There are many reasons for companies to work with freelancers: bringing in external expertise that is unavailable within the company or offering support for the employees in dealing with tight deadlines and big projects. But that can only work – and be beneficial for both sides, as well – if you find the best fitting freelancers for your projects.
Freelancers should be seen as temporary team members, since they do help in making projects successful. That is why it is important to find someone who can complement the existing internal team while delivering the best possible results. Depending on your project, however, there are other aspects that are crucial when it comes to picking the best freelancer.
1. Listen to recommendations
Before embarking on an elaborate Google search, it can pay off to have a chat with your team members, other departments or even your friends and family to see who potentially has some personal recommendations for you. This not only saves you a lot of time, but also comes with the advantage of a real customer’s feedback concerning the outcome of the freelancer’s work and the working process in general. Was he or she acting professionally in conversations? Did they meet the deadlines? And most importantly, would you work with him or her again and thereby recommend me to also start a collaboration? All of this is valuable input that can and should influence your final decision of whether or not to hire a freelancer in question.
2. Check out their references and projects
Another important aspect in choosing the right freelancer for your project is to check out their previous work and their current clients. This gives you a first impression of their personal style, be it in written or visual form, as well as the industries that they have experience working with. By looking at their current client list, you can also find out if they are used to working with bigger or smaller companies, which can have an impact in your working relationship later on. Are they experienced with larger projects and can juggle complicated tasks, or do they prefer smaller and potentially also shorter projects with a bigger variety of clients? All of this is important input when choosing the right freelancer.
3. What is their fee?
Of course, money is a big factor when choosing a freelancer. Just imagine you seemingly have found the perfect fit: someone who has plenty of experience in your industry, has done very appealing work before and is a personal recommendation from a friend. You have had the call and you want to get them on board, but when asking your last question, you realise, they are way out of your price range. And so, you start from scratch. Always make sure to ask about the budget to avoid wasting your and the freelancer’s time. Good work will cost you, but some projects simply have a smaller budget and if you can’t afford to work with a certain freelancer, you will have to keep looking for a better fit.
4. Do they have time for you?
Apart from the price, it is also necessary for you to check in with them if they generally have the time capacities to deliver the work you envision. If you only need temporary help with a smaller project, this will probably not be an issue. But sometimes, companies are looking for freelancers who can assist in longer-running projects and work a specific number of hours per week or month on them, including tight deadlines. This needs to be run by a potential new freelancer to see if they can meet these requirements, especially when it comes to holding meetings and keeping deadlines with freelancers in different time zones.
5. Have a conversation
This might seem very basic, but it is potentially the most important aspect in choosing a new freelancer to join your company. It doesn’t matter if you talk over the phone or use video tools like Skype or Zoom to connect, but you should definitely take the time to at least once have a chat with the freelancer. A conversation can clearly show if you have the same values when it comes to work ethics and if you generally get along on a human level. Additionally, knowing the other person at least a little bit can make later conversations a lot easier – especially if they continue to be restricted to e-mails and chat platforms.