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Whether you are a startup getting off the ground or a seasoned business, one of the toughest tasks for a company is to find someone to create content. To lessen the costs of adding another desk and payroll, companies turn to freelancers for projects such as creating logos, posting updates on their websites, or organizing email campaigns. Unfortunately, there are thousands of people who all raise their hands for the job, so it’s hard to know who to turn to. If you want to hire the right freelancer, use these seven tips to help you out.
More than likely, someone you know has used a freelancer, especially if they’re in the same field as you. Or, you can ask friends or family if they know a person who would be great at producing content. Having someone recommend a freelancer to you is easier than searching through job boards and online portfolios.
Don’t have someone to ask? LinkedIn just released a feature called ProFinder. This connects companies to freelancers directly, which is easier than looking through job boards.
If you’re unable to ask someone if they know a freelancer, hit the web. As you’re looking through online freelancer portfolios, keep a few things in mind. Check for accurate grammar and language usage. If they look good, that’s one good sign you have found a reputable freelancer. However, it’s best to move on if a website looks disorganized or disjointed.
Also, find out if they’re active on social media. Freelancers must create a brand for themselves to get hired. Are they updating their profiles consistently? Even having one social media profile helps you see how often they post online, and what kind of content they post. Social media changes often, and they need to keep up, especially if you’re looking for someone to manage your profiles or introduce you to new ones. You want to work with someone who helps get your content shared all over the internet.
Image via Flickr by librarianidol
If their home page looks great, check out their samples. They should have a portfolio page showcasing their best work. It should look completed, and their role in the projects should be clear. If they worked for a major publication or company, double-check the information is correct.
There are people who are transitioning from a corporate job into freelancing, and haven’t worked independently yet. They want a web presence, so they use their previous skills and create samples of potential work. This is helpful for the employer looking for a freelancer. It shows the ability they have to create content for your company. Also, freelancers usually have their resume on their about page. Make sure it’s easy to understand and the kind of style you’re looking for.
So the samples and home page look great, but an added bonus for a freelancer is having testimonials. Some have a page dedicated to satisfied clients, or they give you references to contact. It’s a sense of security that someone is trustworthy.
Don’t pass over a freelancer if they don’t have testimonials, however. As stated earlier, some are just getting started in their career and may not have testimonials to show. If their samples stand out, ask for references from their previous employer. These insights on how well someone performed shows what attributes, positive or negative, they may carry over into their new field.
When you’re ready to interview a freelancer, do they respond immediately? Or are they replying days later? This might sound odd, but even how someone responds to an interview request might show you how well they communicate with you and your team. A reliable freelancer comes across as professional in email replies, listens to your needs, and provides insight on how to meet your goals. When interviewing a freelancer, notice if they talk about their work in great detail, or how their biggest assets will generate growth for your company. Move on if they give short or vague answers.
Speaking of needs, just because a freelancer who replies quickly doesn’t mean they’re the right one for you. Their job is to make sure they understand your vision. It doesn’t matter if they’re writing a newsletter or creating a graphic design. A worthy freelancer works with you and delivers a product that you are happy with. Make sure you’re communicating all your needs, including branding or the company’s tone.
If they are arguing with you over what they’re delivering or turning in work late, cut ties with them. Have them send you a sample to look over. You’ll see if they understand what you’re looking for before hiring them for work.
Even after checking their website and social media profiles, interviewing them, and receiving a sample of their work, listen to what your gut is saying. Do you get a positive vibe from this person, or are you questioning how they’ll work with your company? Just because someone looks great on paper doesn’t mean they’re the one to hire for your company. It’s key to have a freelancer you’re comfortable with. This creates a great working relationship with them, so when you need another project done, they’re the first person you call. Having a go-to freelancer means less stress for you. You won’t have to find another freelancer and showing them your style.
Freelancers are here to take tasks off companies’ hands, but not all freelancers are the same. Hiring a freelancer requires not only good references, but someone who understands your needs, has a legitimate online presence, and communicates well with you and your team. Use these tips to start your hunt for the perfect freelancer.