Business expansion can be both profitable or costly depending on how you handle it. The main costs you should expect to incur are an expanded payroll, and additional overheads. Some businesses prefer to outsource work to contractual freelancers who are there as and when the need arises - but finding freelancers with the right skills is not as easy as it sounds.
Here are 11 tips to help you find the best person for your job.
1. Sample hire
One of the main ways of getting the right talent is by checking samples of your candidates. It’s not advisable to make a hire based on past work alone. Some candidates can have impressive portfolios of previous work but might be the wrong choice because they lack the expertise to execute your particular task. For example; excellent copy writers don’t always translate to great bloggers.
You also need to ensure the candidate can perform your task as efficiently as they’ve done in their past contracts. The easiest way to do this is make a sample hire. Have them complete an example of what your work entails on a day to day basis. This allows you to objectively rate the candidates. You may need to pay them a small amount for this, because you cannot expect them to work for free.
2. Conduct interviews
Hiring people online makes often feels like there is no human touch to the whole process, but it’s still possible to do an interview that allows you to get to know your prospective employee. Even if you can’t access the candidate physically, you make use of online chat platforms like Skype to do an interview online.
An interview will help you gauge their personality traits and to identify whether there may be any barriers moving forward. It also helps in developing a good working relationship before work commences.
3. Draft an agreement for the whole project
You’ve finally set your eyes on the best talent for your project, but wait! Before starting, it’s important that all parties involved understand the task requirements. You should discuss the whole project: timelines, key deliverables expected, project milestones and payment schedules. Doing this will avoid contentions that might come up later. This agreement will also help you come up with a payment structure that suits both parties. Some contracts can be engaged with a one-off payment at completion, while others require contractors to charge you by the hour.
4. Insist on references
If you are looking for a long term contract hire, it’s advisable to exercise due diligence on your potential employees. It’s important to know how they performed in previous jobs, and a good way of getting this info is by contacting former employers. You can ask your candidates to provide references for you to check. If all you are interested in is a short term engagement, this may not be necessary.
5. Check on employer feedback
Marketplaces like Freelancer have made it easier for clients to check past work, by providing space for ratings and feedback. Checking previous employer’s feedback allows you to make an informed decision based on how your candidate interacted with them during the project.
It may be hard to follow up on these past employers directly (see tip on ‘insist on references’), but feedback can make an excellent basis for hiring because they are rarely changed or interfered with by contractors.
6. Insist on regular communication
Even though most freelancers work remotely, it’s important that you establish regular communication channels with them. Communication brings in a human touch that is otherwise unavailable between both parties. Therefore it’s important that you regularly, and politely, talk about your objectives and milestones with your contractor. Doing this encourages positivity with their contribution and in turn, enables them to make the best judgments based on your business goals.
Extra tip: Always be ready to listen to what freelancers may suggest on the workflow of projects. They can come up with interesting ideas you might find useful.
7. Negotiate ownership of the final work
Business projects such as design and software development require a discussion around ownership rights before work commences. These rights need to be stated in a legal document and accepted by both parties to avoid any future contentions. For such projects, you should also be ready to agree on a certain percentage to be paid upfront, or in an escrow type payment.
8. Avoid hiring contractors based on price
Due to the availability of many freelancers for hire, you might be tempted to get one with the cheapest rates to handle your project. While this may seem like a cost-saving strategy, the end product or service obtained is likely to reflect the amount you’ve paid. The age old saying goes, “cheap can be expensive,” and this is definitely true when you have to re-hire to improve the quality of the project.
Extra tip: It’s important to gauge your hires based on their experience. Matters to do with price can be settled after you’ve secured the best talent for the position.
9. Check freelancer’s timeline
One thing you should note about freelancers is that you are not their only employer. Freelancers sometimes have more than one employer, meaning they have to juggle different deadlines. Before you commence work with your selected freelancer, always ask them whether they will be able to deliver within your set timelines. This will allow them to synchronize their work to accommodate your deadlines.
Extra tip: You can also make sure your contractor completes the work on time by regularly checking whether they are on track to finish the project. One option is to see completed sections of work, rather than waiting until the end date for the whole thing.
10. Protect your company from competition
Sometimes freelancers can be an indirect competition to you because they understand how your business runs, and are the ones who complete the projects for your clients. So it’s important to put up mechanisms that prevent them from directly accessing your business details. If that can’t be the case, you can take the legal route by having them sign non-disclosure agreements. These agreements prohibit them from obtaining work from any of your clients for a particular period.
11. Make use of freelancer marketplaces
You can search online marketplaces like Freelancer to hire a freelancer. Sites like Freelancer allow you to post your job type, and then receive resumes and quotes from potential workers. The main advantage of getting freelancers online is that you are likely to get the best talent based on the type of job that you have. You’ll also get to have a long list of candidates from which you can choose.
Freelancers can be a cost saver to your business, but if hired incorrectly, they can be a liability. These 11 tips will help you get the best talent for your projects. If followed strictly, these tips can help you expand your business fast while allowing you to minimize your costs.
Got more advice on how to hire the best freelancers for a project? Share them with us in the comments section below!