Whatis.com gives the best definition of the “gig economy” when they say it’s “an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” And, as the definition continues, a study by Intuit predicts that by 2020, 40-percent of American workers will be independent contractors.
This shift is taking place due to a number of factors including:
• So many jobs going to the mobile service economy
• Technology allowing people to work from anywhere
• Businesses cutting costs with contractors by using them “on-demand” without paying for office space, benefits, or other employee expenses.
The result is a lot of workers engaging in more short-term jobs, which require either more frequent background checks or a way to pre-check themselves for a current, valid authentication of their past.
What does that mean for background check companies? Just ask Checkr, a mobile background check service, who claims $120M in revenue last year after only two years in business with a valuation heading North of $1B.
How many traditional background check companies in business for over 20 years can make that claim? Checkr embraces and thrives on the gig economy with clients like Uber, Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart.
In my worldview, if you can’t beat them, join them. There is a lot of revenue left on the table for background check companies who don’t embrace the gig economy and this huge transformation of the workforce.
So, how you can a background check company capitalize on current technology and automation to deliver value to the gig economy to increase customer acquisition and improve revenue?
1. Make the overall mobile experience better. Don’t underestimate the power of having a nice, well-designed, mobile responsive site that allows the candidate to easily navigate through the process.
2. Ask less of applicants ... not more. It’s proven the longer the process, the greater the drop-off rate. You need to have your UX team focus on only the most relevant and required information. This means you most likely will need to rethink on a business level what is essential and what is not. I know there are compliance, regulation, and auditing concerns, but you need to challenge those to make sure you are making it as easy as possible on the candidate and not just including the question because “everyone else does.”
3. Actually make it mobile. It is critical to make the application and background check process responsive so it fits on all screens. That way, the candidate doesn’t need to download an app just to engage with you, but it does look and feel like a mobile app. If done correctly, there should be no need to go to a desktop, which would take away from the immediacy of the process.
4. Leverage social media. Especially in the gig economy, attracting talent through social media platforms like Facebook and Linkedin is crucial. A lot of the gig economy is made up of millennials, which means HR can find them passively through social media. Take advantage of combining your processes with HR’s social media mobile recruiting strategy, such as including single sign-on with Linkedin. That way you can grab important information like education, present and past employment.
5. Support it with metrics. Give HR the data that shows the effectiveness of mobile background checks. You should have key analytics such as the number of applicants completing the process, speed to completion, and candidate satisfaction. These metrics will support more strategic spending on mobile in the future, benefiting your business.
The gig economy is not only here to stay, it’s growing at a rapid rate. Background check companies must adapt their business models to focus more on this monumental shift and how businesses are hiring and delivering the technology and services to take advantage of these changes.
Creating a better user experience on mobile, general usability improvements, and making it easier for applicants to apply on-the-go while allowing HR to initiate, manage, and analyze the process will go a long way in capturing new revenue and not leaving it on the table for up-and-coming background check companies who are seizing the opportunity with great balance sheets to show for it.
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