There are cases when businesses will sometimes rely on external support to help them with certain projects that their full-time employed staff are unable to execute by themselves. Although not all companies adopt the practice of working with freelancers, it’s still something that is common enough to be recognized by both freelancers and the employers who choose to hire them. And on the side of employers, the issue with hiring freelancers for special business projects can be particularly tricky to navigate.
Dealing with freelancers can be a bit complicated considering that they aren’t beholden to any fixed employment contracts, and thus, they tend to operate on different levels compared to employees who hold full-time jobs. Because of this, employers who don’t have any experience in working with freelance workers tend to be wary of them because they’re unsure about how they work and whether they can deliver the results they need. And if you’re thinking about working with a freelancer, then you need to consider a few things.
The main point that you need to remember is that freelancing isn’t really that different from having a full-time job, save for the fact that a person isn’t obliged to be physically present in a typical office workspace on a given work day. But before you do decide to take on a freelancer for a certain project that your business is doing, you need to address important questions that are pertinent to this subject matter. Look to the following details featured below to start your process of screening potential candidates for the job.
Do they have the necessary skills?
When there are freelancers who are able to respond with the job listing that you posted, the first thing that you should ask yourself is whether the candidates in question possess the skills necessary to complete the job you want done. This is perhaps the key element that you need to tackle before anything else because you want to make sure that the one you’re hiring is more than competent to handle the technicalities of the task.
Question for the interview: “What are your core strengths or assets that you believe would help you accomplish this task should you be hired for the job?”
What to look out for: Pay attention to the applicant’s responses and take note of whether they understand the technical aspects of the project. This is important because you don’t want to hire a freelancer who doesn’t know how to handle a project from start to finish.
Can they meet tight deadlines?
The thing with handling any project is that they are tied to a certain deadline of completion, and employers certainly want to know whether or not freelancers are able to finish an assignment on time. While you may trust your regular employees to complete tasks within a specified timeframe, you can’t exactly say the same thing to a prospective freelancer despite their impressive credentials, so you must make this issue as one of your priorities.
Question for the interview: “This project is rather time-sensitive, so I would just like to know something: can you deliver on the results we need in a timely fashion?”
What to look out for: Listen to the candidate and determine whether they are able to respond to your question with confidence. It’s a good sign if you now that the person states that deadlines are not a problem for them, and that they have considerable time management skills that allow them to do multiple tasks without spreading themselves too thin in the process.
Do they have a decent track record?
A sure way to really gauge the competence and verify the provenance of a freelancer is if they can provide you with tangible proof of their past projects from other clients. When you are able to see a portfolio of their previous work, then you’ll have an easier time assessing them from an objective point of view. That being said, you should beware of freelancers who come knocking at your door but don’t have anything to show for their application.
Question for the interview: “I’m really interested to know more about what you can bring to the table, so can you possibly show me any samples of your previous work?”
What to look out for: Of course, freelancers who are able to give you samples of their past work should be in contention for your list. Look through their portfolio carefully and judge their work based on the level of quality, as well as their attention to details.
Are they in-demand with other clients?
Another telltale sign that a freelancer you’re considering is a perfect choice for your project aside from their exceptional skill set is if they have a roster of clients who frequently ask for their services. If a freelancer is in demand or gets repeat business from several clients, then that’s a strong indication of the candidate’s strength as an independent working professional. Bear in mind though that should you choose a popular freelancer, you might want to hire them immediately to avoid possible scheduling conflicts.
Question for the interview: “I’m seeing here in your application that you’ve worked with a lot of clients. What was it like working for your previous employers?”
What to look out for: Of course, if the application includes personal and professional references from the freelancer’s clients, then you’ll be able to contact them and gather more pertinent information before hiring the candidate. Also, listen closely to any comments the candidate is saying that might be perceived as negative because you don’t want to work with someone who will probably say bad things about you afterwards.
Are their going rates negotiable?
Perhaps the trickiest part about getting to work with a freelancer is whether you can afford to pay for their services. If someone happens to be very skilled and in very high demand from other employers, then chances are they are able to command really high fees. If you find yourself in a position where you want a particular freelancer but you happen to be on a budget, then you need to know whether they are open to negotiating their going rate.
Question for the interview: “I really like to take you on for this project, but I’m not sure I could afford your going rate. Would you be open to the possibility of negotiating your fee?”
What to look out for: Don’t be too upset if the candidate politely turns down your request for negotiating their pay. However, if a freelancer is open to haggling their service rate, then you need to take advantage of that opportunity so you’ll be able to stick within your planned budget.
Are they willing to collaborate in the future?
Last but not least, you should be able to determine if the prospective freelancer is willing to work with you for future projects. It’s always good to have helpful allies for your business should you need to work with them again, and a freelancer who’s more than happy to do repeat business with you is definitely something that’s mutually beneficial. Besides, you should consider it a blessing if a freelancer agrees to possible collaborations in the future even before they are poised to get the first job from you.
Question for the interview: “I’d like to consider you for this freelance job that you’re applying for, but is it too early to ask if you’re possibly open to working with us in the future?”
What to look out for: Naturally, a freelancer who openly expresses a willingness for potential collaborations is someone that you should keep tabs on. Furthermore, your chances of doing repeat business with your chosen freelancer will increase if you are able to work well alongside them during the duration of the special project.