If you’re a doctor, engineer or some sort of Professional, maintaining your digital career network is fairly straightforward, thanks to online job portals. Creating professional connections and planning the next step on your career ladder has never felt this empowering.
On the other hand, the digital revolution seems to have largely bypassed Independent Service Providers (ISPs) like waiters, forklift operators, carpenters, etc.
This despite the fact that the gig economy spending in the U.S. for 2015 exceeded $792 billion.
The biggest issue for such self-employed individuals or contractors is to identify, pursue, and obtain a constant stream of contract jobs; but major job portals largely ignore them and focus primarily on Professionals.
How ISPs Got By So Far
Until now, service providers were heavily reliant on various types of networking to grow their careers:
1. Suggestions or referrals from family
2. Tips from friends
3. Social networking to stay on top of developments in nearby areas or regions
4. Maintaining digital portfolios on several Service Websites
5. And utilizing the connections of a staffing firm.
These techniques came with their own drawbacks though: ISPs tended to encounter days or weeks of idleness between successive jobs; some of the service requestors tended to change the terms of compensation mid-way through a job or after it was done; a service provider had to wait for extensive background verification to be completed before being hired for any new job; and the relatively large expenditure required to place ads on service websites.
The Change in Service Requestor Expectations
But the single biggest obstacle facing an ISP is the changing expectations of a digitally-empowered society.
Until a few years ago, service requestors tended to call upon the services of their friendly neighbourhood plumber or electrician. Opinions on them were formed based on the experiences or physical interactions while their services were being availed.
But the digital revolution, which came along with access to dozens of plumbers or electricians with the press of a button, broke down those physical interactions and replaced them with an ISP’s personal or background details, their reputation, ratings and reviews being analysed on several online service platforms.
Meanwhile, corporate service requestors remained steadfast in their approach to forming partnerships with staffing firms, and conducting background checks of ISPs every single time.
A Barrage of Background Checks
Thus, ISPs are currently being demanded to adapt themselves to a dynamic recruitment process without a whole lot of help.
There is no policy to allow them to maintain a single, universally-accepted background verification certificate, which can be updated from time-to-time, to serve as proof of their credentials.
For example, let us consider the social security number (SSN). An SSN serves as an authoritative identification method for taxation and healthcare purposes. In other words, an individual does not have to prove his/her identity, income background, gender, place of birth, etc., during every single instance of filing for tax breaks or availing a healthcare service.
So why can’t an ISP undertake only one comprehensive background verification check, record it, and then use it whenever required in the future? This not only simplifies the hiring process to a great extent, but it drastically cuts down the time between two successive jobs.
The Messy World of Reputation Maintenance
During the last few years, the dynamic world of start-ups and technological services finally decided to fill up the glaring hole: a job portal focusing entirely on the non-Professional workforce. ISPs initially reacted positively to the spate of job portals being launched for them.
But this quickly turned into a nightmare of sorts.
ISPs now have to optimize their profiles on a dozen different platforms by satisfying different algorithms, maintain a healthy reputation by being active and easily approachable, respond promptly to any new comments, and overcome the inevitable fake reviews/ratings from competitors.
Service websites, the dreaded middle-men, were not a whole lot better as ISPs had to pass on any advertisement expenses onto the customers just so that they could make a tiny profit for themselves.
So why can’t ISPs have their own equivalent of the Facebook Wall? Why can’t they create, maintain, update, and optimize their digital profiles/ratings/reviews on one platform and then share it across the web whenever they choose to?
The End of the Status Quo
The status quo, such as it is, does not seem to be resulting in a net positive impact for ISPs. There is an urgent need for a platform which enables them to undertake a comprehensive background verification check once and for all, displays and shares their credentials across the web, and receive reviews as well as ratings from service requestors in a secure and authenticated manner.
And TrustLogics is primed to be the answer to this particular conundrum.