Top 5 Tips for Hiring Freelancers

Are you an entrepreneur in search of freelancers to accelerate the growth of your business?

I list out my key points in finding the right freelancer for you.

When starting out on your own (or with a small group of partners), it’s extremely important to optimize the use of your time and capital. Sometimes, you will find that the skills within you and your group are too niche and valuable for a freelancer to perform. However, there will be times when your business will need to grow and you simply will not have the resources to perform all tasks yourself. The only avenue is to therefore to consider hiring a freelancer.

Hiring a freelancer can be fraught with danger. For starters, experienced “freelancers” have optimized their applications to your adverts. They use fuzzy logic, to create a submission that is tailored to the job role you have on offer. Some will also change their name and profile picture to give a professional impression. The have job profiling as one of their key skill sets in applying for freelancing jobs. What I have just described, are some examples of how freelancers operate. Keep this in the back of your mind, as you read through the tips. And it will become apparent to you why it is difficult to find a good freelancer.

So let’s get started with my top five tips.


1. Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr and others

The quickest way to get your job role out there is to create a profile on Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr or any other freelancing site and submit your job role. All these sites have been known to create a flood of applications to you. Unfortunately, all lack a filtering system that will save you time. Therefore you will need to spend time in sorting the wheat from the chaff. BUT, the quickest way to get out there to find a freelancer is through these sites.

For some readers, you may be aware that in 2018 Freelancer.com opened their site for any Tom, Dick and Harry to create a profile and submit for any role. This created the perform spamming mechanism for “freelancers” and many employers left Freelancer.com in droves. They have since changed their site, to limit the number of applications freelancers can submit and for only roles that they have the skill set for


2. Set the expectation with appropriate remuneration

It’s extremely tempting to reduce the hourly rate that you are willing to pay or the fixed price for the task to something that is way too low. If you set your remuneration too low, you will find you will receive low quality applicants. Good freelancers know that can command a fair and reasonable pay. They won’t sell themselves for anything less because their time also means money.

As an example. Let’s say you are looking for a good content writer. You put up your ad for a person to write an article about freelancing and how to hire a good one. You set your budget to 20 USD, thinking that it’s an easy article to write and one days’ worth of writing for someone living in a country where the cost of living is low should be happy with 20 USD. What happens, in this scenario is that you will be flooded with hundreds of applicants. Many with a cover letter that are really good on first impression. Now, perhaps one in one hundred of these freelancers do have the ability to do what you want, but it will be extremely difficult to find that one.

Therefore, to attract the quality that you are looking for, set the remuneration to reflect the quality that you want.


3. Chat online and interview the applicants

With Freelancer and Upwork, you will be able to immediately private message applicants. What is fantastic about private messaging is that you can interview many applicants at once, and if you are a fast typist, you can quickly sort out who are the good from the bad.

So here we go. The fun part.

Pick the applicants that you feel might be suitable then private message them and angle your questions in a friendly manner. Your questions need to be framed in a manner to allow you to gain understand why they are submitting for your role. Some have a strategy to submit for as many freelancing roles as possible to gain ANY work. They don’t care if they have the skill set or not. These types of freelancers often know that once they have your work they can farm it out to others and delay meeting your time frames.

Therefore ask questions about their background, where did they study, what do they do for a living. For those who are looking to hire content writers, ask where did they learn English, would they consider themselves native English speakers, why style of writing do they prefer.

Ask for examples of their work, and perhaps suggest for a sample to be written. My favourite, is to ask for their LinkedIn Profile. Having a LinkedIn profile will normally reveal their true identity.

Put the time and effort into interviewing and finding out more from the freelancers. Hiring a good freelancer will save you time and money. I have hired poor freelancers in the past, as result, I have wasted my time fixing and rewriting their mistakes and money because I still (rightly or wrongly) obligated to pay them for their efforts. I have also experienced hiring freelancers where they simply cannot deliver on time. They know they have secured your job, and obviously have secured many other jobs, and yours is on the very long TO DO list.


4. Milestones

To keep the freelancer committed and on track, it’s important to create milestones. Milestones will vary between job to job. The most difficult milestones to set are for IT builds. I found that if with IT build it’s “all or nothing”. They either complete it, or they don’t. A build that is half completed is worthless to anyone, and hence lies the challenge, how much should be paid for half a build? It may be salvageable by another freelancer but who knows? If you do know, then your efforts will resume back with hiring another freelancer. Also, keep milestones clear and reflect the risk of incompletion.


5. Be Patient

This will be hard for those who are seeking to move fast with their business. Finding the right freelancer will not be easy. It takes time and patience. And even then, it isn’t full proof after interviewing ten’s or hundreds of applicants. But if you hurry, the likely hood of hiring a dud and starting again is extremely high.


Are you ready to hire?

Just like many things in life, nothing comes easy. So too the hiring of a freelancer. I consider it more like a marathon than a half. (Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you get my point). Go at pace, keep interviewing and searching for the right one. The right freelancer, who is competent and meets your needs, is an asset that will help your business be ready for the future.