I used to be a project manager in a busy translation agency. Hiring freelancers was our bread and butter, but if we got it wrong, we would lose our clients’ trust and repeat business. So we designed a simple process for getting hold of the best translators on the market – a process that you can apply to hire almost any freelancer, for any role, in any company.
First up, you need to think about what matters most to you and your clients. Is it experience? Creativity? Qualifications? It’s important to consider your priorities, because not having a clear idea of what matters most to your company when hiring freelancers could have you missing out on some of the best talents. For example, some of the best freelancers have loads of experience but not many qualifications.
They may not be qualified at all and it simply doesn’t matter if they excel at the job. Imagine, for instance, a graphic designer who has worked with Adobe Illustrator her whole life and produces beautiful designs but has no formal training.
1- WRITE A JOB SPEC:
Decide exactly what you need in your freelancer and put together a short description, just as if you were writing an advert for a job. You can refer to this during the recruitment process. Whatever your new project is, you should outline the deliverables, the skill set and experience that you need your ideal candidate to have and any deadlines that need to be met.
2- DEFINE A PROCESS:
How are you going to locate your freelancer? Give some thought to this and consider writing a job advert as well, for posting online in places where freelancers look for work. Though slightly long-winded, these are the traditional methods by which employers set about finding freelance talent suitable for a specific job they have in mind.
Does it matter to you where the freelancer you want to hire is located? If they need to travel to a place of work (as in a court interpreter) and you’re likely to be paying their travelling expenses, then you need to look at where they are based, along with other considerations.
You don’t want them to be too worn out by their journey to do the job, for example. Or you might need to put them up for a night in a hotel if their skills are in short supply and you cannot find someone located close at hand.
4- CODE OF CONDUCT:
For some freelancers, who will be representing your business in physical locations without personal supervision, you might want to draw up a simple code of conduct. This is always helpful to cover
As mentioned above, you might need experience rather than qualifications, and in this case, you should ask your candidates for a CV and portfolio. If, on the other hand, you are hiring for a formal role, such as a freelance court interpreter, you need to make sure there are certain qualifications in place. Ideally, in this case, they would be a member of the Institute of Linguists (IOL) or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and have a DBS check in place.
Before hiring freelancers, you will need to agree on a rate with them. This might be an hourly rate or a fixed fee for a project and you need to establish this before hiring them. Is travel involved? Accommodation? Dining expenses? Please note that rates are entirely dependent on experience and that if you want the best quality, you will have to pay the market rate for it.
All too often I hear freelancers on LinkedIn complaining that they were offered an equivalent rate for unskilled work in return for their many years of study and experience in their field. It is important to do your research before you make any offers, and to remember that if you pay peanuts, you can only hire monkeys!
7- INTERVIEW THEM:
Now that you’ve got your job advert out or you’ve sourced some likely candidates online, you’ll need to think about holding interviews before hiring freelancers. You might want to do this over Zoom or Skype, as freelancers aren’t usually based close enough to travel to see you. Make sure you’ve drawn up a list of suitable practical questions about their abilities and experience.
As a freelancer who has been interviewed many times by prospective clients on Zoom, I would try to steer clear of any irrelevant questions, such as “How did you go above and beyond in your last role”!
8- SEND THEM A TEST:
A really great way of finding out how effective a the candidate is before hiring freelancers is to send them a small, paid test. Small because they often have other jobs to fulfil on behalf of other clients, and you’ll want a quick turnaround to look at results. Paid because this role, like any other, is based on trust, and freelancers are especially suspicious of those posing as potential clients in order to get freebies out of them. Yes, it happens all the time.
9- SET EXPECTATIONS:
When you’ve decided on the freelancer you want to hire, this is still only the beginning of the process. You need to be very clear with your chosen freelancer about your brief, your expectations, what the deliverables are, how much you’re willing to pay for what, and when you need those deliverables by. Providing clear details of the brief, fee, handoff and delivery date are essential to the success of any project.
10- FULFILL THEIR EXPECTATIONS TOO:
Whatever you agreed with your freelancer before hiring them, it is also incumbent on you to keep your end of the bargain. Pay them fairly, on time, for all the work they have done for you. Communicate well with them, especially over any changes to the project, regarding any new projects or proposed changes to the terms they are working under.
Failure to do so can result in loss of reputation, for professional freelancers have their own forums and networks and companies can and do get blacklisted if they treat freelancers less than fairly, pay unacceptably low rates or otherwise depart from agreed parameters. This can make the process of hiring freelancers difficult for you later on.
Hiring freelancers is a learning curve, like anything else. You might make mistakes. It can be hard sourcing the perfect match, and you may find you have to change your methods or improve how you communicate.
It’s OK to change course when things go wrong, and if you have had a few negative experiences and want to take the hassle out of finding a freelancer, why not head over to the Worxmart website and register your company as an ‘Employer’?
We make hiring freelancers easy by dividing freelance skills into easy-to-understand categories, and you can start evaluating candidates in just a few clicks. Worxmart quickly matches you with vetted freelancers, and with no haggling, no bidding and no wasted time, your project is already underway!
If you need a tailored request or want us to help you find the best match, you can simply fill out the following form with the details that we need to best assist you. We’ll be in touch with you for discussing all the project details and making sure you get exactly what you need.