Learn about the hiring process, why recruiting great people matters, and nine tips for hiring the best candidate, be it a freelancer or remote worker.
Finding the right people can make the difference between wowing clients and having a total project flop. It’s no wonder many small business owners and entrepreneurs spend countless hours sifting through freelancing platforms debating whether to hire someone.
Fret no more. This comprehensive guide sheds light on why hiring the right Independent is so vital — and how to do so. We’ll explore the steps to follow to assemble your freelancing dream team and how to hire a freelancer, tips for making the hiring process more efficient, and do's and don'ts when recruiting remote workers.
Why is hiring the right freelancer important? 🤔
Great people produce great work that’s delivered on time and meets guidelines. And they do this because great employees care about their work. Finding these people is paramount to providing products and services that your clients love.
Here are a few more reasons why hiring the right freelancer is essential:
- You can leverage their skill set: The right freelancer likely has a unique skill set and niche expertise to get the job done right.
- It can be more cost-effective: It’s often not worthwhile to hire full-time employees for small projects since it eats up so many resources. Instead, you can hire the right freelancer for the period you need them and save money on the long-term expense of onboarding a new hire.
- You’ll enjoy boosted project productivity: When you find freelancers with the expertise you need, you save time training current employees who might never use this new knowledge again. This speeds up project progress, as you can jump right in without the training period.
What’s the freelancer hiring process like? 🔁
A typical hiring process involves finding the right candidates, vetting them over the course of several interviews, and giving them an offer. Here’s what the typical hiring process steps look like when searching for freelancers.
1. Share a job description 📜
On job boards and freelance hiring platforms, you’ll create a job ad that clearly describes what you’re looking for, including the skills needed and timeline the freelancer should meet. You might also add whether this would likely be recurring work or is a one-off.
2. Start advertising 📣
Then, you’ll share this job ad and the fact that you’re hiring across your social platforms to build awareness. You might also network with fellow professionals to ask around about great freelancers.
3. Review applications 🧐
Create a process for reviewing applications, like comparing each one to a skills and qualifications checklist or having direct teammates choose the candidates they want to send a sample assignment to. You might also use a digital applicant tracking system that vets documents for specific keywords you’ve supplied. In the end, you’ll choose a few candidates to run through the interview process, perhaps going back to the drawing board if none are the right fit.
4. Conduct interviews 🤝
Decide whether you’d like to simply conduct one casual call and a trial assignment or run candidates through a more thorough interview process that involves several meetings. And choose which employees must be present for which calls to ensure the right people can offer feedback on how promising a candidate is.
You might assess a freelancer’s communication style, work ethic, and interest in the project in these calls as well as have them elaborate on the skills and qualifications found on their resume. You could also discuss project specifications to ensure they have the bandwidth and tools necessary to complete the work.
5. Request an assessment 💪
If their interview(s) prove promising, ask them to complete a paid trial assignment. A creative writer might complete a blog post that follows provided guidelines, and a graphic designer might provide you with a simple mock-up for an app’s home page. These trial assignments are a great way to get past theoretical abilities and assess just how talented these Independents truly are.
6. Perform a background check 🔙
Once you decide who to employ, conduct a background check to validate a candidate's claimed qualifications and employment and criminal history. This process ensures you’ve dotted your i’s and cross your t’s before hiring them.
7. Provide a job offer 👏
If the background check goes well, provide a formal job offer, either in the form of an email or a final interview. Once they accept, you can send them an official contract to sign and commence project work.
9 tips for hiring the right freelancer 🤓
It’s important to get the hiring process right — doing so ensures you work with competent and caring individuals who deliver fantastic work. Here are nine tips to streamline the process and help you find the best person for the job:
- Don't be afraid to give tests: Testing a freelancer’s skills is crucial to gaining a true understanding of what they can offer your project. Just provide some sort of compensation to ensure you’re not taking advantage of free labor.
- Take your time: Rushing the hiring process in the moment leads to wasted time later when you need to hire someone new to re-do work a not-so-great freelancer completed. And going back to the drawing board to find a better fit also takes a lot of time. Before searching, create a strategic hiring plan that focuses on finding great people at every level.
- Look for freelancers who are keen to work: Often, freelancers work off of flexible and easily ended contracts, so if you find people who are “meh” about your project or overwhelmed with work from other clients, you risk losing them without much notice. Instead, find Independents who seem genuinely excited about your project and clearly state they have enough bandwidth. A bonus is if they express that they want to continue working with you post-project.
- Look at their social media profiles: If possible, check out a candidate’s professional socials to better understand who they are and whether they’re a good fit. LinkedIn is an excellent place to start since many freelancers have fleshed-out profiles that contain more information than their resume or website portfolio.
- Be prepared for rejected offers: Freelancers are busy folks who receive short and long-term job offers all the time, so don’t be surprised if candidates reject your offer. It doesn’t say anything about your project. To ensure you find someone quick, run several candidates through the hiring process and be prepared to send a job offer to the next most promising person if a candidate declines.
- Sometimes, you'll have to take a chance: Many jobs don’t allow Independents to take credit for their work, so sometimes you’ll have to trust your instincts and a candidate’s test assignment instead of relying on an extensive portfolio.
- Focus on the skills you need: It's easy to get sidetracked by freelancers with a supposed abundance of skills, but start by asking yourself, "What skills do I need for this project?" and keep your focus on these proficiencies throughout the hiring process.
- Ask specific questions during interviews: Because you’re not onboarding a full-time and long-term employee, you can often avoid broad behavioral questions like "Tell me about yourself," instead focusing on skill-specific questions like “What jobs/projects have you worked on?” and “Do you prefer a lot of independence or hands-on management?”
- Keep rejected applicants on file: During the hiring process, you might meet freelancers with skills you can use for future projects or promising folks in the middle of upskilling. Keep their information on file and end communications positively so you can contact them for future work.
How to hire a remote team: Do’s and don’ts 🥇
As remote work ramps up, professionals globally are wondering how to hire great remote workers. And if you’re putting together a completely freelance team, most of them will likely work remotely. When it comes to gathering a great group, here are a few do’s and don’ts:
- Do use the right platforms: Trying to fill the position by posting on every job board possible will result in sifting through applications from many unqualified candidates. Instead, post strategically on the right platforms — industry-specific ones that allow you to easily filter applications to find the right remote workers.
- Do offer benefits: Whether hiring Independents or full-time remote workers, offer benefits that attract the best talent. These might include paid vacation time, health insurance, or a stipend toward tools they need.
- Do offer onboarding support: Being a remote worker can be isolating and daunting, especially if the company doesn't provide online resources to help acclimatize to the workload and company culture. Always provide onboarding support to boost initial productivity and help them avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Don't take advantage: Just because a remote worker works from home doesn't mean they are, or should be, available 24/7. It's your responsibility to ensure they have enough time to complete work during their workday, taking time zones into consideration.
- Don't only focus on traditional resumes: Times have changed, and the classic resume that showcases a traditional educational background isn’t the only measure of someone's skills. Many freelancers acquired expertise via online courses and years of practical experience. This shows resourcefulness and is often just as valuable as more traditional learning methods like an undergraduate degree.
Find the right folks on Contra 🌟
Ready to find the best Independents? Check out Contra for Clients, an easy-to-use platform that matches you with the most compatible freelancers for your needs. To learn more about how to hire on Contra, give this a read.