So, you finally realized that “one” is too small a number to achieve greatness. If you don’t have the staff to complete your projects, you’re probably tempted to hire a freelancer or agency who can help. When hiring freelancers, it’s important to be diligent in your search so that you don’t end up spending more money cleaning up their mess. You’ll want to make sure you’re not going to get fooled by shady freelancers as well. A little healthy skepticism is useful here. This article will tell you the 13 most crucial things to look out for when hiring freelancers.
Do Your Part First
You might be surprised how often business owners skip this step before hiring a freelancer. Take the time to figure out the details of the project you wish to complete and how it will affect your business. Iron out the details of these projects even if it’s a bit draining to do so. It’s worth it to save yourself from all the headaches that result from miscommunication and poor planning. If you bring in a freelancer before figuring out your project, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment.
1. They Have High Ratings and Reviews
If you’re hiring a freelancer from one of the popular freelance website such as Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr, you’ll see they have reviews that you can study. We believe that getting word-of-mouth reference is the most powerful way to go, but if that is not available to you, keep the following in mind. Price is not the most important factor, and it’s crucial not to get stuck looking for the greatest deal. Ratings and reviews are what will give you the insights you need before hiring a freelancer. Try to make sure they have at least 10 reviews with a rating above 4 out of 5.
2. They Ask Good Questions
It’s important to notice whether your freelance prospect is proactive in their approach. If they ask you questions about your project that even help you understand the project better, you’ve probably got a good freelancer. However, if they don’t ask you any questions, you can be fairly sure that they are sub-par freelancers who will submit sub-par results in the end.
3. They Give You Portfolios and Referrals
One way to assess candidates when hiring a freelancer is to take a good look at their portfolio and referrals. An experienced freelancer will have no problem providing you with a few names that you can contact to assess what it’s like working with them. Their portfolio will show you what they’re capable of, but their references indicate that they did a good enough job for employers to speak highly of them.
4. References are Recent
It’s important to see how the particular freelancer you’re screening has been doing recently. Some freelancers might have done a few odd jobs years ago that they no longer remember how to do. By ensuring that their references are from within the last six months or so, you can feel more assured that they are still proficient.
5. They Can Take Constructive Criticism
If your potential freelancer can’t take constructive criticism, it’s a major red flag. This indicates that they are unable to take directions and changes if necessary. It indicates that they might be too arrogant to consider a different direction or create something original. When hiring a freelancer, you need to keep in mind that collaboration will be at the heart of your work together. Make sure they know how to collaborate well.
6. Know How to Use Collaboration Tools
If they are good collaborators, they’ll probably also have experience with collaboration tools. Whether they use Google Docs, Monday, Trello, Asana, or any other collaboration tool, it’s extremely helpful if they know how to use some already. It should be pretty easy for them to adapt to whichever communication tool you prefer. This just ensures an overall smoother workflow with your freelancer so you can get stuff done.
7. They are Motivated
Ask questions. When you’re hiring a freelancer, get to know their ambitions and what motivates them. Try to understand what they are looking to gain from the partnership. Ideally, you want to work with someone who has long-term goals and plans on being there with you for the long haul. This is because people are simply more likely to follow through on their work when they have a collaborative understanding. They are motivated to execute strategies rather than tactics. If they seem focused on completing projects as opposed to making money, that’s a great sign.
8. They Have High Standards
Excellence is underrated. There are tons of freelancers that think in terms of transaction. This means they complete the project in exchange for the specific dollar amount and call it a day. One way to assess how much a freelancer appreciates excellence is to check out their portfolios. Have they put their all into it? If their work looks rushed and cheap, there’s no reason to think they’ll produce anything better for you.
9. They Relate to Your Project
This one is so simple! Yet it’s almost always overlooked. Just because someone is a great writer doesn’t mean they’d be great at writing about any subject. Try to find somebody who at least has some overlap between their interests and your project. This dramatically increases your chances of getting high quality work done.
10. They are Detail-Oriented
Oftentimes, when you are hiring a freelancer, you’re doing so in order to save yourself some time. It’s not uncommon for a business owner to hire a freelancer to do a job, only to have to hire someone else to review and correct their work. To avoid such problems, you can test this in the application process. For example, you can instruct freelance applicants to type in “I am detail-oriented” in their application. This way, it’ll be easy to tell who really pays attention to detail and who doesn’t.
11. They are Great Communicators
Communication is literally the glue that binds your relationships with freelancers. You’ll want to assess their communication skills early and look out for red flags. For example, when they ask good questions and seem genuinely interested in your project and your long-term success, they’re probably a keeper. Another way to test their communication skills is to see how long it takes them to respond to emails and/or text messages. If they take a long time to respond, there’s no reason to expect things will improve after you hire them.
12. They are in a Similar Timezone
Many projects have gone undone because of a difference in timezone. If your freelancer has a totally different timezone, they might submit projects at night, and then you don’t get to see them until you come into the office in the morning. Let’s say there’s an emergency change that needs to get done, you might find that your freelancer is dead asleep. If you aren’t both awake during similar times, this can lead to tons of lost opportunities to improve.
13. They are in it for the Long Term
It’s true that most projects with freelancers are short-lived. However, this is more about mindset than it is about specific time constraints. If your potential freelancer demonstrates that they are thinking about the future of your company as well as the future of your relationship, you probably have a winner. The great thing about working with a freelancer who is in it for the long term is that they tend to produce work with more pride and excellence.
You cannot do everything yourself. If you do, the work will probably be half-baked at best. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. If you are hiring freelancers and/or agencies and want to get the best out of them, follow the guidelines in this article. Find yourself the perfect freelancer who will be available to help you for the long term so that you don’t have to go through this process several times.