The growing number of contingent workers makes it clear that they will play a significant role in the future of work. As a result, business leaders must rethink how they engage with and screen prospective talent. One way to effectively evaluate short-term and project-based workers is to apply methods traditionally used when interviewing permanent employees.

Six questions to ask contingent workers

The following six questions, based on insights from professionals in various roles and industries, can help employers assess whether a contingent worker is the right fit for an assignment.

What project are you most proud of?

Contingent workers who show confidence in their ability to produce quality results may be more suited to support an organization’s mission than those who lack initiative or conviction.

Follow-up question: What does your dream job look like?

Understanding the sorts of projects that align with a contingent worker’s skills and passions can provide an ideal path towards collaboration.

What is your true availability?

By clearly communicating how much time must be devoted to a project, employers can adequately determine if a contingent worker has the bandwidth to meet expectations.

Follow-up question: Are you currently working on other projects?

If freelancers are juggling multiple assignments, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t a right fit, but it can impact deadlines. Those who are firmly aware of their current workload and know how much they can handle may produce more timely results.

What is your preferred method of communication?

A contingent worker’s communication preference – whether it’s email, chat or voice – should align with how the business operates if collaboration is to be achieved. Communication style also provides a window into an individual’s accountability and tenacity.

Follow-up question: How do you organize your tasks to ensure you are meeting all of your timelines and what tools are you using?

If contingent workers are already familiar with collaboration tools, like Slack or Smartsheet, it may be easier to manage their time and projects using the same programs.

How does this assignment fit into your overall goals?

When independent contractors are able to connect their assigned role to their personal vision for growth, it’s usually a win-win situation for both them and their employers.

Follow-up question: What is a professional skill or behavior you want to improve next year and what is your plan to do it?

Prompting contingent workers to talk about their future goals and how they hope to achieve them can help highlight their problem-solving ability.

How would your last client rate you?

This may be an uncomfortable question for some freelancers, but those who have experience will usually be prepared to share stories and examples of wins with previous clients.

Follow-up question: How do you deal with unhappy clients?

Answering this question without complaining about previous clients shows how adept a candidate is at handling difficult situations and confrontations.

What technology are you familiar with?

Having to train contingent workers on the tools that a business uses can be detrimental to time-sensitive projects.

Follow-up question: On a scale of 1-5, how familiar are you with [tech] to achieve [business goal]?”

The best fit for a role might be someone who is familiar with industry-specific technology.