Thinking of hiring a freelancer? While you may be wary of taking on full time staff during these precarious times, you might have considered taking on freelancers to help fill a skills gap on your team or add value to a project you had put on hold during lockdown.
Thinking of hiring a freelancer?
While you may be wary of taking on full time staff during these precarious times, you might have considered taking on freelancers to help fill a skills gap on your team or add value to a project you had put on hold during lockdown.
Never hired a freelancer before? Worked with a few in the past?
Whether you're a newbie or not when it comes to hiring freelancers, we want to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.
In this article, we'll be highlighting 6 challenges clients often encounter when hiring freelancers. We’ll provide practical tips on how clients can best manage these challenges in order to develop and maintain strong, harmonious relationships with their freelancers.
1. Doing interviews remotely
If you’re used to interviewing prospective employees in person, interviewing freelancers using Zoom, Skype or FaceTime might be something you're unfamiliar with and slightly nervous about.
There’s two key things I’d recommend to help you overcome your concerns.
Firstly, treat it like a normal interview. Present yourself in a Zoom interview the same way you’d present yourself in an in-person interview. Dress well and make sure the space around you is tidy. How you present yourself and the area in which you work is a direct reflection on you and your company.
Secondly, use the technology to your advantage. There are perks to using Zoom when interviewing. You can share screens to discuss a portfolio or project, send links for reference over chat or use the whiteboard feature in Zoom to collaborate.
Hiring a marketeer?
Why not bring up a social feed, see what's trending and ask how they would use trends to amplify your brand. Live testing is a great way to learn how a candidate reacts and problem solves.
It’s worth knowing that a lot of freelancers were using online tools like Zoom before the pandemic hit to communicate with clients who may not be based in their locality.
They’ll know how to handle a Zoom interview, so all you need to do is make sure you prepare well on your end.
2. Finding a way to communicate effectively
If you’re going to be taking on a remote freelancer, you’ll need to make sure that they have a stable internet connection, as you’ll likely be using Zoom and other communication platforms to help plan and execute projects.
Although there’s an expectation that most people have reasonable internet access in this day and age, this is not always the case.
If a prospective freelancer has a dodgy connection, don't rule them out immediately. Sometimes they may just need to hotspot off their phone or buy a dongle, so it’s worth suggesting these alternatives to them.
Another point. Hire freelancers who can communicate with you directly as opposed to through a third party platform. For example, some freelancer sites like Fivver operate in a way that clients can only communicate with freelancers through their platform. This is an awkward and impersonal way to communicate. It also limits your hire from engaging with the rest of your team.
When taking on freelancers, make sure that you’ll be able to easily communicate with them in the same way you’d communicate with other employees - over email, Zoom and business communication platforms like Slack.
3. Establishing a relationship with your freelancer
When you hire a new employee who’s working in the same office as you, it’s easy to get to know them over coffee, lunch and after work drinks.
As freelancers often work remotely, it can sometimes be a little trickier to build a relationship with them. However, it can be done.
Start by making them feel like a valued member of your company. Schedule in a virtual coffee break where they can get to know you and your team on a personal level or if your company has started virtual team activities during lockdown, make sure they know they're welcome to get involved too.
If you're looking for some Zoom activities to bring your team together check out this piece I wrote recently for some ideas.
4. Not giving a freelancer the space to be creative
If you bring a freelancer onboard, it’s really important that you give them adequate time and space to devise creative solutions for your company.
I’m not implying that you give them a license to do whatever they want. I’m simply suggesting that you give them ample opportunities to brainstorm ideas after you’ve given them a clear brief and deadlines.
In other words, don’t micromanage or feel you have to constantly check in for updates. If you’re looking for a sure way to quench a freelancer's creative spark, that’s it.
Finally, when a freelancer presents you with their ideas, don’t shoot them down immediately if they’re not what you had in mind. Clients sometimes have a rigid idea of how something should look in their head, but it’s important to be open minded about new ideas too. If the freelancer presents a vision that’s way off the mark, revisit the brief to make sure you provided a clear picture of what you had in mind.
Remember that a lot of freelancers have experience working with a range of businesses and therefore often know what kind of things work and don’t work.
5. Ensuring your freelancer has the capacity to take on your work
Like any employee you take on, sometimes it’s hard to know how a freelancer will handle the workload you give them until they start working for you.
Establishing a good line of communication with your freelancer from the get go should help you manage this challenge. Ask the freelancer about their availability and the number of hours they can commit to a project short-term and long-term. Encourage your freelancer to check in with you if they have any question or concerns about their work. If it happens that they become overwhelmed by their workload at any point, they’ll feel comfortable letting you know.
6. The freelancer not investing into your brand or mission statement
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, freelancers need to invest in a company's brand if they’re going to produce quality work for them.
A freelancer's work should be aligned with a company’s brand values. Otherwise, the work they produce simply won’t be relevant.
Make sure you supply lots of information about your company in your brief to ensure that your freelancers work is on point. If you don’t have an onboarding process in place, set one up. A ‘Welcome Pack’ that outlines the company culture, visual brand and links to references that may help the new freelancer see the bigger picture will only enhance their experience with your brand.
While you may experience some of the challenges above when hiring freelancers, remember that these challenges can be easily addressed and overcome.
Freelancers can add a lot of value to your business, so don’t let a few small challenges get in the way of that.
We’d love to help you find your ideal freelancer, whether it be your first or your fifth. Post a job for free here.