Small Business Contractor Hiring Moves Online

Economists and out of work Americans are looking for signs of revival in the U.S. job market. It’s too soon to tell if hiring is occurring in any significant way. However, a new Elance survey shows that when SMBs do hire, they’re going about the process in a new way.

Nearly 2/3’s of surveyed business owners say they are using online hiring instead of traditional hiring. And, in addition to hiring online, businesses are looking for employees to work on a project by project basis. This staffing practice allow businesses to maintain flexibility at a time when profitability is still under stress. Additional benefits of online hiring include “24-hour/7 day a week access to talent.”

How widespread are these new ‘distributed organizations?’ The survey results indicate more hiring managers are comfortable with hiring the right team members for a project and not so concerned about their physical location.  Fewer than 20% of hiring managers said that a team member’s location is important for an online hire.

Survey results also  show:

  • Businesses who have made at least 1 online hire: 86%
  • Made between 2–5 online hires: 49%
  • Made 6+ online hires: 15%

How can potential employees stand out when businesses are seeking to make an online hire? Decision makers consider the following criteria:

  • Ratings from prior employers 89%
  • Viewing a portfolio of work 84%
  • Pay rate 73%

Elance analysts predict the online hiring trend will continue. Businesses that serve this marketplace have an opportunity to increase revenue by promoting their products and services and more SMBs and employees seek to find each other online.
[Source: Elance Survey Reveals Majority of Small Businesses Prefer Hiring Online vs. In-Person. 23 Jun. 2010. Web. 29 Jun. 2010]

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.