Article | 06 May 2015

How to identify, hire and work effectively with freelancers

Posted in Top tips, Tools & Advice, Learning, Alice’s Blog, Client,

This is the second post in our ‘Future of Work’ series. Given the fact that more and more people are choosing to become self-employed and are offering themselves to companies as a freelance workforce, I decided to found The Work Crowd – an online platform for the crème-de-la-crème of freelancers working in the marketing communications space.

The Work Crowd is an invitation-only ‘club’ where freelancers can build a profile and showcase their work. Employers can post projects and can be matched to potential candidates. It’s like a dating agency but for work. We make the process easy for all concerned as well as offering advice and payment streamlining - taking some of the ‘unknown’ quantity away from this transient market.

Businesses find that hiring freelancers is a great way to save time, money and add talented specialists to their team – especially as many companies are working in a more agile way. However, there are certain things you need to be aware of when hiring freelance workers. There are many opportunities for projects to go off course. Getting consistent, quality results from freelancers’ starts with an effective task description. Freelancing can add a powerful dimension to your business when well executed. However, poorly crafted task requests are guaranteed to get your project off to a dodgy start.

As a company, you need to get all your ducks in a row before you start to evaluate potential freelance talent. It is imperative that you create a brief roadmap or overview of the project for which you are planning to draft in extra help. This not only facilitates better conversations with potential freelancers, but it also helps you align your internal team around expectations for the project. Moreover, this exercise saves you money; every phone call or email you exchange with your freelancer on the project once you start constitutes billable hours, so taking the time to create an in-depth overview of the task initially can save money and energy for your company.

Freelancers can be a breath of fresh air for many overtaxed companies. Not only do they take on work that employees may be unable to take on, they often provide a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective on a product or service. Furthermore, they are able to turn around your projects in a timely manner and will be experts in the field in which they are specialising. The fact that they are there for only a short period of time, means that you - as an employer – will get the injection of skill when you need it, without having to go to the expense of hiring a full-time member of staff.

Finding the Right Freelancer is imperative. Ask yourself this question: ‘Would I hire them as an employee if the circumstances were right?’ If the answer is ‘no’, then don’t hire them as a freelancer. The fit needs perfect since they will be a member of your team – albeit a temporary one.