Freelancers are on the rise. From just 3.7 million in 2014, freelance workers now account for a whopping 56.7 million in America alone. Not only has this trend provided more flexibility and autonomy for workers across the country, but it has also been key in the growth of countless businesses, a benefit that Ridester’s Brett Helling emphasized in a previous post here on Biz Catalyst 360.
Aside from the fresh energy and innovation they bring to the table, freelancers are also uniquely suited to certain tasks compared to regular employees. Yoss’ Selma Studer points out that tech positions related to SAP Support and CRM Implementation lend themselves especially well to freelance working arrangements, as these roles — and the tech industry as a whole — value flexibility and deep technical expertise. There are, after all, functions that are best accomplished in cycles or sprints by specific experts, thus making full-time employment unnecessary.
Businesses with an eye for growth can take advantage of these differences to optimize hiring and free up valuable resources for other initiatives. And while the rapid growth of the freelancing industry is promising, it also presents an interesting challenge in finding the right person for your team. Here are some tips to get you started:
The internet is a great way to connect people, and using it to find the right freelancer for a certain job is one of the simplest and easiest steps you can take. Sites like Upwork and Toptal allow you to easily browse through potential hires and can provide you with the necessary information to determine if someone is the right fit for you.
When browsing a freelancer’s profile, be sure to look through previous work experience, their portfolio, and feedback from people and companies that have worked with them before. These will, at the very least, give you a good sense of what you can expect from your freelancer-to-be. Another benefit is that these sites also act as middlemen that will be taking care of the payment and processing side of the deal, which means less work for you and your HR department.
Use Your Network
While the internet is a great place to start, nothing beats a glowing personal recommendation. Inc’s Bubba Page details how using previous connections could help with hiring your next freelance professional as these recommendations come from people you trust, rather than reviews from strangers on the internet.
The odds are, this method will allow you to find someone with experience working in your industry or field, as your personal connections will more often than not know the specificities and intricacies of your company. This can save you a lot of time that would have been spent sifting through thousands of profiles online and interviewing potential candidates.
Communication is Key
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your potential freelance professional is to communicate what you need as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Small Biz Trends emphasizes the importance of a thorough brief in the freelancer hiring process, as giving them a concise project overview will build the foundations of a successful project.
When drafting your brief, it’s important to include the following: a project overview, examples, deliverables, and a concrete, specific timeline. It’s important to be as specific as possible as this will help give freelancers an idea of what is expected of them, which helps your project succeed moving forward.
If the Price is Right
It might be tempting to hire the freelancer with the most affordable rate, but in most cases, you’ll get what you pay for. Know how to value the work your potential freelancer does by paying the appropriate amount, as low rates will more often than not result in poor work.
Remember that this not only wastes your precious resources, but it also wastes time. This is the time that could have been used to push your project forward had you not skimped on hiring according to the quality of work, rather than the most economical option.