Hiring a freelancer can be tricky business. Not only are there thousands of potential candidates out their all vying for your projects at cheap as chips hourly rates, but there are also so many unknowns about if they have the skills, qualifications and experience to deliver the goods. To make sure you get the right freelancer for the job, it’s so important to ask yourself a bunch of questions at the start to help you map out the project brief and budget. Knowing who you are chasing will make the hiring process easier and the delivery of the project even easier.
What is the project brief?
Before throwing the lure out and getting a bunch of applications come through the door, it’s crucial to bed down the project brief. Ask yourself the following:
- What is required?
- Who will they deal with internally?
- What skills do I need from my freelancer?
- How much money do I have for this project?
- When do I need the project completed?
- What do I need from my freelancer? Is it a locally based person who can come into the office or am I comfortable for them to work remotely?
Not clearly outlining this, in the beginning, will mean the job advertisement will be vague and you’ll receive hundreds of potential freelancers with a variety of skills that might not be fit for the job. Honing in on exactly what you want will mean you attract the right person for the job.
What skills do you need from your freelancer?
If you are designing a website it’s likely you’ll need someone with CSS experience. Or, if it’s social advertising, hiring someone with Facebook advertising experience is non-negotiable. Being aware of what you need for the project will mean the freelancers responding to the advertisement will be more aligned with your project needs.
If this is an area you struggle with or are finding it a challenge to determine specific skills, terminology and platforms you can always try to look at similar projects on websites such as Seek, or ask your professional network.
Have you asked for their portfolio?
A resume will outline what the freelancer can do and their technical experience, but knowing they can walk to walk is so important. That’s why checking out their portfolio online will help you to separate the men from the boys.
Is the freelancer a cultural fit?
Being able to deliver a project is one thing, but slotting into a company’s culture is a sign of a great freelancer. To know if the potential candidate will be a good cultural fit, it’s best to have an initial phone or skype conversation to begin to understand the freelancer’s personality. As a freelancer myself, I always aim to meet the client in person either at a coffee shop or their office. This commitment has resulted in them finding out if I am the right guy for the job but also if I feel like this organisation is one for me. After all, it’s always a two-way street.
Have you considered a test project?
For some companies that can’t decide which freelancer to pick, it could be a case of offering them both a paid test project that assesses their skills. This will definitely help to put the freelancer’s skills to test and help you decide who to pick!
How will payment work?
Is this an ongoing or one-off project? Will the freelancer charge an hourly rate or project rate and more importantly what is the project budget? If both the freelancer and the company are transparent about this upfront, it will make the working relationship smoothly.
Where is the freelancer located?
When starting freelancing I noticed that freelancers on job posting website such as Upwork or freelancer.com, were charging an unfathomable $8 an hour for work. Although this might sound super affordable from the outside, it’s important to assess other elements such as the freelancers location. Think about it, if you are in Australia and working with a US Designer, chances are you’ll be only hearing from them once every few days which can substantially slow down the delivery of the project. That’s why it’s important to know where the freelancer is located and if you are able to meet them face-to-face.
Does the freelancer have availability?
A big part of being a freelancer is trying to ensure there is enough work coming through the funnel to pay the bills. However, for those freelancers living it can sometimes get so busy that you are unable to take on any more clients. That’s why as a business owner it’s crucial to ask their availability. To know how much time they can commit to the project. This might help you decide which freelancer to pick if you are down to the pointy end.
What are your deadlines and payment terms?
In the world of freelance marketing, we work on deadlines to deliver project elements. The best projects I’ve worked on is where we both agree to the deadlines upfront and payment is made quickly following the completion of a milestone. Knowing these will make sure the freelancer knows what they need to do for what time and more importantly, the company will know what they should be expecting to receive when.
Asking yourself the above questions will help you identify the best freelancer for the job. One that is not only technically sound who can get the job done on time but can also slot into your organisation like a glove.