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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Lessons learned from recruiting in the free market

Project-based freelancers can complete a variety of tasks, from customized Shopify themes and personal apps to data entry and marketing. But how do companies find excellent freelancers?

For many companies, hiring freelancers starts from labor markets such as Upwork, Guru, and Toptal. I have done this myself. In the past few years, I have used the market to hire dozens of freelancers for various projects. I am currently interviewing several candidates for Upwork.

Recruitment experience varies. The freelancers I hired-in my opinion-were dishonest or poor quality of work. But I have also hired freelancers to participate in multiple projects many times, including a database developer who has worked in India for hundreds of hours. Regardless of the project, the number of freelancers is usually three to one or more than the number of job posters.

In my experience, here are some suggestions for recruiting freelancers from one of these platforms.

Screenshot of laptop screen with text "No matter how hard you try."

Excellent and hardworking freelancers can be hired from the labor market. The key is to understand how to choose the best candidate.

5 tips for hiring freelancers

1. There is a clear project. The company may know that it needs a new e-commerce theme, application, or extension, or it may need help setting up a Google Ads account. However, finding and hiring the best designers, developers, or marketers for the project may not be enough.

It is important to carefully consider the desired behavior. This is an example. Suppose a company that uses Shopify’s basic plan wants a specific shipping behavior. After adding a specific product to the shopping cart, the shipping price will be zero regardless of other shipping profiles or calculations. This sounds simple, but considering the limitations of the basic plan, it requires considerable work.

In this case, it is not enough to just say “We need a private application for customer transportation”.

2. Communicate project details. Once a company knows what it needs, it must communicate clearly. Video may be one of the best ways to do this.

The company can use screen capture services such as Loom or Apple’s QuickTime to create videos. Videos can demonstrate specific tasks.

Going back to Shopify’s private app, the video might show the current behavior on the site—when items with different shipping profiles are added to the shopping cart, the total shipping cost—and describe the desired behavior. In this example, one product will cover all other shipping costs.

Supplement the video with good written descriptions and images.

3. Know how much you can spend. After confirming the project, set a realistic budget for the work. In addition, decide whether freelancers are paid at a fixed rate or by the hour.

It is easier for companies to budget for flat rates. However, it has some potential problems. If more work is required than the freelancer expects, the project may be “abandoned”, which means that the freelancer simply quits and lets the project only partially complete. This may happen in the labor market, and in my experience, it is more likely to happen to new freelancers.

Conversely, hour-based projects are unlikely to be abandoned, but if projects prove to be more complex than expected, they may become more expensive.

Neither method is perfect, whether it is a fixed rate or an hourly rate.

4. Interview several candidates. Many freelance labor markets use bidding or proposal systems. A company posted a position. Freelancer response rate, resumes and suggestions. What follows is a written dialogue.

Once you narrow down to two or three candidates, you can set up a video call. Many candidates will live in a time zone away from your own-ready for scheduling challenges. Nevertheless, you will still see candidates.

These video interviews are an opportunity to discuss the project further. You can ask freelancers how they will solve the project and confirm that they understand the expectations. You can evaluate cooperation with people.

And, as a professional reminder, record these interviews.

5. Run a test project. Consider a test project to review candidates for larger tasks, such as developing applications or creating marketing campaigns.

The test items should be compensated. It is unacceptable to require freelancers to take the test for free. It should also be directly related to larger projects.

For example, if the project is used for Shopify application development, please reserve candidates to develop a small private application, which may be an application for creating product feeds or blog post indexes.

Use test items to measure the skills and speed of freelancers.

Hire freelancers

If the business has done its best to define the project, it is time to choose a freelancer and start. Not every recruitment will be successful. But most will.

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