How to hire a freelancer

How to hire a freelancer

With up to 40% of the American workforce set to join the freelancing community by 2020, the way we think about jobs is rapidly changing. If you were wondering how to find your way through this brave new world, here are 7 tips to hire a freelancer.

1. Have a Specific Idea of What You Need Done

Mapping out specific details about your job or project from the very beginning is essential for two reasons:

  • A clear description of the job’s scope and it’s demands make it very clear to you and the to the freelancer whether they are a good fit or not. You want to save the time involved in the selection process by not casting your net too wide.
  • Laying out expected deliverables and timelines, as well as how the freelancer is to communicate with you and your business, will ensure work begins quicker and nobody’s time is wasted.

You are probably outsourcing your work because you would rather not have to do it yourself or think too much about it. Understood. That said, setting high-level goals and sharing a little detail on the nuances of working with and communicating with your company can go a long way towards ensuring a successful outcome overall.

2. Put Some Effort into Your Job Post and Attract the Best Freelancer

This is especially important if you intend getting your freelancer from online portals and freelance websites like Upwork and Toptal. Because freelancers are free to choose and overlook any posting they come across, you are competing with other businesses for the services of the best freelancers out there.

Your best bet for getting ahead is to make your post as clear, concise, and attractive as possible. Here are a few tips:

  • Make your title catchy and enthusiastic. Most freelancers will read a post–or skip it–on the merits of its headline.
  • Introduce yourself and your business, clearly showing what makes your establishment such a great one to work with. The best freelancers associate themselves with clients rather than gigs.
  • Be as detailed as is necessary.
  • Clearly state skill requirements and expectations for your job.

3. Look for a Demonstrated Track-Record

Instead of wildly flailing around a “hire now” banner, finding the right freelancing candidate takes a little bit of research and vetting.

Portfolios, badges, testimonials, referrals, and so on, all these help you separate the cream of the crop. Experienced recruiters might argue that portfolios and badges should not the be all and end all of selection processes, since a relatively new freelancer without any portfolio may be more than qualified for your job–and they would be right in doing so; but a track record remains a great way to streamline the often confusing selection process and save you time–which is really useful if your job is time sensitive.

4. Cheaper May Actually Be Costlier

In order words, you get what you pay for. What would you think if a stranger walked up to you and tried to peddle the latest iPhone model for $50, swearing that it was the real deal? You probably would not buy it, thinking something must be wrong with it. Otherwise, it would not be sold so cheap.

The same thing can be said about freelancers: the best freelancers charge higher rates because of their superior services. You may save a dollar or two by going for cheaper freelancers, but that opens your project up to the risk of shoddy work requiring several revisions and unnecessary time.

It is not easy figuring out what you should be willing to pay for a particular job, but try to be open to negotiations, and remain mindful of the scope and complexity of your task. The more complex your task, the more you may have to shell out to acquire top-notch services.

5. Be Clear on Deadlines and Deliverables Before You Draw Up a Contract

This ties in with being very clear about the expectations for your job. If your freelancer is top notch, they probably have at least one or two other clients they are working with, so it is important to agree on a deadline that works for both of you so that clashes don’t crop up later. If you are not sure about when to expect your project, ask the freelancer for an estimate.

6. Do an Interview to Get to Know Who You Are Hiring – Video Works Best

Interviews are a great way to iron out the details about any possible collaboration–deliverables, deadlines, communication channels–and they can be done through various media include telephone, text messaging, and video. However, video stands out because it comes closest to a face-to-face interview and can give you a feel of the person on the other end, letting you know if you would be comfortable working with them or not.

7. It’s Your Responsibility to Protect Your Intellectual Property

If you are concerned about intellectual property rights, feel free to sign a non-disclosure agreement with your freelancer before any work begins. Your post can make it clear that freelancers will be required to sign such an agreement so that anybody who chooses to work with you is already well-disposed to the idea.

We asked some of our experts on the best places to hire top talent, and this is what they had to say:

Q. What has been your #1 source for hiring a great freelancer?

A. Gary Dek (Gary at StartABlog123.com)

I work online so the best way to find talent and quality service providers is to see samples of their work online, find them on LinkedIn or visit their personal websites, and connect with them. Especially when it comes to content production or link building, seeing the actual quality of their work and knowing what you might end up paying for can give you confidence when working with someone.

A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM Ghostwriters)

The writing side of my business has recruited mostly from being visible in the search engines.  I have had hundreds of writers approach me.  Of the 15 I keep on my roster, two were referrals and one I knew through social media.  So that makes 80% recruitment just from online visibility.

A. Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)

While there are quite a few popular recruitment sites out there, I find that I like those where I can network the best. LinkedIn is my favorite because I can connect with professionals, and view their profiles.  Any crowdsourcing site is a great place to find talent. What I like about recruiting talent from a crowdsourcing platform is that you also get to see how well that individual works with other members of a team. Unlike a simple recruiting site where you get to read the applicant’s CV, a crowdsourcing site gives you that and so much more. You can see the recruit in action before hiring him or her.

A. Chris Branter (Founder of SleepZoo.com)

I’ve hired people (writers, designers, etc.) from a number of different sites, including some of the usual suspects like Fiverr and Craigslist. But my favorite place to hire great talent might come as a bit of a surprise. Reddit is an excellent place to connect with people looking for work. The ForHire subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/forhire/) lets you post job listings where potentially millions of people will see them. I’ve found some great writers for my sites this way, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for talent.

Q. Any non-traditional sources besides the usual job listing sites where you’ve hired good people?

A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM Ghostwriters)

When I need a specific talent, I go straight to my private networks.  More often than not, somebody in one of my mastermind groups knows somebody with that specific skill to refer from a past job, and they will usually give me a very frank assessment of that person’s capabilities and limitations.

A. Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)

One kind of site I like to frequent when recruiting new talent is on message boards and forums. Typically other members who post aren’t there looking for a job but rather to network with others just like themselves. They act as they naturally do and aren’t trying to impress a potential boss with their knowledge and experience.
If I can see a recruit on his or her home turf, it gives me a better idea of how they act and communicate with others. This is one benefit that recruitment sites don’t offer. When recruiting through a message board you get to observe prior to committing to an employment contract.

A. Chris Branter (Founder of SleepZoo.com)

As I mentioned previously, Reddit has been a goldmine for finding great talent, but most people don’t realize you can use the site this way. While Reddit is the 6th most popular website in the whole US, most people think of it as just a place to find the latest news stories, funny memes, or silly cat videos. But there’s a subreddit for everything, including hiring great talent. I’ve had great success hiring people on the ForHire (https://www.reddit.com/r/forhire/) subreddit.

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