn supplemental income on the side. The growth of the gig economy represents shifting American viewpoints regarding work. Rather than the stability of a full-time, 40-hours a week job with one employer, many workers today are choosing the freedom, flexibility and personal fulfillment the gig economy can provide.

Finding the Job—Make it Easy for Job Seekers

The gig economy increasingly operates on tech platforms that connect workers seeking flexible work arrangements with companies that need them. It makes sense for employers seeking hourly workers to have state-of-the-art recruiting and applicant software that automatically posts open positions to multiple job boards. When sourcing candidates in the gig economy, you need to be where workers are looking.

Go for Speed and Simplicity in Your Application Process

Workers in the gig economy will abandon an online application if it’s too lengthy or complicated. Job seekers today have plenty of opportunities, and they know that their time is valuable. The quicker and simpler the application process is, the more attractive it will be to hourly workers and the more likely they are to complete it.

When creating a job post, there are a few things you can do to streamline the application process, such as:

  • Be honest about the job description in the job post
  • Talk clearly about the benefits of working with your company
  • Use screening questions to ensure you attract the right talent
  • Integrate social profiles to help streamline the process for both employers and job seekers
  • Make your application process mobile friendly—a growing number of candidates use a smartphone to search for work

Evolution of Job Interviews to Fit the Gig Economy

The entire employment arena is being revolutionized by the gig economy. Gig employers are transitioning away from paper applications and traditional, in-person interviews involving questions such as, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” The interview process is evolving to include video interviews, hypothetical situations designed to gauge a candidate’s intelligence, and strange, brain-teasing interview questions, such as: “How many ways can you think of to find a needle in a haystack?”

Job seekers in the gig economy are looking for flexibility. Make the candidate aware during the interview that flexibility plays a role in what your company is offering. Cultural fit is a key factor in the success and contribution of the workers you hire. Try to convey a clear picture of your workplace culture and incorporate interview questions designed to assess whether a candidate is a good fit.

Streamlined Onboarding to Get Hourly New Hires Up and Running

By definition, gig economy workers may not be with your company indefinitely. For cost-effectiveness and efficiency, the onboarding and training process needs to be streamlined and seamless to get hourly workers up and running fast. HR software that automates the onboarding process can reduce duplicate data entry and paperwork and help optimize this crucial experience for new hires. Software of this kind creates seamless transitions, so your new gig workers can put their skills to use right away.

Automated HR onboarding software can help you:

  • Accumulate accurate employee background information
  • Provide I-9, W-4, & 1099 compliance
  • Manage taxes from multiple work locations and states
  • Supply company-specific onboarding forms
  • And much more

With I-9, W-4, and 1099 filing and compliance capabilities, you’ll be able to process a gig economy worker’s tax information easily and 10 times more efficiently than the traditional manual way.

A fully integrated human capital management software allows you to manage employee documents from their first day until the project’s completion. Gig economy workers move on and off your system fast, so software like this makes it simple to process their information while eliminating human error.


The gig economy is here to stay. More and more employees are taking advantage of the flexible benefits the gig economy can provide across all industries. Make sure your hiring processes are simple, quick and user-friendly so you can keep attracting the best.

Michelle Lanter Smith is the chief marketing officer of EPAY Systems. She graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University and holds an MBA with distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.