Planning to hire freelancers for your company? Wondering what the hiring process looks like when contracting freelance talent? If so, we got you covered!
Freelancers are a great alternative to in-house employees. You can get more done without adding as much overhead as you would with a part- or full-time employee. But hiring freelancers can be tricky. There are some key differences when compared to hiring traditional employees. So you need to be thoughtful about the way you hire freelance contractors.
In this article, we'll share some steps to follow that will help you select high-quality freelancers.
8 steps to hiring freelancers
The eight steps you need to follow to hire a freelancer include:
1. Determine the scope of your project
The first and foremost step involved in hiring freelancers is determining the scope of work for the project. Since freelancers aren't immersed in your business the same way employees are, it's important to give them as much information as possible up front. This will give your freelance hire the best chance of success.
In many cases, the freelancer will create this document based on conversations with your team. If not, you should take the initiative to create this document internally.
- The needs. Spell out the what and why of the project. In other words, what do you need the freelancer to do and what is the purpose of the project?
- The objectives and goals. How will you know if the project was a success? You can use the SMART framework to make sure you're setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This way, your freelance hire will have the context they need to be successful and you'll be able to decide whether a particular freelancer was a successful hire or not.
- A detailed description of deliverables. Don't leave anything to the imagination unless you truly want to leave it to the freelancer's discretion (but even that should be spelled out). Describe the project in detail so the freelancer you hire knows exactly what you expect them to deliver.
- Constraints. What potential roadblocks or constraints will limit your freelancer? This could include software limitations, budgetary considerations, or anything else that the freelancer should be aware of.
- Terms and conditions. What are the terms and conditions for acceptance of the work and payment? Will there be milestones that trigger payments throughout the project or will they receive payment as a lump sum? Will they work on retainer for an indefinite period of time or will this be a one-off project?
2. Determine minimum freelancer qualifications
The next step is to determine the qualifications you're looking for in a freelancer. If you create it beforehand, the scope of work will help you a lot in this step. Consider factors like educational qualifications, work experience, background, specialization, and cost. This step will make it easier for you to hire the right candidates for the job.
Here's a more detailed list of skills, experience, and other qualifications that you might take into account:
- Work experience. Previous work experience is one indicator that the freelancer knows what they're doing and can get the job done.
- Specialization. A freelancer who specializes in the type of project you're looking to hire for, they may be better able to meet your needs than someone who hasn't. For example, if they've done similar work in your industry, they'll have additional context that a freelancer who has done the same work in different industries might not.
- Certifications. If your project involves working with specific software, tools, or skills, you can look for candidates who are certified to work with them.
- Skills. What skills will be important for the role? You can test these upfront with online skills assessment software.
3. Write the job description
Now that you know what you're looking for, it's the time to create an effective job description. This will help you to get the right proposals, so make sure it is very clear and effective. It should summarize your project, requirements, cost etc. Moreover, it should also describe all the hiring factors, scope of work, and required experience.
4. Post the job
And don't forget to share the job on your social media accounts!
5. Conduct online skill assessment for the applicants
On average, job posts receive 250 applications. That number can be even higher if you accept remote applicants. So you may receive a lot of proposals in a very short span of time, but not every freelancer who applies will be qualified. You'll need to test each candidate to develop a shortlist for further consideration.
Instead of asking applicants to send you their resumes, you can use TestGorilla to include a link in your job description that allows candidates to take an online skills assessment. Then the candidates will be automatically sorted based on their scores on the tests you include in the assessment.
Take a look at our growing Test Library of over 100 tests to see what you should include in your assessment.
You can also have candidates share their portfolio, resumes, LinkedIn profiles, references and other relevant material within TestGorilla.
6. Interview the best candidates
Now that you have a list of candidates, you can start reviewing and interviewing the most skilled applicants.
Based on the candidates' assessment scores, educational background, certifications, work experience, and skills, create a shortlist of candidates to interview.
7. Consider a paid trial
The best way to find out if someone can do the job is to actually work with them! This will allow candidates to understand your style of work and the requirements of the project, and you will get a chance to see how well they work with your team.
To do this, assign a project that will test the skills you need for the position. Then you can compare your teams' impressions of the candidates along with their final work.
8. Make a hire
The final step is to hire your chosen candidate. If you're hiring through a platform like Upwork, many of these details are handled by the platform. Otherwise, you'll need to make a written offer that includes pertinent details such as the job description, the agreed compensation, the method of payment, schedules, deadlines, and any other relevant information.
Hiring freelancers can be a cost-effective way to get quality talent. But, as with any hiring decision, you have to be very selective in who you work with. Even though its easier to terminate a contract with a freelancer than it is to terminate an employee, making the wrong hire can lead to costly mistakes and wasted time. By following these tips and conducting an online skills assessment to find the most qualified talent available, you'll be better able to identify the right freelancers for your company.