More often than not, an efficient hiring process is all it takes to find the right freelancer for your business. While there’s no exact blueprint as to how the process should unfold, adding structure can make a huge difference.
Sure, there are dozens of freelance marketplaces on the internet that you can simply subscribe to. Without doing your due diligence, however, landing the right person may not be as easy as you’ve pictured it to be.
As with any process, getting organized is essential if you’re expecting positive results. Building a strong hiring process is a good first step if you want your outsourcing efforts to not go to waste.
In this article we’ll discuss why you should structure your hiring process and how you should do it.
The short and simple is answer is better results.
It’s no secret that hiring can easily get messy if it’s not well thought out and organized. Though it takes planning and preparation, it’s safe to say that it’s worth the effort considering the time you will save.
More than the time savings, below are some of the benefits you stand to gain with a structured hiring process:
Time is of the essence when it comes to hiring people. By establishing a timeline, you are effectively setting a goal and allowing yourself to get the best talent available in the market.
Structure speeds up the process because you know what comes next after every step. You won’t find yourself clueless after every interview trying to figure out what to do next.
A structured hiring process also sets candidate expectations especially with the timeline and the process itself. Keeping them aware of your timeline will help them prioritize and keep them from accepting other offers.
You wouldn’t want them to go somewhere else when you’ve already shortlisted them, would you?
The best reason to have structure is the quality of people you’ll get to hire. A less organized hiring process can easily make you overlook potential talent if not lose them to other opportunities.
The lack of structure can leave you unresponsive and confused which candidates can easily spot. Would you be interested in working with someone who doesn’t keep you informed of your status? Probably not.
When you’ve got everything documented, there’s little room for errors like these. It gives candidates a good impression of how you conduct business especially once they become a part of it.
The best way to structure the hiring process is to divide it into several key steps. Every step will have a different objective, making it easier to implement.
The best way to begin is to ask yourself, what will I need a freelancer for?
While it is pretty obvious that you have a set of tasks you need help with, it’s best to be very specific when it comes to the project’s scope. It’s not enough to say that you’ll need a blogger or a graphic designer. You’ll need to further dissect what it is they’ll be doing once you have them on board.
What will the blogger be responsible for besides writing? Will they also be in charge of doing keyword research and SEO? Will they be responsible for sourcing out images for the blog?
What will be the graphic designer’s responsibilities? Will they be creating graphics for social media only? How about the images in your product listings? Are they going to be responsible for editing photos too?
These are good questions to ask because you want to be on the same page with the freelancer. You have to remember that you’ll be paying them by the hour. Anything they do outside of what you agreed upon is considered additional costs.
Before you jump right into hiring someone, take a moment to write everything down. Be very specific on the tasks you would like to assign and consider the following:
How much hourly rate are you looking at? What are the due dates they should be aware of? What specific milestones do they need to meet? The more well-defined your project is, the better your chances of finding the right freelancer to do it.
Speaking of budget, you should have a clear understanding of how much you’ll be willing to spend right from the get-go. Outsourcing is an investment and if you’re not careful, you may end up paying more while getting less.
Are you going to pay freelancers on an hourly rate? Will it be more cost-efficient to pay them on a fixed rate?
The answers to these questions rest heavily on the scope of the project, making it an essential step. Keep in mind that every project has a different set of requirements.
Some work best with an hourly rate like a virtual assistant or a customer service rep, for example. Some suit fixed pricing better like blogging or video editing to name a few.
The next step in further improving your hiring process is to have a clear picture of your ideal freelancer. People often focus on skills and experience when it comes to hiring. As long as the skills are up to par and the experience is substantial enough, the freelancer is good enough.
Working with a freelancer is more than just skills and experience though. Most of the time, personality also plays a big part in finding the right fit. You have to take into consideration that you’ll be working remotely with the freelancer.
It’s bad enough that you don’t get to work in the same location, what more if you don’t get along because of a personality clash? The idea is basically to come up with an avatar of your ideal candidate. It would be so much better, of course, if you can be as detailed as you possibly can.
Try to think about personal traits that would jive well with your own personality. The more your personalities fit, the better the chances of having a long, fruitful relationship.
