3 Steps on How to Hire and Manage Freelancers

By: Trevor McKinley

2018-08-08 10 minute read

With a look at the advantages and disadvantages of working with freelancers versus full-time employees. Today we continue that series, the three steps you can take to hire the perfect freelancer for your business. When we first started, hiring freelancers for our business, we treated the process pretty much the same as hiring full-time employees.

We will post the full job details, filled with the applicants and then set up phone or Skype interviews to select the worker that we wanted for the project. What we found however is that we wasted a lot of time and money speaking to and working with candidates that were really not a good match for the job. More recently we switched up that process and have had great success. After doing so here's what we changed:

1. Instead of posting the full project we now post one piece of the project that we want the freelancer to complete. We make it clear in the job posting that if the first piece of the project is completed successfully, there will be more work to follow.

2. Since we are only paying for a small piece of the project we don't waste time with phone and Skype interviews. After filtering out the candidates, we can tell from their initial responses are obviously wrong for the job. We give the test project to multiple freelancers, then we simply choose the one that does the best work for the full project. Once you understand the above the rest is easy.

managing freelancers

managing freelancers
Below are the new steps.

Step 1: Choose the Site You Want to Work With

Choose the site that you want to work with, recommend working with sites that have freelancers for any variety of tasks ranging from website design to product development to legal and accounting help.

Step 2: Post Your Job Starting With a Small Piece

Post your job starting with a small piece one of the best parts about working with freelancers versus employees, is that you don't have to make a decision on awarding the whole job right from the get-go.

Instead you can post a small piece of the job, and then hire the person to do the full job only after they have successfully completed the test job. Some people will tell you to require the freelancer to do the test job for free.

However, we think this is a mistake most serious freelancers are not going to do work for free. This is how the job postings should be broken down.

Give the post a compelling title that is representative of the project, like what we mentioned in Truelancer review. Introduce yourself and the company. Give the exact specifications of what you are looking for. Be as specific as possible in order to avoid confusion and misunderstandings down the road. If you are unsure what the steps to complete the project will be.

freelancer job postings

freelancer job postings


Then define what outcome you are looking for and ask the freelancer to provide the steps required in the proposal. Convey that this is only the start and what additional work you have for them after the test job is completed successfully.

Ask them to provide a quote for this first test job and finally offer to answer any questions if anything is unclear. Once you have written the job description you will be asked to give a timeline for completion and whether you want to pay by the hour or by the project. We always pay by the project once we have decided how much I'm willing to pay for a project.

It doesn't matter to me whether the freelancer takes one hour or ten hours to complete it as long as it's done right. This also saves me from having to review time logs and gives the freelancer the same flexibility that any self-employed person wants.

Step 3: Filter Candidate Responses

Filter candidate responses after posting many types of jobs. You will start to receive proposals from freelancers, almost immediately. To avoid getting distracted every time a new proposal comes in, we usually just file them all away and then go back and review them after at least 24 hours has passed.

This gives enough time for the post to have exposure and for enough candidates to respond. Once you are ready to start going through the responses, here are the steps to follow responses.

Generally, follow the 8020 rule meaning 80% of them will be garbage and not even worth considering, if it seems that they simply sent you a canned response and didn't really read the requirements just reject it.

freelancers skills

freelancers skills


Next, filter out anyone who does not have four star rating or above and hasn't done at least six or more projects on the site. You don't want to work with new freelancers as even the ones that look good. Flick out about half the time, look at their work examples in portfolio and finally select the candidate or candidates that you want to try out with your test project.

If for some reason you did not get enough responses to your job posting, then you can very easily filter through all the candidates on Elance. Use their search box to filter by skillset and rating, and then invite several to bid on your project that you think might be a fit.

Many people do not want to work with international freelancers especially ones from emerging countries like India, while there is no question that is easier to find high-quality freelancers in the United States and other developed countries like Canada, Australia and much of Western Europe. The cost is going to be substantially higher, as well from our experience.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that the more discretion that you need a freelancer to take with the project, the more likely it is that you're going to have issues with freelancers. In emerging markets, there are tool to track freelancers, just be more specific and follow these steps, a project is the more likely the cost savings of working with a freelancer an emerging market will be.

Well worth any additional issues that arise a notable exception to this is US SME a virtual assistant firm based in El Salvador that I've used for several ongoing projects and have had a lot of success with what's the bottom line.

When the best parts about working with and hiring freelancers versus full-time employees, is that you can let the freelancing site you choose do much of the work for you. Don't worry about spending a bit of money here and there on test projects for candidates that don't pan out. The time you save by following the above steps should more than offset the cost.



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