The recession brought widespread unemployment across the U.S., but it also prompted a spike in the number of freelance or independent workers.
More than 30 percent of the nation's workers now work on their own, and the research firm IDC projects the number of nontraditional office workers — telecommuters, freelancers and contractors — will reach 1.3 billion worldwide by 2015.
Typically, freelancers get to choose when and where they work. Many opt to set up shop in "co-working" arrangements, where they can rent a cubicle and other office resources by the day or the month.
It was once a relatively simple process to sign up with a co-working site.
That means some would-be co-workers will find they don't make the cut.
"If you write two words and two sentences [on your application], you're probably not going to hear from me," says Benjamin Dyett, a Grind co-founder and the company's chief gatekeeper. "But if you write two pages about why you want to work at Grind, I will bring you in for an interview."