Good communication skills are, of course, already a given. They need to be able to write and speak good English for things to be smooth. You also need to decide if you want the freelancer to be on the same timezone as yours or if they can work within their own.
This is especially important if you’re looking to hire someone from other parts of the world like Asia or Europe.
Once you have decided on the qualities of the freelancer you’re looking for, the next step is to find a freelance marketplace to hire freelancers from.
The good news is there are dozens of freelance marketplaces on the internet to choose from. Your choice will depend highly on how involved you want to be in the hiring process.
Some marketplaces allow you to get involved in the recruitment process, particularly in reviewing CVs and conducting interviews. These platforms are perfect for business owners who would like to have control over the selection process.
The platform will send you freelancers that match the requirements you send. You can then start evaluating the candidates and interviewing them one by one until you find the right match.
The only downside to joining platforms like these is that going through each candidate may take time, something you don’t have a lot of as an entrepreneur.
If you don’t have a lot of time (just like most entrepreneurs are), some marketplaces send out pre-vetted candidates. This means that the freelance marketplace has already done the CV evaluation and interview on your behalf. The only thing left for you to do is to find the right match.
Finding the right platform to hire from shouldn’t really be difficult. As long as the fees are affordable and you’re okay with their process, you’ll be good to go. Make sure to read reviews about the freelance marketplace too so you can have an idea of how they conduct business based on other people’s experiences.
Once you have chosen the freelance marketplace you want to work with, you should now be ready to conduct interviews. Thanks to the magic of technology, interviewing someone from the other side of the world is now easy and affordable.
Apps like Skype or Google Hangouts are popular choices among entrepreneurs. You can then just choose whether you want to do a voice call or a video call. It’s important to understand that interviews are perhaps, the most crucial part of the entire hiring process.
This is your chance to know each of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. It allows you to ask questions relevant to the tasks at hand so you can gauge if they can contribute to your business.
That being said, it’s important to prepare your questions beforehand. Make a list of questions that will allow you to get a better picture of whether or not the candidate would be a good fit. Mix it up so you’ll have questions that will cater not only to the candidate’s skill set but also to their personal side.
The interview will also give you a better idea of the level of their communication skills. This is extremely important because you’ll be working away from each other. For outsourcing to be a success, communication is key.
While some prefer to conduct interviews via a chat session, doing it via video would be a better option. This is because video allows you to see the freelancer’s behavior and reactions which can help you get an inside track on their personality.
The final step in the hiring process is the part where you formally hire the freelancer of your choosing. Technically speaking, hiring isn’t the last step because there are still things to be done after saying “you’re hired.”
You can’t expect freelancers to know what to do the instant you hire them. For them to perform their functions properly and efficiently, you’ll need to continue to guide them through an onboarding process.
What onboarding does is to set the freelancers up with everything they need before they begin working on the project. It is also the best time to set expectations both about the task and the freelancer’s performance.
Onboarding is also a good time to introduce freelancers to the different apps and programs you use to run your business. You can use this time to grant them access to these tools, especially those that are relevant to their functions.
You don’t have to do this every time you have a new freelancer joining your team. You can have your onboarding process documented in the form of a PDF document or a recorded video.
If you want your venture into freelancing to be a successful one, having an onboarding process is essential.
Adding structure to a hiring process is crucial in landing the services of a top-quality freelancer. With structure, everything is more organized, minimizing the possibility of mistakes that can cost you time and money.
If you’ve done some hiring before, think about the last time things didn’t work out. Perhaps you may have missed any one of the steps we detailed above. Did you define the scope of the project before you jumped right in? Is it possible that you didn’t take the time to identify the kind of freelancer you’re looking for?
Missing or skipping any of the steps provided can easily lead to a hiring mistake. Whether it’s your first time to hire or not, we highly recommend that you perform each step in order as much as possible.
As with any huge endeavor, it’s better to go into battle prepared than go straight to the battlefield without all the tools you need. Without structure in your hiring process, you’re likely to land freelancers of lesser quality or people who do not fit your requirements.
It’s not a risk worth taking given the cost of outsourcing.
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