How to Evaluate Proposals From Freelancers

By: Kevin Neilsen

2018-08-16 12 minute read

We’re going to walk you through a very simple process you can follow to hire freelancers based on their proposals.

How do you handle all of the cover letters, work samples, resumes and proposals that come into your inbox?

When you've posted a job, whether you're on Fiverr or Freelancer.com, you will need to go through a system to process all the information that you will be receiving.

You will also need to maximize your time and ability for the entire hiring process to make sure you hire the best freelancer who can get the job done.

Here we will walk you through very simple processes that you can apply when evaluating proposals from aspiring freelancers. Following these basic steps will help you save time.

You won't be wasting hours reading and browsing sifting through piles of information trying to figure out who the heck you should talk to or hire.

Once you've posted your job and gone through live samples, you need to be specific with your preference.

So how to build a team of freelancers? You need to handle different and overflowing proposals from applicants, go through it and in the end, you need to hire the ideal candidate that best fits the job.

  1. Cut it down to 50%

If there are too many applicants, you can sift through their resumes and cut it by 50%. Then, go through them again until you have filtered it down to at most 10 individuals who you think would suit for the project.

Working with freelancers is not as difficult as you may think although there are number of things that you need to consider when choosing the initial candidates. You need to prepare a list of questions you’d want to ask them. Tell them that and the interview process will follow suit.

It is important that you send them the questions and give them specific requests so you can easily identify who among the candidates followed the instructions carefully.

These specific requests serve as a filter to see which among those applicants are reading and executing instructions carefully. The logic here is that you’d want a potential hiree to comply with all your requests and instructions.

In this way, you will be able to assess how they follow your instructions and choose the one who can get the job done for you with minimum supervision and corrections.

Sending everybody a message is time-consuming because you have to do it individually. You need to make sure that you convey your message clearly and effectively so you get the reply that you want.

  1. Read the cover letters

Outsourcing a job or hiring freelancers can be a long process and may consume a lot of time.

Your goal with this step is to quickly filter down the one you should work with. You need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is that the kind of work that you want? Remember, that cover letter is their best foot forward.
  2. Next question is did they follow the instructions? Did they actually respond to or actually understand your job description?

Go through all the impressive cover letters and choose the ones that you really prefer.

Bear in mind that it is easy to spot generally drafted cover letters. You’d easily know if they are having the spiel or if they sent you a template but make sure that they are responding properly to the job request. 

freelancer cover letter

freelancer cover letter


For example, you are looking for a blogger and then after going through the proposals and cover letters, you may send them a message or specific requests to see if they can really shadow the instructions that you sent them. If they do then they can be scheduled for an interview. 

One best example is make an odd request like asking them to put a simple phrase like "Blue Elephant" on top of the reply email. You may easily spot those who are following the instructions carefully.

Chances are, other freelancers will comply with the request and some will basically ignore it. If the applicant conform to what you asked then set them for an interview then spurn down those who don't. 

An outlandish and stupid request will help you instantly know if they know how to follow directions and if they actually read the job description.

  1. Review the work samples

Allot extra time to check if they have relevant work samples. And of those relevant work samples, ask yourself if you’re happy with that quality of work? 

Go through particular profiles and click through all the work sample links. If they don't give you a specific set of links then you can just go to their profile and look through to see. 

As an employer, you’d want to find the closest to what you're asking for. If you are looking for a blogger, go and click on their blog posts. Investing the time to check beforehand will save you a lot of time and money. 

freelancer work samples

freelancer work samples


It shows a different level of detail and caring when every single piece of their portfolio has a description. Showing a good detailed description of their previous work shows that they have the ability to be keen on details. It gives the employer the confidence in the freelancer's ability to be detailed for the work you are hiring them for. 

This is actually the quickest and fastest way to get this done and hone in on who's most likely to be the top performing talent. 

Once you know who's going to be worth your time, it's time to set them up for an interview. It's time to test their ability to communicate and follow instructions again. 

  1. Know who will commit for an interview 

Unless and even if they are in the same time zone, you’d want to make sure that they can actually commit to a time to show up online. 90% of those are committed should be listed. You just need to know if you both can set a time and they will really show up. 

There are lot of employer horror stories when it comes to interviews. There are those who waited for hours and hours and then none of the freelancers ever showed up.

What happens here is that you won't be able to hire the best but you will give the chance to the one who respected the time that was set and actually showed up for the interview. 

freelancer interview schedule

freelancer interview schedule


We're actually looking at their ability to commit to a time and their communication style as well. 

Start blocking and plotting interview schedules via your time zone. Gmail’s Google Calendar is a big help in figuring out how to convert their time zone to your time zone.

Always choose a time that works best for you and not the other way around.

And essentially on Google Calendar, you could block out a time and you can put it you could say okay for these four hours. If you want 30-minute, 15-minute or 10-minute time slots then you can give them a public link and they can go click on which time slot they want.

They just need to click on the time slot that works for them, Click Save and now you're scheduled and the next step is to wait if the freelancer indeed comes to agreed schedule.

Mistakes are just part of life. Not everything is always going to work out and sometimes we misread the conversions when it comes to changing our time zones.

Using the Google Calendar appointment tool is a big help in setting up interview appointments from people who are working on a different time zone. 

You may also do it manually by sending a message from person-to-person. Just make sure your initial message starts with your time zone and it’s highly recommended that you ask or request that they work in your time zone. 

We can’t emphasize enough…

You need to give better chances to talents who are more than happy to accommodate your requests to work on your time zone.

If time zone will be an issue, both employer (that’s you) and the freelancer need to work things out to ensure that the jobs get done immediately and perfectly.



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