Hiring a Freelancer: 5 Tips to Help You Find the Right One

Not every project or task requires a full-time employee. Oftentimes, a freelancer can provide the same quality of work for a much lower price. 

Hiring a full-time staff member is estimated to cost as much as 213% of their annual salary when you factor in training and other expenses, according to the Center for American Progress. For organizations on a budget, bringing a freelancer on board is a much more cost-effective way to leverage highly-skilled individuals.

But what’s the best way to find a freelancer with the right skills and experience for your project?

There are a number of ways you can go about doing this, but there are a few trusted strategies that leading organizations use to always find the best talent.

Here are five tips you can follow to help you hire the right freelancer.

1. Build an Organization that Freelancers Want to Work For

Finding a quality freelancer starts before you even conceive of your job or project. It begins when you’re establishing what kind of organization you want to be and creating your culture.

The very best freelancers often have their pick when it comes to clients, so you need to do what you can in order to make your organization as attractive as possible. Freelancers want to know they’ll have a positive experience working with you, with the possibility of forming a beneficial long-term relationship.

For many people, they want to work on projects that are aligned with their values. In fact, LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Culture report indicates that nine out of ten millennials would consider taking a pay cut in order to work for an organization that has a mission they believe in. So, defining your organization’s “Why” is a great way to attract freelancers who are passionate about what you stand for.

hiring a freelancer
Creating an excellent culture within your organization is one of the best ways to attract quality freelancers. Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash.

Freelancers also want to be rewarded for their work, and not just with money. The ability to add your project to their portfolio, receiving a positive testimonial, and simply feeling appreciated all greatly add to a freelancer’s experience with a client.

By consistently rewarding your freelancers when they meet or exceed your expectations, you’ll gain a positive reputation and will be sure to attract higher-quality freelancers.

2. Create an Engaging Job Post

When you have a job or project that’s in need of a freelancer, the first step is to get the word out. According to a recent survey, 64% of American freelancers find work online. So, in today’s digital world, there’s no better way to do that than to create an online ad.

There a number of freelance platforms where organizations can advertise their work opportunities. There are even sites that cater to specific industries and niches. For example, Work for Impact is designed for socially, environmentally responsible and nonprofit organizations.

When it comes to actually writing your job post, make sure you include the following:

  • A Clear and Relevant Title: Your title is the first impression a freelancer will have of your job. Keep it short and to the point. The best strategy is to identify what type of freelancer you’re looking for and the task you’d like them to complete.
  • A Description of Your Job or Project: This is where you can really expand on what your project is and the specific tasks you’d like the freelancer to help you with. Include expected timelines, examples of similar projects, and any other relevant information. Letting freelancers know the purpose of the project and how it will benefit your organization or society as a whole is also a great way to get them excited about the opportunity.
  • Required Skills: List all the skills that will be required to complete the project. Include as many as possible and be specific. Get advice from experts in relevant fields if you’re at all unsure of what skills to include in your posting. This will help you receive more qualified applications.
  • Follow-Up Questions: It’s also a good idea to ask applicants to answer a few relevant questions. For example, you can ask them if they’ve dealt with similar projects in the past, how they would approach your job, and any other questions that will help you determine whether they’re a good fit.

3. Make a Shortlist of Potential Freelancers

It’s quite likely that your job post will yield a number of applications from freelancers. So, your next task will be to sort through the various applications and identify the ones with the most potential.

You should be able to eliminate a number of candidates simply based on their skills and experience. You’ll also want to assess their bid to ensure it works with your budget.

Next, see if they have any feedback available from previous clients. No one is perfect, but a quality freelancer will have overwhelmingly positive reviews. See if you can find any feedback for projects similar to yours and what the results were

You’ll also want to view any portfolio items they have available to see if their previous work is in line with your expectations.

There are many other potential factors you may want to consider, depending on your unique needs. If you’re going to require regular meetings you might prefer a freelancer in a timezone that will work for you. You may also give preference to freelancers who are familiar with your industry, as this will reduce the amount of research they’ll need to do to complete your project.

Based on all your criteria, try to narrow down the potential candidates to a pool of three to five, as this will make it more manageable to determine who is the best fit.

4. Interview and Test Your Candidates

Once you have a pool of qualified freelancers, it’s a good idea to chat with each of them over the phone or on a video call.

hiring a freelancer
Interviewing potential freelancers is one of the best ways to determine whether they’re a good fit for your project and organization. Image source: Pexels.

Make sure to prepare for the interview by coming up with some questions you want to ask them. These questions may be related to their skills, or they might be designed to allow you to get to know them better as a person.

Speaking to a potential freelancer is an excellent way to gauge their understanding of the project. If they give clear and confident answers to your questions, it’s a good sign that they have a solid grasp of the subject matter. A freelancer who also asks plenty of questions themselves is usually one who is enthusiastic about the opportunity, which is an excellent sign.

Remember, you don’t just want to determine whether they have the proper skills to complete the job. You also want to assess whether they’ll be a good fit with your team. If this is going to be an ongoing project make sure you’re confident that the freelancer you choose will integrate well into your organization’s culture.

If you really want to be sure whether a particular freelancer will be able to handle your project, you can also ask them to perform a test assignment. This is generally a small task that will give you an idea of how they’ll be able to perform when it comes to the actual tasks you need completed. 

You’ll need to compensate freelancers for their time when asking them to complete a test assignment, but the extra cost is usually worth it as it will give you a better idea of who the strongest candidate really is

5. Hire Your Freelancer and Define Clear Expectations

After you’ve completed your interviews and tests it’s time to choose the freelancer you feel is the best fit for your project.

But just because you hire a freelancer doesn’t mean the process is over. A freelancer is only as good as the direction and instructions they’re given. So, make sure to provide clear expectations and encourage your freelancer to ask questions to help them understand the complete scope of the work.

Start by outlining the specific tasks that need to be completed and the timeframe in which they need to be submitted by. Providing your freelancer with any relevant documents, links, videos, and other resources will also help them better understand exactly what you’re looking for.

Finally, if the freelancer will be dealing with any confidential or sensitive information, make sure they understand how that information should be handled before they begin working.

With the right freelancer and the right guidance, you’ll be well on your way to successfully completing your project.

Find Passionate Freelancers for Your Next Project

Work for Impact is a freelance platform that connects skilled freelancers with socially, environmentally responsible and nonprofit organizations. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you bring your projects to life, click here.