Is it possible to classify an administrative assistant as an independent contractor so you can hire them for a 90-day try-out period? This might sound like a good idea, but the short answer is no, you cannot.

An independent contractor has to meet certain criteria, and it’s highly unlikely that an administrative assistant would meet these. The IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, along with state agencies, have specific criteria for determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. This is highly dependent on the overall relationship workers have with their employer. Who controls when, where, and how the job gets done, and who has the opportunity for financial profit or loss? Administrative assistants typically do not have that level of control over their work, so they’ll almost always be classified as employees.

If you wish to hire employees on a trial basis with the possibility of continued employment, it is as simple as offering them temporary employment. During a, for example 90-day period, make sure that you provide the employee with clear expectations for the position and success in the role. If you find their performance unsatisfactory and choose to end their employment at the end of the trial, it’s important to document why they are not being considered for continued employment.