Are you considering adding freelance workers to your business’s talent pool, but you aren’t entirely sure how to proceed? If you’re used to hiring for in-house staff, there is a bit of a learning curve. Here’s how to sort things out so you’re well-prepared to not only hire top-notch freelancers but also manage them effectively.
Sorting out great freelance candidates can be somewhat time-consuming. However, you can help yourself along by going to job boards that have a broad outreach, and you can even look for job boards that pre-screen individuals on your behalf. When you have some candidates you’re interested in, review some work samples, think about how they reflect the prospect’s expertise, and then schedule an interview.
Building Gurus explains one way to sift out the best candidates is to ask them to complete a pre-hire project. It’s a chance to see how well prospects respond to your communication, whether they meet deadlines appropriately, and if the results mesh with your expectations.
Another idea is to go through a temp agency. As Wonolo asserts, these agencies can function as a de facto human resources department (background checks, drug tests, skills assessment, etc.) while they match your needs with their workers. Meaning you don’t have to spend the time vetting applicants. There are many benefits to a short-term engagement; you can assess the candidate, test drive a position, or simply fill a passing need.
As you sort the wheat from the chaff, allow yourself some wiggle room in your plans so you can adjust your internal processes. You’ll likely find that some of your routine management practices fit well with freelance workers, whereas others don’t. So, think through the differences involved with your options and how that will apply as you move forward.
There are several tools available to help you along. As an example, freelancers don’t normally attend staff meetings, so when there is pertinent information, you can enlist an automated speech-to-text transcription service to put together accurate meeting notes in a matter of minutes, depending on the size of the project. Another idea is to engage file-sharing services as a simple way to keep on top of projects and deadlines. Consider what will be important in your collaboration, and then figure out how to make it work.
Freelancers are entitled to more freedom than in-house staff, and that affects communication, schedules, and project management, so lay some groundwork before you make the transition. You might want to schedule deadlines for parts of your projects, rather than awaiting final results, or you might prefer routine check-ins with updates.
Be sure to set clear parameters right from the start. Shopify notes that a sound contract will outline duties, payment, schedule, and the scope of work so everyone knows what to expect. It’s your chance to create a structure that sets both you and the freelancer up for success.
No matter what seems to fit best, it’s important to maintain a steady flow of communication that fosters ties and bolsters overall engagement. You have many options at your fingertips, from daily notes to monthly web conferences.
Member of the Team
Beyond basic communication, be sure to search out opportunities to help build camaraderie. Some remote workers are content with the separation and solitude of freelancing, while others will crave at least occasional interaction.
With that in mind, consider whether face-to-face meetings are part of the general plan, and if so, how often that will happen for best results. Once a year is sufficient in some circumstances, yet this is impossible for some companies due to distance, schedules, and so forth. In that case, occasional video conferencing might be your best solution.
Freelancers broaden your business’s options tremendously. Finding the right candidates can be daunting, but use the resources available to sort things out. Set up sound management strategies, and stay appropriately engaged. Whether your workers are near or far, adding top-notch freelance talent is a great way to enhance your team.