In today’s fluid workplace getting the job done increasingly means getting another professional to do the bits that you are less good at for you, and that usually requires that you hire a freelancer to create your report or article or blog entry, or white paper. Maybe you need a new logo or your ex removed from a photo. Perhaps you need a new product designed and lack the CAD knowledge, or are hankering for a new website design or some HTML work. As we are not all good at everything, and to hire a freelancer means that you will get exactly what you want and usually at a reasonable price too.
However, with so many around, choosing a freelancer can become confusing for the client, who has to pick one from a what might be a huge reservoir of talent. So how do you hire a freelancer, and what should you look for in order to get a good job done at a fair price? In this article, we will look at what you need to bear in mind when hiring a freelancer to complete a piece of work for you.
Information is King
You want to hire a freelancer to complete a specific job for you, and that means that you have to be completely transparent about what you actually want. Giving the freelancer, the maximum amount of information increases their chances of delivering to your expectations. A writer will need to know any keywords you need inserted for SEO, and a designer will need the colours for your logo or a whole stream of information on a new product. A statistician is going to want all the data that you have!
Is Your Freelancer Appropriate to the Job?
Obviously, if you want an article written, there is little point in hiring a freelancer whose main area of expertise is 3D Computer Aided Design or vice versa. A freelancer will want to advertise their areas of expertise and will undoubtedly include examples of previous work which you can peruse, to see if it fits your expectations. Fundamentally, the freelancer that you pick should be a good fit for the job and be able to demonstrate that they are able to produce the level of work you require.
You also need to bear in mind that a writer might have a preference for the type of work that they do and may not be comfortable with something outside of that remit. While many wordsmiths are multi-skilled and can cover a range of styles, hiring a freelance writer who specialise in the type of writing that you need for your business will ensure a much better outcome. Designers are bit more specialised and if it is product or building design that you want, picking a freelancer who can only show you a string of Photoshop-altered pictures or a few logos probably isn’t the person you want. If your freelancer can point you towards a few websites that they are accredited with then you can see what they are capable of.
Are your Timescales Reasonable?
Freelancers usually have lots of work on – in fact if your freelancer has nothing to do at all, it could be a little suspicious that no one else wants to employ them. Of course, there could be other reasons such as the freelancer has just come back from holiday, or has recently finished a scheme of work, and both of those are good reasons as the freelancer will be able to focus on your work. But for the most part, freelancers are very busy and they are generally planning or completing several jobs at the same time.
If your work has a tight timescale, you need to establish that with the freelancer early on in the bidding phase and reinforce with them that they must have it completed and delivered to you at least a day before your delivery to enable time for you to fully review the work and request any updates you might feel it requires. Conversely, if you have a lot of work to do, you may want to check that the freelancer has the time available to complete it. You may not know exactly how long your job will take, but at least try and give the freelancer some idea to help them plan too.
You need to help the freelancer plan your work in by giving realistic timescales for delivery – if you really need it in the next four hours, you really have to be frank about that. You have deliverables too!
Consider their Education and Experience
Hiring a freelancer can be a fraught process and means you placing your trust in someone who claims to be able to complete a writing assignment for you. Obviously, you can give yourself a bit of comfort by looking at their qualifications – which most good freelancers will proudly display – and see if they are aligned with what you actually require.
But then you may want to look at what else they have been doing in their career. If they have been a freelancer all their working life, then they may not have got a rounded view of the world in general. If they have been employed in a company then they will have a good understanding of timescales as well as knowing industry standards, whereas someone who puts their entire experience down to whatever they have read on the internet and devised their own timescales could be dangerously lacking experience and self-management! It’s always best to look for someone who has had other jobs, as they will understand a work ethic and world realities a bit better.
Look for Good Reviews When You Hire a Freelancer
Fundamentally, a freelancer wants you to hire them because that is where they make their money – contracts equal eating at the end of the month! It goes without saying that those who are not good enough soon wither and die away, but that may still leave a few mediocre ones who you certainly don’t want to hire either – your work is worth more than mediocre isn’t it? But how to find those who struggle to construct a decent sentence, and don’t know their semi-colons from their split infinitives? Do they know the colour wheel and understand how shapes go together? Do they understand the principles of UX, UI or web design? What is their coding like?
Typically, you want to be looking for a string of five-star ratings and positive comments throughout. Pay particular attention to comments that make reference to delivery and quality of work, as they are the two things that you are really interested in when you hire a freelancer. Even the best freelancer can be forgiven a couple of slightly lower ratings since clients sometimes feel that it’s wrong to give a full score, even for well-received work, so it is best to align scores with any comments that accompany them, as that will give a fuller picture. Never forget that you will hire a freelancer to complete work that you either cannot or choose not to do yourself, and that means that you want to receive a piece of work that is accurate and on time as well.
Hiring a freelancer to create your writing or designs – whatever it is – should mean that you receive the same professional service that you would expect from any supplier. But this is an industry that has an enormously divergent pool of talent, and not all of them will be able to communicate what you need and in the way that you need it done, so choose wisely. Create a shortlist of potential freelancers and maybe even interview them over skype or telephone. It’s your work and you want the best so take a little time and do the research – it will only benefit you in the long term.