Just under 37 percent of the clients we speak to here at FreeUp are hiring freelancers for the first time when they come to us. Hiring a freelancer is a big decision, whether it’s your first time or not.
We’re often asked the question, what should I look for? How do I pick the right freelancer? Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to that question.
Personalities, skills, communication styles, and more all go into a successful freelancer-to-client relationship. This means that the right freelancer for Bob (I don’t know who Bob is, I made him up) might not be the right freelancer for you.
Not sure how to determine which freelancer is right for you? Keep reading; we’ve created a checklist of things to be on the lookout for.
Some personality types just clash, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s possible to put those differences aside, and other times they can make for a poor experience when working with a freelancer.
And, it doesn’t mean that you or the freelancer did anything wrong; it’s just how life works. It can be a challenge to gauge whether or not your personalities will clash from a short interview.
However, it’s something you should aim to do.
You can do this by asking the right questions.
Commonly asked questions like “what are your strengths and weaknesses” may seem cliche, but they can tell you a lot about a person. Also, take the time at the beginning of the interview to make some small talk. Start getting to know them, and how they engage with you, you’ll quickly pick up on whether or not you’ll be able to work together successfully.
Keep in mind this doesn’t mean they need to be the type of person you want to grab drinks with while watching the game. It simply means that your personalities work together well, so you’re able to accomplish things.
Communication is a huge part of working with anyone. However, despite the fact that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal, 74 percent of workplace communication occurs over email.
When you interview a freelancer, there are some questions you can ask that will help you determine whether your communication styles will work together.
There are two parts of communication we really want to dig into here.
When someone is talking to you, what’s going on in your brain? Are you planning what to say next? Or are you thinking about what’s for dinner?
Both scenarios are possible because the truth is we don’t listen as well as we would believe. While 96 percent of people believe that they’re good listeners, we only remember about half of what we hear. We miss out because we’re planning our response or making assumptions.
It’s not as challenging to assess listening skills as you might think. When someone is actively listening, you can see it in their body language and how they respond to you.
Take the time to learn what active listening looks like, and practice it yourself. It will help in all of your relationships, from personal to business.
When you communicate your thoughts to the freelancer, do they understand you? Can you understand what they’re saying?
This is an essential part of communication. You’ll find that some communication styles are really different. While this doesn’t make it impossible to form a working relationship, it does make it more challenging.
Our fictional friend Bob hired a freelancer to do graphic design for his company. Bob loves his freelancer. They’ve done some pretty great work for him.
But, that doesn’t mean you should hire the same freelancer without knowing more about them. Bob’s needs and your needs could be vastly different.
When you’re looking to hire the right person, ask to see samples of their past work. Ask if they have any recommendations or referrals from past clients. This will help you know whether their skills match your needs as well.
Branding consistency can increase your revenue by 20 percent. However, when it comes down to it, branding is important for multiple reasons. It impacts everyone, from employees to customers.
When you’re working with a freelancer, they should seek to understand your company and, in turn, understand your branding. When you’re interviewing, pay attention to the questions the freelancer asks.
Do their questions reflect a genuine desire or interest in understanding your company? Do they demonstrate that they really took the time beforehand to understand your request and requirements?
These indicators can help you find a freelancer that will pay attention to the details.
Working digitally isn’t always easy. However, various collaboration tools do make it easier. For example, Google, Trello, and Slack.
Talk to your freelancer about what collaboration tools they have experience with. While they don’t necessarily need to have familiarity with the tools you use, it will show you they have the experience and ability to learn the tools you implement.
When you set your own schedule, you need the ability to motivate yourself. Freelancers should be self-starters and have the ability to communicate to you when projects will be completed.
They should also communicate any potential delays. Take the time to talk to potential freelancers about how they schedule their days and make sure they meet deadlines. This can help you evaluate their motivation.
When you work with FreeUp, we hold our freelancers to high standards. However, reviewing their portfolio and test projects are great ways to ensure you’re getting the best freelancer for your business.
Paid test projects are an excellent way to evaluate your freelancer. This gives you a preview of the work they could do for you and can help you make a decision you’re comfortable with.
Are you looking to work with a freelancer long-term? Or do you need them to work specific hours?
If a freelancer can’t provide you with the number of hours you need, and you want the same person on that job, you should keep exploring your options.
Take the time to discuss your current needs and potential future needs with freelancers when it comes to availability. That way, you know whether or not they can give you what you need when it comes to time.
Sometimes, you’ll work on a project with a freelancer, and you’ll give them free rein. However, other times, they may need to follow very specific instructions. There’s also a middle space here, but we’re going to speak in extremes here.
When you give your freelancer specific instructions, you need to know they’ll follow them and ask questions if needed. This is where a test project is a great idea again.
Include specific instructions and see how well they’re followed. Did the freelancer ask questions if they didn’t understand?
Knowing the answers to these questions is part of picking between Sally and Jane. A freelancer who can follow directions when needed is a valuable asset.
There are a lot of factors to consider when hiring freelancers. However, this checklist should give you a good idea of what to start looking for.
When you’re looking for high-quality freelancers, we’re here to help you. Find out what makes FreeUp the right fit for you by booking a call.
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