Hiring the right Freelancer can be one of the best Growth Hacking tools you can use for your business…if done correctly. Unfortunately, this is almost always done with little planning, little effort, little thought and results in lots of pain!
In an effort to help you avoid some of the common mistakes made when hiring a Freelancer, we have created these 5 Tips to Effectively Hire the Right Freelancers for your business.
TIP 1 – DETERMINE IF YOU ARE READY
Most business owners who are looking for a Freelancer are looking to alleviate some of the burgeoning workload in their back office. Of course, there are many other needs, but the majority are looking to offload workload and that is a great place to start.
Just make sure you are ready to effectively ‘let go’ of the load. This means you have to do two things before you begin to get your task ready for the handoff.
First, you need to understand the tasks enough to teach them to a Freelancer. If you are trying to hand off work that someone else in the business was handling, but you never handled it yourself, you are setting yourself up for frustration both on the part of the Freelancer and yourself.
You need to fully understand the task you want to teach in order to teach it effectively and insure your new hire has the right instruction from the beginning. Take some time to learn the task at hand by doing it yourself first until you completely grasp all the steps and nuances.
Second, you need to be organized in preparation for the hiring process. Don’t wait until interview and training day to start fumbling through papers to find the login passwords for the application they need or locating a folder in that mess of a Google Drive. Be sure to have everything you need ready, organized, and within easy reach so your time is efficient and, more importantly, you are viewed as professional and organized to your new Freelancer.
If you are fumbling around like a cat with tape on it’s paws, your Freelancer is going to quickly see there is Zero order and may go running for the hills. Take the time, gather your thoughts and necessary items, and proceed with grace!
TIP 2 – PROVIDE A COMPLETE JOB DESCRIPTION
Please, Please, PLEASE! Do not write this:
VA needed for back office tasks – Send past work experience and availability.
When? How often?
How many hours do you need them each day? Which hours do you need them for? Which days of the week?
Which applications do they need to perform these tasks?
What experience is needed to perform these tasks?
Is math involved?
Is writing involved?
Do they need to speak to people by phone?
Seasoned Freelancers, who are really good at what they do, will ignore this job. No, let me rephrase that; they will RUN from this job. This is a huge red flag for a Freelancer and here’s why. This makes the client posting this ad appear lazy, unprepared, or too busy to actually handle the hire appropriately. If you cannot take the time to write out a thorough job description, chances are the training process will be a nightmare of unavailability too.
Attract the best candidates by creating a job description that covers all the basics and BE HONEST about how much time and budget you have. There really is a skilled person to fit most every budget, but you need to be honest with them. Don’t tell them you will have a lot more work for them if you won’t, especially to get a discounted price. If the job is going to be a bit messy in the beginning, tell them! Most will understand and love a challenge.
The point here is you want to write a thorough job description and take the time there so you don’t have to spend the time weeding through unqualified candidates later.
TIP 3 – DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS
“But I need help now!”. We know. Honestly, we get it…been there-done that! The point here is that you will be worse off in the end if you don’t do this right, and you’ll be wasting a TON of time if you have to jump from Freelancer to Freelancer because you rushed through the process. If you take the time to do the hire right, you’ll have a better chance of finding talent that truly meets your needs and is a good fit for your personality and your business goals.
The Search Phase – Looking through endless profiles is tedious, it’s true. There is no way to sugar coat it. It sucks! But not looking through them to check past work history and job success, portfolios, and background, will mean you could be getting some pretty bad results, regardless of how great their intro letter is. (Word of caution: many online offshore freelancers hire writers to write their intro letters for them.) Don’t take these at face value.
When searching through profiles, be sure all the boxes are ticked. You want to see that they have great feedback from past clients, their profiles are complete and offer a clear skillset, and they have some work history behind them. I highly recommend, if this is your first hire, to stay away from newbie freelancers with no work history. They are usually cheaper than all of their competitors, but there is a reason for that…steer clear!
The Interview Phase – After you have found a few candidates, you want to be sure that you do a thorough ‘LIVE’ interview. This means asking many, many questions by phone/skype (not chat). You want to know that they understand your language so there is not a communication issue later. Talking to someone by phone or skype is the ONLY WAY to do this correctly. Do not use messaging, chat, or text. Speak to all of your candidates.
Get a feel for their personality and ask them questions about their experiences with past clients, the work they love to do, and what you are offering. Have a pre-determined set of questions you want to ask and ask them. All of them.
Do this with each candidate. The time is well worth it when you find that superstar Freelancer who can wiz through the tasks you hand them with ease and a smile!
TIP 4 – HAVE BACKUP
It is great to have a candidate or 2 to fall back on if the first one doesn’t work out. So many things can cause an issue with a new hire and you should be prepared if the worst happens. You have already done the work of sorting through profiles, why do that again and again?
While going through the interview process, you will likely find a few Freelancers you like and just one that makes it to #1. Make sure you keep the contact info for 2 runner-ups on hand for the future. Keep their name and a link to their online profile and let them know, although they were not chosen for this project, you will keep their info should something not work out. This is common and keeps the lines open for the future.
Who knows…you may need a second Freelance at some point in the future too, so this will save time later if that happens.
TIP 5 – DOCUMENT TRAINING
Now that you have hired someone to help you get things in order, it is the ideal time to start documenting the tasks you are teaching. Since you have to show them each step in the process, you can take this opportunity to document those steps into a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’. This SOP can then be used in the future for another Freelancer or employee if the need arises.
It is much easier to hand off an SOP to a new hire and let them run through a step by step process, then it is to go through a hands on training over and over. The SOPs you create give you a starting point and make it easy to get a task done if your Freelancer is off or away on vacation or leaves abruptly. It is good practice for you to have these SOPs for every task in your business. It saves time and keeps you organized!
So there you have it, our 5 Tips to Effectively Hire the Right Freelancers for your Business. We hope you follow them and have great results with your next hire.
Want to share your hiring nightmares or tips? Let us know in the comments below. Maybe you’ll help another business owner avoid making the same mistakes you did!
More Resources for this topic:
Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer – Entrepreneur
6 Must-Dos When Hiring a Freelancer – Entrepreneur
6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process – Business News Daily
3 Tips for Hiring Freelancers – Business News Daily
Ten Tips to Hire the Right Candidate | Monster.com
3 Tips for Finding the Best Talent on Upwork – Hiring | Upwork