Finding and hiring the right freelancer isn’t easy. There are thousands of us out there, but not everyone shares the same excellent work ethic we do, and they’re certainly not as efficient (or humble! 😉 ).
The key to finding the right freelancers is to know what sets the best ones apart from the rest. If you can spot these characteristics, you’ll have fewer problems down the road. You won’t have to deal with missed deadlines, rude messages, or shoddy work because you’ll be working with the best candidates.
In this article, I’ll walk you through three ways to spot top freelancers for your gigs and why they’re so important for new hires. Let’s get to work!
1. They’re Responsible When It Comes to Deadlines
Deadlines are a part of every job, but they’re particularly important when it comes to freelancers. A missed deadline every so often isn’t the end of the world, so long there is a reasonable explanation for it (and your freelancer let you know in advance).
However, if it becomes a pattern, then it chips away at the trust in your work relationship. Plus, those missed deadlines can cause delays in your own schedule, depending on the type of project. The good news is, you can easily spot someone who has trouble sticking to deadlines. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
- A missed deadline for your first project together. This is a huge red flag!
- Late replies to your emails, particularly when they have to do with urgent issues.
- They don’t want to use a contract for your work together. Of course, your contract should include a deadline clause.
- They promise to deliver on large projects in too short an amount of time.
Back when I was still new to freelancing, I accidentally set myself up for failure by promising impossibly short turnaround times. In most cases, I somehow delivered anyways, but walked away overworked since it meant staying up late and not taking any breaks from work. This is a sure fire way to burnout quickly. You don’t want your freelancers to experience burn out!
Additionally, I learned the hard way that experienced freelancers negotiate reasonable deadlines. It wasn’t until after I’d scared away several potential clients by promising fast turnarounds on huge projects that a mentor took me aside and showed me the ropes. You should apply this when applying for freelance gigs yourself, as well as when hiring other freelancers.
2. A High Level of Adaptability
Adaptability is key to being a top-notch freelancer. Every client has different needs, and you need to be quick on the uptake to keep them happy. As a customer, you also don’t want to deal with someone who isn’t willing to adapt to your specific requirements.
An excellent freelancer will get to know your style and adapt their work to suit your needs. That, in turn, will make for a better work relationship and lead to fewer instances where you need to make changes to their deliverables. This one is a bit trickier to spot when you’re hiring a new freelancer, but there some signs that signal you’re on the right path. For example:
- They ask questions about your project before you start working together.
- They’ve researched your company or business before making a pitch (or answering yours), and it shows during your initial communications.
- You don’t need to remind them over and over to follow any indications you’ve given them.
One of the most important things I’ve learned during my time as a freelancer is never to agree to a project unless I’m 100% sure I can deliver on it. As you might imagine, I didn’t always have that personal rule, and it led to some embarrassing situations.
In most cases, I could’ve easily avoided those situations by asking a lot of questions upfront about what the projects entailed. If I were on the other side of the fence, that’s one of the things I’d be on the lookout for – freelancers that don’t just say yes to everything. What you want are people that ask lots of questions until they understand exactly what you want and aren’t shy about admitting if they aren’t right for the job.
If you’re on the lookout for a freelance writer, one great place to start is our Paid to Blog Jobs board. We charge a membership fee which helps limit the board only to people that are serious about their work.
3. They’re Open to Communication
Communication is key to any successful relationship, and that applies to freelancers as well. Doubly so because you’ll often only communicate via email or Skype. That means you may not get the chance to talk every day, so when you do need to reach them, it’s important they’re open to it.
Imagine for a moment that you need your freelancer to make an urgent change to the project. You try emailing them and then don’t hear a peep back until a three or four days later. By the time they’ve answered, you’ve lost a lot of time, and it gets worse if you need to go back and forth with them. Fortunately, it’s easy to spot freelancers who are good at communicating with clients.
Here are some ways communicative freelancers stand out:
- They usually reply within one (working) day to all of your messages, barring unforeseen circumstances.
- You don’t need to send them reminders about previous messages.
- If they’re going to be unavailable for a period, they’ll let you know beforehand, so you’re not left wondering where they went.
During my day-to-day work, I usually deal with people in different timezones, which can make communication tricky. However, I’ve found that as long as I can respond to messages within one day or less, we usually can keep things moving along just fine.
You’re better off hiring freelancers within your own timezone if you expect faster answers within a specific timeframe. Plus, you’ll want to include that stipulation as part of your contract to be on the safe side.
Hiring the right freelancer is often difficult. However, once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll be able to spot top candidates right away. Plus, every once in a while you’ll find a jewel in the rough that you can polish into a great coworker.
Here are the best ways to spot top excellent freelancers, regardless of their field of work:
- They’re responsible when it comes to deadlines and won’t cause you any delays.
- High adaptability when it comes to your requirements and the ability to produce work that fits with your style.
- They’re open to communication and won’t pull a disappearing act on you.
Do you have any questions about how to hire the right freelancers for your projects? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.