Finding and hiring great freelancers can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with the process. While most are honest and hardworking, there are a few who will accept any work regardless of their skill level or specialties. These freelancers may deliver low quality work or may not deliver anything at all and if you enter into a contract which such a person it can be difficult to get your money back.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when hiring freelancers so you can find qualified, skilled workers who will deliver quality work on deadline.
Beware of Spammers – Spam is a huge problem on freelancing sites like Odesk and Freelancer. Some freelancers will use bots to apply to every job posted with no regard to the specifications or criteria needed. This means it’s vital to be clear on you expectations and demands and you should also include a keyword or phrase that interested parties should use in their bids. This way you can disregard bids without that phrase and more easily find legitimate bids.
Always Ask for Samples – A portfolio or samples should always be mandatory when looking for freelancers, whether you are looking privately or through a site. For design work or other similar things you should ask for checkable references and for writing you can ask to see any work published on reputable article directories or from former clients.
Test Samples – For certain projects past work might not be able to tell you whether or not the freelancer is right for your project. Cover letters can be stolen and reproduced so it’s a good idea to ask for a short test sample so you can accurately gauge their skill level. Some freelancers aren’t comfortable with this because certain disreputable buyers have abused this request and used the test work without issuing payment. A custom sample of 75 to 100 words should be more than enough to do this without the freelancer worrying about you stealing their work and you will keep less serious bidders away.
Pay Attention to Reviews – Employer reviews are an important way to gauge a freelancer’s skills and work ethic. It goes without saying that if a freelancer has numerous bad reviews you should stay away but you should also be wary of those with no reviews. If you’re willing to give a newbie a chance that’s great, but understand that you’re taking a gamble and make sure that you are absolutely clear about what you need. Keep in mind that if a freelancer has many positive reviews and one or two bad ones that the bad reviewer might not have been totally honest. Sometimes buyers will leave bad reviews in retaliation for a misunderstanding.
Put it in Writing – Once you’ve found a competent freelancer, agreed upon rate, delivery date and specifications you should put everything in writing via a contract. This is especially important when working outside of a freelancer site where there are no protections for either party.