The down economy is not allowing me to hire now, but we still need help. What can we do?

At a time like this, using a flexible staffing model is a great option.

At a time like this, using a flexible staffing model is a great option. Rather than adding headcount, many agencies and companies have taken to hiring freelance or contract workers whose hourly rate can be billed back to clients. Or, in the case of in-house positions, the pay can be charged to the departmental budget at a much lower cost than full-time staff.

And it isn't necessarily difficult to find these workers. Since the last economic downturn, many freelance “talent pools” have popped up online that are incredibly deep with talent and possibilities, covering every PR specialty and just about every industry imaginable.

Also, for long-term assignments, a staffing agency can help you avoid potential IRS issues by classifying freelancers as full-time employees and paying appropriate government taxes. If the economy improves and your firm is once again able to add staff, you can also negotiate a temp-to-perm agreement up front that will reduce the recruiting fee.

Jim Delulio is the president of PR Talent.

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